Kagame points out ‘primary reason’ for persistent crisis in eastern DRC

On 28 November 2022 at 03:05

President Paul Kagame has pointed out ‘the primary reason’ for incessant crisis in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and hinted at needed solution to restore peace in the area.

Kagame was delivering his remarks as he virtually joined Heads of State for the East African Community (EAC) led Nairobi Process for the Restoration of Peace and Security in Eastern DR Congo.

The meeting was physically attended by Evariste Ndayishimiye, the President of Burundi who also serves as the Chairperson of EAC, his counterpart of Kenya, William Ruto and the EAC facilitator of peace talks in eastern DRC, Uhuru Kenyatta.

The special envoy of ICGLR Chairman, Huang Xia also attended in-person.

Meanwhile, President Kagame, his counterpart of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi participated in the summit virtually.

As he addressed participants, Kagame thanked EAC leaders for their commitment to find a solution for challenging security and other situations in the region.

He highlighted that the problem of insecurity and instability in eastern DRC has a complicated and long history spanning for almost three decades but has festered and remained unsolved’.

The Head of State stated that this situation has occasioned negative impacts including the issue of hundreds of Congolese refugees who are unable to safely return homes, impeded trade and investment ‘with negative implication to the whole region’.

To this end, he pointed out the primary reason for the persistent crisis and proposed a solution.

“The primary reason for this persistent crisis is the failure to implement many agreements that have been reached at various levels & at different times in past years. I most sincerely believe that this time around, these efforts are going to bear good results," said Kagame.

He underscored that the recent resurgence of ‘one armed group among many others’ has received a lot of attention globally noting that this situation comes on top of other unresolved security and political challenges.

Kagame further welcomed the region’s ‘swift response’ and mechanisms being established to save lives in eastern DRC, and address dangerous escalations that threaten neighbouring countries including Rwanda.

The President also proposed a solution to such problems.

“What is needed today, more than ever, is steady political will to implement the ongoing regional initiatives, particularly the East African Community-led Nairobi Peace Process and the African Union Mediation by President Lourenco of Angola,” said Kagame.

“This should seriously include addressing the root causes of insecurity once and for all, which will make a real difference in resolving the security concerns of DRC and neighbouring countries,” he added.

The President observed that the current framework established by regional leaders and the decision taken last week in Luanda, the capital of Angola constitute an opportunity to find a durable solution and reiterated Rwanda’s commitment to support these efforts.

“It is therefore in the interest of all of us, to stay the course and not let the situation be a perennial problem. On this, you can count on Rwanda’s full support toward a lasting and permanent solution,” he assured.

Today’s meeting follows another held on Wednesday last week in Luanda.
It was attended by Angolan President, Lourenço; the President of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, Felix Antoine Tshisekedi of DR Congo.

It was also attended by Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta and Uhuru Kenyatta.

The first resolution of the meeting was a call for M23 to ceasefire, halt attacks against Congolese Army (FARDC) and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) effective from 25th November 2022 at 18h:00.

It was also decided that the rebel group has to withdraw from captured areas and return to previous positions in Sabyinyo Volcano.

Before the deadline, the President of M23, Bertrand Bisimwa released a statement agreeing on ceasefire.

He explained that the group is willing to cease fire as was the case on 1st April 2022 without involvement of DR Congo.

M23 also requested ‘a meeting with the mediator and the facilitator in order to discuss the matter of its concerns in a way to restore a lasting peace in our country’.

During past meetings in Luanda, M23 was not represented where resolutions were only supported by DR Congo.

The recent resolutions triggered mixed reactions as to how the Congolese Government would be assured of their implementation yet M23 was not represented in the meeting.