The United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, on an official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, expressed worry after receiving “credible” information that Rwanda is supporting a rebellion in the eastern DR Congo.
“We are very concerned by credible reports that Rwanda has provided support to M23. We call on all parties in the region to stop any support or cooperation with M23 or, for that matter, any other non-state armed group. That is essential to actually bringing peace and security to the region. And we urge the groups themselves – M23, all non-state armed groups operating in the eastern DRC – to cease violence, to demilitarise, to pursue talks, as necessary, with the government,” he said in a meeting with President Felix Tshisekedi, adding that “all countries must respect the territorial integrity of their neighbours”.
The M23 is an old rebellion dominated by Tutsis. It was defeated in 2013 but took up arms again in December 2021, accusing the DR Congo government of not having respected agreements on demobilisation and reinsertion of its combatants. The Congolese government, on its part, accuses the Rwandan government of supporting the M23 rebellion, accusations Rwanda denies.
In a 131-page report presented to the UN Security Council last week, experts commissioned by the UN declared that Rwandan troops had intervened militarily inside DR Congo since Nov. 2021.
The report also accuses the Rwandan government of “supplying troop reinforcements for specific M23 operations, particularly when M23 wants to capture towns and strategic zones”.
“We call on the Security Council to publish this report fully”, declared Christophe Lutundula, the DR Congo Minister of Foreign Affairs during a joint press conference with Blinken.
“It is just to say we are not closing our eyes,” declared the American diplomat, adding that the United States gives its support to “very important mediation efforts carried out by Africa.”
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