Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

President Paul Kagame and his Angolan counterpart Joao Lourenço met in the capital Luanda on Monday, March 11, for a discussion on the security situation in eastern DR Congo, according to Village Urugwiro.

Kagame is in Luanda for a one-day working visit.

“The Heads of State agreed on key steps towards addressing the root causes of the conflict, and the need to uphold the Luanda and Nairobi processes to achieve peace and stability in the region,” the Office of the President said in a post on X.

President Kagame and President Lourenço held a bilateral discussion on the security situation in DRC. The Heads of State agreed on key steps towards addressing the root causes of the conflict, and the need to uphold the Luanda and Nairobi processes to achieve peace and stability…

Lourenço is the mediator between Rwanda and DR Congo, whose diplomatic relations were affected by conflict in the latter’s eastern region, where a government-led coalition is fighting the M23 rebels.

The meeting took place as different governments and international organisations called for a return to the negotiations table to prevent the crisis in eastern DR Congo from widening into a regional conflict.

Despite calls to solve the conflict politically, the Congolese government has been accused of abandoning the peace processes in pursuit of military operations.

The Angolan leader hosted Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on February 27 for discussions about the crisis in eastern DR Congo.

Tshisekedi accuses Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels, allegations Kigali dismisses.

Rwanda accuses the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) of integrating the FDLR, a UN-sanctioned militia linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The terrorist group poses a threat to Rwanda and is accused of spreading hate and violence against Congolese Tutsi communities.

FDLR is part of the government-led coalition that includes Burundian forces, troops from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), fighting M23 rebels.

At a meeting chaired by Lourenço in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on February 16, regional leaders resolved to revive the Luanda process, which had been in a stalemate for months, as the conflict escalated risking widening into a regional conflict.

At the meeting, which sought to address the root causes of the conflict in eastern DR Congo, President Kagame said the issue of FDLR’s integration into the Congolese army “must be addressed” for a lasting solution to be found.

Rwanda has also expressed concerns about the deployment of the SADC regional force into DR Congo

The FDLR was founded in May 2000 with the help of the Congolese political and military leaders – a fact admitted by one of its founders and former vice president, Straton Musoni, who now lives in Rwanda.

In an interesting twist of events, and following mounting pressure, the Congolese army in November 2023 ordered that all its soldiers end any contact with the FDLR. However, the FDLR remained integrated into the Congolese armed forces, according to the Rwandan government.

The FDLR not only threatens DR Congo’s security but has also launched attacks on Rwanda for more than two decades. A 2019 attack by one of its factions killed 14 people in Musanze District.

Eastern DR Congo has been volatile for nearly 30 years and remains home to more than 130 armed groups. Multiple interventions have failed to end decades of violence.

By Joy

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