The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:The Secretary-General reaffirms the continued support of the United Nations to the Luanda and Nairobi processes, through his Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and his Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, and its readiness to step up efforts to bring about peace and security in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Secretary-General welcomes recent engagement by the President of Angola and African Union Champion for Peace and Reconciliation, João Lourenço, with the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), which resulted in the announcement of a ceasefire beginning on 7 March, in compliance with the decisions of the African Union Peace and Security Council on 17 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Secretary-General condemns all violence against civilians and renews his call on all Congolese and foreign armed groups to lay down their weapons and disarm unconditionally. He urges all parties to the conflict to ensure an immediate and unfettered humanitarian access to the affected population and to ensure protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law. He also calls on all actors to refrain from hate speech and incitement to violence. The Secretary-General urges the M23 to respect the ceasefire in order to create conditions for its full and effective withdrawal from all occupied areas in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, in line with the decisions of the Luanda Mini-Summit held on 23 November 2022.