US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had separate calls with the presidents of Rwanda and the DRC on Tuesday over insecurity in the eastern DRC.
- The US secretary of state had separate calls with the presidents of Rwanda and the DRC over insecurity in the eastern DRC.
- Rwanda’s Paul Kagame said he was firmly in support of the Luanda and Nairobi peace processes for the DRC situation.
- SADC leaders also urged dialogue between Rwanda and the DRC, while a SADC standby force is due at the end of the year in the eastern DRC to replace the UN’s mission.
The United States has for the umpteenth time engaged the presidents of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with the hope of easing tension between the neighbours.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, and his DRC counterpart Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday, according to a note sent to the media by State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.
“With both presidents, the secretary discussed the volatile situation and worsening humanitarian crisis along the border between Rwanda and the DRC.
“The secretary advocated for a diplomatic solution to the tensions between the two countries and urged each side to take measures to de-escalate the situation, including removing troops from the border,” he said.
Secretary Blinken spoke separately with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Tshisekedi (@Presidence_RDC) and Rwandan President Kagame (@RwandaGov) to express concern about the situation in eastern DRC and support for a diplomatic solution. https://t.co/v3dpMJascT
— Matthew Miller (@StateDeptSpox) November 6, 2023
After the call with Blinken, the Rwandan presidency said it was firmly in agreement with “the need for de-escalation of hostilities and a political resolution to the conflict”.
The Rwandan presidency said Kagame was in support of the ongoing regional processes to bring peace and stability to the DRC and the region.
There are two processes that seek to find a solution for the crisis in the eastern part of the DRC. The Nairobi process is an East African Community (EAC)-led roadmap for ending inter-DRC hostilities involving more than a hundred militia groups known as the “mai mai” as well as the bigger M23 rebels.
The instability in the eastern part of the country, particularly North Kivu, could affect the smooth running of elections due on 20 December.
Already, there are reports that more than a million locals failed to get voting cards ahead of the polls, effectively disqualifying them from voting.
There’s also the Luanda Process, which seeks to end the hostility between Rwanda and the DRC.
Rwanda is accused, not only by the DRC but by numerous rights groups and the United Nations, of sponsoring the M23 rebels.
Meanwhile, Rwanda also accuses the DRC of working with the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), made up of mostly people who took part in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and then fled to the eastern DRC.
Blinken’s revived interest in finding a solution between Kagame and Tshisekedi comes against the backdrop of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) likely arrival in the DRC on a peacekeeping mission after the complete withdrawal of the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC’s projected end-of-year departure.
On Saturday, SADC heads of state met in Luanda, Angola, and discussed modalities around their DRC mission.
But while a peacekeeping force is a top priority, SADC leaders also emphasised the need for talks between Rwanda and the DRC to go ahead if the rebel crisis were to be ended.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
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Publish date : 2023-11-07 18:00:43