President Cyril Ramaphosa shared his concern over the ongoing conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), noting that it requires urgent attention as it has affected more than 800,000 people so far.

President Ramaphosa visited Burundi's capital Bujumbura over the weekend to participate in the 11th High-Level Segment of the Regional Oversight Mechanism (ROM) of the Peace, Security, and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the DRC and the Great Lakes region.

During the event, the president noted that "the resurgence of the M23, an armed group that was thought to have been dismantled in 2013/2014, is even more worrying" and emphasized that the "current security situation in the eastern DRC requires our urgent attention."

"Over the past year a humanitarian catastrophe unfolded before our eyes," President Ramaphosa continued, SANews reported. "We cannot but be moved by their plight, and by the gross violations of human rights that are taking place."

President Ramaphosa shared that more than 800,000 people have been affected due to ongoing conflict so far.

The conflict started in the mid-1990s due to several factors including ethnic tensions, interference by neighboring countries, and competition over natural resources.

There are many armed groups, creating instability in the country. Some of these armed groups are the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), and the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP).

"We cannot but be outraged at the scale of violence being perpetrated against women and girls, and by the blatant disregard of the provisions of international humanitarian law," President Ramaphosa said during his speech.

The president noted that the PSC Framework was signed 10 years ago, hoping to bring peace, security, stability, and development to the DRC and the Great Lakes Region. However, he pointed out that these "noble goals" are not achieved even after a decade.

PSC Framework was signed in February 2013 by 11 countries including Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia alongside the African Union, United Nations, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

President Ramaphosa urged "all parties to the framework demonstrate the highest political will, and reaffirm their commitment to its successful implementation."

He further suggested that the country needs to focus on the root causes of the conflict and create a plan to fight against the illegal exploitation of mineral resources, corruption, money laundering, and transnational organized crime.

"It is critical that there is harmonization between the various initiatives aimed at addressing the situation in the DRC and the region," he added. "The PSC Framework should be the focal point of all our efforts. As we meet here today, we are painfully aware of the impact of another deadly conflict brewing on our continent."

President Ramaphosa concluded the speech by urging all the armed forces to put down their weapons in order to save human life and begin "dialogue and negotiations without delay."

South African President Ramaphosa responds to a parliamentary debate on his state of the nation address in Cape Town