Rwanda and DRC recently met at a tripartite summit in Angola on Wednesday 6th July 2022 which brought together the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame; his counterpart of DRC, Félix Tshisekedi and Angolan President, João Lourenço who is the Chairperson of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and mediator on tension between Rwanda and DRC.
The summit was held amidst growing tension between the two neighboring countries escalated following the resurgence of M23 rebel group in the recent months.
DRC accuses Rwanda of backing M23 in the fight with Congolese Army while Rwanda accuses it of collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a terrorist outfit comprised of remnant masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
It also blames DRC for having shelled Rwandan territory at different times in collaboration with FDLR. The projectiles injured civilians and destroyed houses.
The tension continued to grow until a Congolese soldier stormed Rwanda and opened a rapid fire on Rwandan policemen standing guard before he was shot dead.
Speaking to the Financial Times ahead of the tripartite summit in Angola, President Tshisekedi warned of war with Rwanda.
However, Rwanda has repeatedly rejected DRC’s allegations and urged it to solve its internal problems without dragging it into the conflict.
Recent discussions between both countries on the mediation of Angola saw concerned parties setting a roadmap to accelerate efforts meant to achieve durable peace.
However, concerned countries have released contradictory statements following the summit held on Wednesday. DRC’s Presidency initially released resolutions with clauses in favour of its allegations.
Later on, Rwanda and Angola released resolutions of the roadmap detailing responsibilities of each country concerned with the issues of DRC to promote peace in the region and eastern DRC.
“The Luanda tripartite meeting outcome is a roadmap with clear objectives and activities to be implemented by various parties/partners. No agreement or ceasefire was signed. Misinformation/populism are undermining the overall objective of achieving peace in DRC and the region,” Minister Biruta has tweeted.
DRC announced that immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of M23 from all captured areas were among resolutions of the summit.
Meanwhile, the issues that Rwanda indicated at the summit have been clearly pointed out for over 20 years. These include assurance of security at its borders and fighting the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a terrorist group intending to threaten Rwanda.
Rwanda maintained that the terrorist group should not receive any form of support to attack Rwanda where DRC is urged not to allow FDLR to shell Rwandan territory.
The roadmap on activities to restore relations between Rwanda and DRC stresses the need to defeat FDLR and its splinter groups while more efforts have to be geared towards fighting hate speech and offensive language in the region by all parties.
The splinter groups include CNRD- FLN, RUD-Urunana, FPPH-Abajyarugamba believed to be at the origin of tensions between Rwanda and DRC and play a major role in the insecurity of the DRC.
Creating the necessary conditions for the return of refugees is among outlined priorities as per released roadmap. Rwanda, DRC, ICGLR and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will be in charge of implementation.
On the issue of M23, the summit resolved that all activities on the rebel group must be based on Nairobi Process.
IGIHE has learnt that the summit might not be fruitful as expected because concerned parties did not reach consensus during discussions.
It was also resolved that an ad-hoc verification mechanism led by an Officer General of the Republic of Angola has to be created to verify the reciprocal accusations of the DRC and Rwanda concerning the support to M23 and the collaboration with the FDLR.
The team is to be supported by the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) while ICGLR will seek MONUSCO’s support in security and logistical matters.
The EJVM is a mechanism of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) composed of military officers from the 12 member countries that is charged with monitoring and verification of border violations between DRC and neighbouring countries.