The statement was released on Thursday 19th January 2023, one day after DRC’s announcement that M23 refused to withdraw from captured zones and proposed sanctions against the rebel group and Rwanda accused of supporting it.
On Wednesday, Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula released a statement explaining that M23 had to retreat from occupied areas 15th January 2023 as per Luanda resolutions reached in November 2022.
The rebel group has already handed over its positions in Kibumba and Rumangabo to the East African Community Regional Forces but DRC seems not satisfied and continues to accuse Rwanda of being it.
DRC also demanded EAC, ICGLR and partners to fulfil their responsibilities and impose sanctions on Rwanda and leaders of M23 for breaching international laws and violating human rights in eastern Congo.
The statement concluded with an emphasis on recent speech by Tshisekedi at the United Nations Security Council on 20th November 2022 where he said that his country resolved to put an end to insecurity in eastern part of the country whatever the cost.
Reacting to the statement , Rwanda referred to it as a threat of war. The country has explained that iDRC’s statement is a selective reading of the Luanda Communiqué of 23 November 2022.
"The DRC statement avoids key decisions of the November summit, and concludes with what can only be seen as a threat of imminent attacks on Rwanda," reads part of the statement.
As EAC continues to intervene in restoring peace in eastern DRC , some Congolese recently staged protests against regional troops safeguarding security in Goma.
Rwanda has said that the demonstrations constitute a plan by DR Congo to exit Luanda and Nairobi peace process.
"The staged demonstrations against the EAC Regional Force, in Goma and other parts of the DRC, constitute part of a plan by the DRC military and government to exit the Nairobi/Luanda peace processes. The goal of the demonstrations appears to be to cause the departure of the force, whereas the Luanda Communiqué calls for “Continued full deployment of the EAC Regional Force," adds the statement.
The Luanda Communiqué comprises important decisions beyond the withdrawal of one Congolese armed group. This includes the “creation of conditions for the occupation of M23 currently controlled zones by the EAC Force, with the support of MONUSCO and the Ad-Hoc Verification Mechanism.”
The Luanda Communiqué also calls for the cessation of all political and military support to the genocidal militia FDLR and other illegal armed groups.
Rwanda has insisted that the DRC is violating this decision by continuing to provide weapons and fighting alongside several illegal armed groups in Eastern DRC.
"This also constitutes a clear violation of the Nairobi Process, which is aimed at disarmament and demobilization of these armed groups, and a threat to Rwanda’s security. In addition, the recruitment of foreign mercenaries by the DRC is a clear indication that the DRC is preparing for war, and not peace," reads the statement.
Of particular concern to Rwanda is the complete disregard of the Luanda decision to “consider and resolve the issue of the return of refugees to their countries of origin”.
Rwanda continues to bear the burden of hosting over 75,000 Congolese refugees, with more arriving daily due to continued insecurity and persecution in eastern DRC.
The DRC government has not acknowledged the situation of these refugees and made no effort to facilitate their safe return to their homes in the DRC.
"The Government of DRC signed on to the ongoing Luanda and Nairobi processes as an implementing partner and should focus on full implementation. Attempts by the DRC to sabotage or abandon these regional agreements can only be seen as a choice to perpetuate conflict and insecurity. The Great Lakes Region cannot afford yet more failed peace initiatives – our citizens deserve better," concludes the statement.
Last year, Congolese Army (FARDC) in collaboration with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) shelled rockets on Rwandan territory in Northern Province where they injured people and destroyed properties.
Among others, Congolese fighter jet violated Rwanda’s airspace two times since last year under what was considered as a serious provocation.