Qatar and the United States previously attempted to host talks in Doha between both countries last month.
A United Nations peacekeeper was killed in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Sunday amid growing calls for ceasefire and an absence of peace talks.
According to the intergovernmental organisation, the killing of the South African “blue helmet” occurred while he was travelling in a helicopter that was shot after takeoff from the city of Beni.
Citing news reports, the UN said that the person responsible for the attack as well as the type of weapon used remain unknown. It also comes amid heightened escalations between DRC and Rwanda that has steadily increased since last year.
There are at least 18,000 UN peacekeeping personnel in eastern Congo.
In March last year, eight others were killed after their helicopter crashed during fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 rebel group.
Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the killing, saying the attack against peacekeepers “may constitute a war crime under international law.”
“The Secretary-General reaffirms that the United Nations, through his Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will continue to support the Congolese government and people”, the spokesperson’s statement said.
Violence has continued to intensify in eastern Congo with hundreds killed and thousands forced to flee to neighbouring countries.
The escalations were triggered last year after deadly clashes erupted between troops and rebels from the M23, which captured the strategic town of Kiwanja.
Both Washington and Kinshasa said the M23 are backed by Kigali, though it has continued to deny those claims.
The intense fighting in the DRC has forced tens of thousands of Congolese to flee to neighbouring countries including Rwanda, which saw 72,000 cross the border by November, per figures shared by the United Nations.
The same month saw a massacre in which at least 131 civilians were killed following a reemergence of violence in October. The UN blamed the M23 rebels for the killings following a preliminary investigation by its peacekeeping mission.
Qatar attempted to host peace talks last month, though these were cancelled due to a no show of DRC’s leader Felix Tshisekedi. To date, no Qatari official has spoken about the mediation attempts nor the delayed talks.
Meanwhile, regional leaders called for an immediate ceasefire during a summit of the East African Community on Saturday in Burundi. DRC’s Tshisekedi and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame were also in attendance.
In a final statement, the leaders at the summit called for the withdrawal of all armed groups and directed army heads to meet within a week to discuss a timeline for the pull out.
Several previous mediation attempts have taken place to reach a lull in fighting, most notably the Luanda agreement, though tensions have continued to simmer between the neighbouring countries.