Mauritanian President joins mediation efforts to ease Rwanda-DRC tensions

On 2 April 2024 at 12:26

Global leaders are redoubling their diplomatic efforts to address the simmering tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani taking the lead in the latest peace initiative. This past week, President Ghazouani, currently at the helm of the African Union, hosted DRC President Felix Tshisekedi for discussions.

The meeting not only aimed to bolster the bilateral ties between Mauritania and the DRC but also tackled the persistent security issues plaguing the eastern regions of the DRC and the strained relations with Rwanda. In response to these security dilemmas, President Ghazouani pledged to offer diplomatic aid to support the ongoing Luanda and Nairobi peace dialogues.

According to reports, this high-level engagement followed closely on the heels of a visit from Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s envoy, Dr. Vincent Biruta, who serves as Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Post-discussion, Minister Biruta shared his honor at being welcomed by President Ghazouani and the opportunity to relay messages from his Rwandan counterpart, emphasizing the importance of their bilateral relationship and the broader challenges facing the continent.

Prior to this, a significant phone conversation between President Ghazouani and Angolan President João Lourenço, who has been mediating the Rwanda-DRC conflict, underscored Mauritania’s commitment to peace in the region. Despite the lack of an official statement from Mauritania, there is strong evidence of President Ghazouani’s dedication to resolving Africa’s conflict issues, notably the crisis in the DRC.

The urgency of President Ghazouani’s involvement has been heightened by the escalating conflict in the eastern DRC, driven by clashes between the national military and the M23 rebel faction.

Corneille Nangaa, leader of the Alliance Fleuve Congo (AFC), a political and military coalition, has openly expressed their intent to urgently dismantle the DRC government, condemning the lack of security and attributing it to governance that neglects and exploits the populace.

He criticized the Kinshasa administration for exacerbating division, deprivation, and corruption, thereby deflecting responsibility onto external figures.

Nangaa’s bold declaration of plans to seize control over significant territories, including Goma and the capital, Kinshasa, speaks to the profound discontent with the centralization of wealth and power in the capital, which is seen as unjust.

Adding to the discourse, Bintou Keita, the UN’s head of peace missions in the DRC, informed the UN Security Council about the strengthening position of the M23 group. She noted the group’s significant territorial advancements, including the strategic encirclement of Goma, following their recapture of regions previously held by the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) in late 2023.

In the wake of President Ghazouani’s peace-making endeavors, other political figures, including ex-Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, French President Emmanuel Macron, representatives from Qatar, and the United States, have all contributed their efforts towards quelling the unrest, showcasing a unified global stance on peace and stability in the region.

Mauritanian President (right) has joined mediation efforts to ease Rwanda-DRC tensions.