President Kagame holds talks with Blinken on DRC crisis

On 16 August 2023 at 09:04

President Paul Kagame and the United States (US) Secretary of State have held talks over the phone revolving around security problems in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A statement issued by the US Department of State reveals that Blinken also briefed Kagame on the recent visit of Acting Deputy Secretary Nuland to Kinshasa, the capital of the DRC, where she met with President Felix Tshisekedi.

Tshisekedi held discussions with Nuland on Thursday, August 3, 2023. Afterward, Nuland told the media that the talks centered on security issues in eastern DRC. During this time, she also announced a US$48 million contribution from the US to provide assistance to citizens in eastern Congo.

These discussions come in the wake of repeated statements by the DRC asserting that Rwanda is plotting aggression against it, an accusation firmly denied by Rwanda. Rwanda vehemently dismissed these claims, asserting that such statements by the DRC are merely attempts to justify potential attacks on Rwanda.

The DRC has alleged Rwanda’s involvement in supporting the M23 rebel group, a charge consistently refuted by Rwanda. Rwanda frames the clashes between the Congolese Army and M23 as an internal conflict and advises the neighboring country to address its internal issues internally, rather than externalizing them.

Simultaneously, Rwanda accuses the FARDC of backing, arming, and fighting alongside the genocidal militia group known as the FDLR.

It’s important to note that the DRC has previously provoked Rwanda on multiple occasions and, in collaboration with the FDLR terrorist group, launched rocket attacks on Rwandan territory.

Moreover, Congolese fighter jets have trespassed into Rwanda’s airspace on three separate occasions since 2022.

During the conversations with Kagame, Blinken conveyed the US support for a diplomatic resolution to the tensions between the two nations and urged both sides to take steps to de-escalate the situation.

A recent United Nations (UN) report indicated that the DRC supplied weaponry to armed groups, including the FDLR, to join forces with the Congolese Army (FARDC) in their battle against the M23.

President Kagame with Blinken during his visit to Rwanda last year.