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After a one-day visit to Kinshasa, Antony Blinken is due to head to Kigali on Tuesday for the final leg of his African tour and undoubtedly one of the most fragile. In Kinshasa, the US Secretary of State expressed concern about Rwanda’s support for the rebel group M23, the author of the genocide in DR Congo. He called for more “transparency”.
Expected in Rwanda on the evening of Wednesday 10 August as part of his African tour, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke in the Democratic Republic of the Congo about the United States’ concern after the state made “credible” information. Support from Kigali for the M23, an insurgency that has re-emerged in eastern Congo.
“All countries must respect the territorial integrity of their neighbors,” he told a news conference after a one-on-one meeting with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi.
The M23 is a former Tutsi-dominated insurgency defeated in 2013, which again took up arms late last year, accusing Kinshasa of not reaching honorable agreements on the demilitarization and reunification of its fighters. Kinshasa accused Rwanda of supporting the M23, which Kigali denied.
In a 131-page report to the UN Security Council, consulted last week by AFP, experts appointed by the body announced that Rwandan troops had militarily intervened inside the DRC since November 2021.
Kigaliq requests transparency
According to experts’ reports, Rwanda also provided “troop reinforcements” for specific M23 operations, “particularly when these were aimed at capturing towns and strategic areas”.
“We demand that the Security Council publish [ce] Report fully,” said Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula during a joint press conference with Antony Blinken. “Any entry of foreign forces into the DRC must be done transparently and with the consent of the DRC. That’s the main reason I’m here,” his American counterpart said.
“It is fair to say that we are certainly not turning a blind eye,” said the head of US diplomacy, who confirmed that the United States provides support for “very important mediation efforts led by Africa.”
Expected meeting with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame
There are a hundred armed groups in the east of the DRC that have been sowing the seeds of death for almost 30 years. M23 is one of the most active today.
Eastern DRC, 19 Congolese and American organizations demanded “Antony Blinken should make it clear that the United States will impose targeted sanctions on government officials and others who support abused armed groups”.
Father Rigobert Minani Bihujo of the Center for Studies for Social Action (CEPAS) said, “Secretary of State Blinken should inform Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame that the United States will not tolerate any support for the M23, as will President Barack Obama did it in 2012.” of signatories.
To restore peace to this part of Congo’s territory, two African diplomatic initiatives are underway. They are led by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta – for the disarmament of the hundred active armed groups – and Angolan President Joao Lourenco, accused of supporting the M23, to achieve de-escalation between Kinshasa and Kigali. What does Rwanda deny?