Kagame holds talks with UK Prime Minister on DRC crisis, migration partnership

On 7 March 2023 at 12:48

President Paul Kagame has held talks with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), Rishi Sunak on different issues including security problems in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Office of UK Prime Minister has announced that both leaders held a phone conversation on Monday 6thn March 2023.

“The Prime Minister and President Kagame also discussed the concerning escalation in violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo and international efforts to support a lasting peaceful resolution,” reads part of the statement.

Kagame recently said that security crisis in DRC is a problem of the country noting that Rwanda has never harboured intentions to destabilize the neioghbouring country.

Meanwhile, Congolese leaders relentlessly accuse Rwanda of supporting M23 rebel group in a fighting with Congolese Army (FARDC). Rwanda has repeatedly denied the allegations but accused Congo of working with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a terrorist group formed by individuals responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“In my view, there is nothing like eastern Congo’s problem. […] It is actually Congo’s problem and a regional problem, meaning it affects even neighbours. If we are referring to Rwanda, you wouldn’t say Northern Rwanda problem because it is neighbouring with eastern Congo and the spillovers of problems mainly come to the north of the country. That doesn’t make it a northern Rwanda problem. It makes Rwanda’s problem. I want us to understand that eastern Congo’s problem is Congo’s problem,” he said.

“This problem has a very long history in terms of the cause of that. But it also has a long history of how it has been mismanaged from the beginning. That is why it was there for over 20 years. If you look at the attention that has been paid to this so-called eastern Congo’s problem, it is so much that one would think we should have got a solution. So, it has been there for long and has been mismanaged for very long,” added Kagame.

The Head of State further said that the issue was discussed for long during meetings of the African Union, others held in Kenya, Angola and at the level of the United Nations.

“The other day we were supposed to go and meet in Qatar over the same problem. That didn’t happen but, may be, it is going to happen in the near future,” he noted.

The statement also indicates that both leaders discussed the UK-Rwanda migration partnership and ‘joint efforts to break the business model of criminal people smugglers and address humanitarian issues’.

The leaders committed to continue working together to ensure ‘this important partnership is delivered successfully’.

The assessment conducted by the United Kingdom indicated that the first batch of migrants might be deported to Rwanda in 2024.

Rwanda and UK signed the Migration and Economic Development partnership signed in April last year.

Through this deal, the UK will provide an upfront investment of £120 million to fund invaluable opportunities for Rwandans and migrants including secondary qualifications, vocational and skills training, language lessons and higher education.

These asylum seekers from African countries and others outside the continent will be treated decently like Rwandans upon arrival. It is expected that those willing to return to their mother lands will be helped to do so.

Last year, over 45,000 illegal migrants crossed into the UK. The number is expected to increase to 80,000 this year.

Security problems in eastern Congo have attracted global attention.