The Head of State observed that the problem needs to be addressed from its roots to find a lasting solution.
Kagame was speaking during a fireside chat organized by Semafor news outlet in Washington DC, on the sidelines of US-Africa Leaders Summit.
Rwanda has been accused of supporting M23 rebel group which resumed fighting to defend the rights of Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese.
Kagame said that it is unfortunate that Congolese leaders and the international community continue to put the problem on the shoulders of Rwanda instead of finding a solution.
“This Congo problem where there are over 100 local armed groups, one of them being the M23. […] We have about 80,000 refugees from in Rwanda from Congo who are associated with this group, meaning they are relatives or whatever. What I want to say clearly, this problem was not created by Rwanda and is not Rwanda’s problem. It is Congo’s problem. They are the ones that have to deal with it,” he said.
“The region is trying to deal with the matter, the East African region to which now DRC also has become a member of. That is okay. But it seems the entire responsibility has been put on the shoulders of Rwanda. Be it the Congolese leaders and government, be it the international community. Everybody is running away from that problem and they say this is Rwanda’s problem. And we say no, it is not our problem,” added Kagame.
The President underscored that the problem of Kinyarwanda-speaking people in DRC dates back long ago during the delimitations of Africa’s borders.
"If you wanted to hold anybody responsible, may be you would go back to history, when borders were being drawn and some people were left on the other side of the border and became part of another country. I cannot be responsible for the fact that there are Congolese of Rwandan ethnicity in Congo who are being denied their rights as citizens,” he noted.
Kagame underscored that the problem of M23 should not be a justification to overlook the presence of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in DRC with intentions to destabilize Rwanda.
FDLR is a terrorist group formed by individuals responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
According to Kagame, the collaboration between Congolese Army (FARDC) and FDLR remains a problem of concern.
“In this particular case, what is very clear is that they have been helped by getting arms and fighting alongside government forces. The government is aware of that and we have brought it to their attention several times and given them facts again,” he stated.
“There is a mix of the problems that concern us. In fact, we thought we had resolved this problem because most of them and their families have been repatriated with the help of the UN and were being brought to Rwanda. But there are hardliners who stayed behind, and for them, they will not rest until they have either invaded or carried out changes in the country,” added Kagame.
The Head of State stated that the problem of M23 and FDLR should be looked at separately and be dealt with effectively.