Kagame, Blinken discuss deteriorating security situation in eastern DR Congo

On 6 November 2023 at 05:17

President Paul Kagame on Monday 6th November 2023, held a “productive call” with United States State Secretary, Antony Blinken for various discussions including the deterioration of the security situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

As announced by Rwanda’s Presidency on X account formerly Twitter, Kagame and Blinken also discussed the need for de-escalation of hostilities and a political resolution to the conflict which has lasted for decades.

“President Kagame reiterated Rwanda’s firm support for the ongoing regional processes to bring peace and stability to DR Congo and the region,” reads part of the post.

In 2022, the on-and-off relations between Kigali and Kinshasa deteriorated due to the resurgence of M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo.

The rebel group blamed Kinshasa for violating previous peace agreements. In response, the Congolese government accused Rwanda of supporting the rebels, which Rwanda denied.

Rwanda also accused DR Congo of cooperating with the FDLR, a blacklisted terrorist group formed by individuals responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The FDLR launched cross-border attacks on Rwanda, which Kigali believed were backed by the Congolese armed forces (FARDC). Despite mediation efforts by Kenya and Angola in the Nairobi and Luanda peace processes, the situation remains tense.

In recent months, there have been multiple incidents, including DR Congo’s warplanes violating Rwanda’s airspace and rocket-shelling causing civilian injuries in northwestern Rwanda. The FDLR, based in DR Congo, has been launching attacks on Rwandan territory for over two decades, potentially emboldened by Kinshasa’s support.

On November 4, the Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) held an extraordinary summit to discuss various issues, including deploying military forces to eastern DR Congo.

In November 2022, the Luanda summit addressed the security crisis in eastern DR Congo and ordered the FDLR to immediately disarm and undergo "unconditional repatriation."

Rwanda expresses deep concern about the ongoing collaboration and arming of FDLR and indigenous armed groups by the Kinshasa government.

President Kagame and Blinken have discussed deteriorating security situation in eastern DR Congo.