Angolan President Joao Lourenco will today, in Luanda, the country’s capital, mediate talks between President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda following the tension between the two neighbouring nations.
President Lourenco was designated mediator between the two countries by the current chairman of the African Union, President Macky Sall of Senegal.
“The two presidents would leave their capitals on Tuesday to Luanda,” a top Angolan official said.
“The summit under the mediation of their Angolan colleague will be held minutes after their arrival.”
A close collaborator of President Tshisekedi confirmed the news, assuring that the president “is ready to prove to the world that Rwanda has stabbed us in the back by supporting the M23 rebels”.
The two countries are at daggers drawn since the M23 rebel group resumed attacks against the Congolese army in the eastern DR Congo near the Rwandan and Ugandan borders.
DR Congo has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels. Still, Rwanda denied it while charging DR Congo with collaborating with Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Front Democratiques pour la Liberation de Rwanda (FDLR), accused of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.
“We recall that we are opposed to all types of dialogue between DR Congo and Rwanda,” a statement by the DR Congo Citizens Movement said.
“We recall that Rwandan/M23 troops are still occupying part of Congolese territory when we are talking. Therefore, we are shocked that President Tshisekedi has accepted to attend this meeting.”
This influential civil society movement has warned President Tshisekedi to “not engage DR Congo in supplementary accords which would peril our country’s economic and territorial sovereignty”.
On the eve of the meeting, the head of the diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, had invited “all the partner countries concerned to be actively involved and to avoid all that can endanger the process”.
Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, Archbishop of Kinshasa, on Sunday, July 3, called for the direct involvement of the Catholic Church in resolving conflicts, and Pope Francois also called for the silencing of arms in the region.
On Monday, July 4, President Paul Kagame declared that the conflict necessitates a political and not a military approach.
President Tshisekedi had, on his part, declared June ending that he had resolved to direct his efforts towards the double fronts of diplomacy and military.
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