Envoys from Rwanda, DRC meet in Angola

On 21 juillet 2022 at 11:58

Envoys led by Ministers of Foreign Affairs from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have met in Luanda, the capital of Angola for discussions to find a solution for tension between both countries.

The tension arose from reciprocal accusations that followed the resurgence of M23 rebel group. DRC accused Rwanda of supporting M23 in the fighting with Congolese Army (FARDC).

Meanwhile, Rwanda accused DRC of collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a terrorist group comprised of masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The collaboration led to provocations where FARDC and FDLR shelled rockets on Rwandan territory which injured civilians and destroyed houses.

Rwanda also accused DRC of kidnapping its soldiers in collaboration with FDLR but they were later released.

Since the fighting with M23 erupted, Rwanda has repeatedly rejected the allegations highlighting that it has no interests in destabilizing the neighbouring country.

The meeting of a Joint Permanent Commission between Rwanda and DRC started on Wednesday 20th July 2022 to seek a solution on the tension with the mediation of Angola.

Rwanda’s envoys are led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta while DRC is represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula.

Also part of Rwanda’s delegation is Colonel François-Régis Gatarayiha, the Deputy Head of Defence Intelligence and Director of Technology ; Rwanda’s Ambassador to Angola, Wellars Gasamagera and the Director General for Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shakilla Umutoni.

Establishing the joint commission is part of resolutions of the recent tripartite summit which brought together the Heads of State of Rwanda, DRC and Angola held in Luanda on 6th July 2022.

The commission had to meet the following week but was postponed due to the mourning declared by Angola over the death of former President Eduardo Dos Santos.

Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Tete Antonio has expressed delight to see the meeting happening.

“Very happy to have my brothers Ministers Christophe Lutundula [DRC] and Vincent Biruta [Rwanda] who are in Luanda for Joint Permanent Commission DRC-Rwanda in the framework of the implementation of the Road Map, moving forward for the Africa we want,” he tweeted.

Recent discussions between both countries on the mediation of Angola also saw concerned parties setting a roadmap to accelerate efforts meant to achieve durable peace.

However, concerned countries have released contradictory statements following the summit. 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.

At the time, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta requested the DRC to avoid distorting resolutions of the tripartite summit.

“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 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.

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.

The commission meets ahead of the 22nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State from the East African Community (EAC) expected on 22nd July 2022 in Tanzania for discussions on issues including security in eastern DRC.

The regional bloc is also under the process of deploying joint troops to fight armed groups in DRC.

Minister Biruta exchanging greetings with his counterpart of DRC, Lutundula.
The meeting is aimed at finding a solution for strained relations between Rwanda and DRC.
Envoys from Rwanda and DRC have met in Angola.
Minister Biruta led Rwanda's delegation.
Envoys from DRC are led by Minister Lutundula.