Outcomes of tripartite summit on tension between Rwanda, DRC

On 7 juillet 2022 at 11:17

Discussions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the mediation of Angola have seen concerned parties setting an agenda to accelerate efforts meant to achieve durable peace.

The discussions took place at a tripartite summit in Angola on Wednesday 6th July 2022 which brought together the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame ; his counterpart of DRC, Félix Tshisekedi and Angolan President, João Lourenço who is the Chairperson of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and mediator on tension between Rwanda and DRC.

The issue of rising tension between Rwanda and DRC was recently discussed at the extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea where President Joao Lourenço was designated as a mediator.

A former member of DRC’s cabinet said that Lourenço is a trusted person and respected by his counterparts of Rwanda and DRC that his mediation is promising to yield good results.

He has good relations with President Kagame where both countries are involved in peacekeeping activities in the Central Africa Republic (CAR).

On the other note, Angola was the first country visited by Tshisekedi after taking power. Three months later in May 2019, Angolan President visited DRC to attend the burial of the father of Tshisekedi.

A document entailing the roadmap of activities aimed at restoring relations to normal between both countries, indicates that political and diplomatic relations between the DRC and Rwanda need to be normalized.

On the side of DRC, it reads that relations will improve further in case M23 rebel group cease hostilities and withdraw from occupied positions.

Also on the agenda, is the establishment of a climate of trust between the states of the region and create optimal conditions for dialogue and political consultation to resolve the current security crisis in eastern DRC.

The roadmap also stresses the need to defeat the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and its splinter groups (CNRD- FLN, RUD-Urunana, FPPH-Abajyarugamba) believed to be at the origin of tensions between Rwanda and DRC and play a major role in the insecurity of the DRC in order to ensure that the threat to security ceases completely.

Creating the necessary conditions for the return of refugees and reactivating the Joint Intelligence Team Rwanda-DRC to agree on the practical modalities and the program for fighting the FDLR, in coordination with the Presidency of the ICGLR and the Nairobi Process are also among outlined priorities as per released roadmap.

Both countries have also agreed on reconvening a Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) where the first meeting is due on 12th July 2022 in Luanda, Angola.

More efforts will be geared towards fighting hate speech and offensive language in the region by all parties.

President João Lourenço has said that a senior military official from Angola will attend the first meeting to mediate both parties.

It was also agreed to prevent violations of territorial integrity and ensuring compliance with the commitments made by ICGLR States in this regard.

DRC accuses Rwanda of backing M23 while Rwanda accuses the neighbouring country of collaboration with FDLR.

Other outlined activities include the expansion of the mandate of the Joint ICGLR Mechanism by strengthening its role and means of action to enable it to carry out a priori monitoring, prevent and record all actions likely to compromise the implementation of the commitments of the parties with regard to the territorial integrity, security and stability of the States of the Region as well as mutual confidence between them.

An ad-hoc verification mechanism led by an Officer General of the Republic of Angola is also set to be created to verify the reciprocal accusations of the DRC and Rwanda concerning the support to M23 and the collaboration with the FDLR.

The team is to be supported by the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) while ICGLR will seek MONUSCO’s support in security and logistical matters.

The EJVM is a mechanism of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) composed of military officers from the 12 member countries that is charged with monitoring and verification of border violations between DRC and neighbouring countries.

The issue of armed groups in eastern DRC was also discussed. The heads of state resolved on the revitalisation of the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) in the DRC and the Region

This will be done through the establishment of a joint mechanism for regular consultations and harmonisation between the ICGLR and the EAC on the Nairobi process, ending the roaming of armed groups in the region and accelerating the implementation of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Community Rehabilitation and Stabilisation (DDRSC) process and the release of resources pledged by donors.

DRC government will be responsible for implementation in collaboration with international partners including the United Nations, European Union and World Bank among others.

It was also resolved that DRC needs to create the conditions for the return of ex-fighters of M23 who are residing in Rwanda. This will go hand in hand with the review of clauses stipulated in agreements signed between DRC and the rebel group in 2019 in Kigali.

At the time, it was agreed to integrate combatants of the rebel group into Congolese Army, integrate its politicians in the government and repatriate refugees.

Rwanda, DRC, ICGLR and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees will be in charge of implementation.

The summit also resolved on reviewing and implementing previous agreements regarding the return of refugees in the region and repatriate elements of armed groups to their respective countries of origin.

Else, there is need to promote economic partnership between the States of the region and strengthening of regional mechanisms to combat the illegal exploitation of natural resources

It will be reached through stepping up the fight against the illicit exploitation of the DRC’s natural resources by armed groups.

The heads of state agreed in defeating FDLR.