Rwanda should “use its influence” on the M23 rebel movement and fully support attempts to find peace in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has said.
He called for Rwanda to persuade the rebels to comply with an order to withdraw their forces from the eastern regions, part of the Luanda accord which was agreed at talks chaired by the president of Angola, in order to find a lasting solution to the decades-long conflict.
“If it is put in place, I think that would offer a formidable opportunity to put an end to the conflict, and hopefully, bring lasting stability in eastern DR Congo”, the US chief diplomat.
“A large part of that depends on the withdrawal of M23 and we are waiting on Rwanda to use its influence on the M23 to encourage it and make things to advance”, declared Mr. Blinken during a press conference in Washington.
The American Secretary of State also called on “all the parties to use their influence on the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda”, a Hutu movement constituted by certain authors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda.
Mr. Blinken was talking on the sidelines of the US-African summit in Washington during which he held talks with Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi, who had condemned the fact that his country was the victim of “a disguised Rwandan aggression”.
The US official did not hold similar talks with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda but the two persons spoke by phone before the Washington summit.
The Rwandan president on Wednesday December 14, 2022 distanced himself and his country from the heavy human casualties in the eastern DR Congo, a border region to his country, saying “the problem was not created by Rwanda and is not a Rwandan problem. It is a Congolese problem”.
The American Secretary of State again insisted that the United States was “fully engaged in a solution” saying it supports a solution between Africans.
“The present challenge is the putting in place of what had been previously decided”, Mr. Blinken reiterated adding that he had hope for a settlement of the crisis.
Congolese authorities, United Nations experts and American diplomacy insist the M23 is supported by Rwanda but President Kagame has denied all links to the actions of the armed group.
Meanwhile, in a related development, President Felix Tshisekedi held talks in Washington with the President of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Senate, Bob Menendez. The DR Congo presidency reveals that the Democratic Senator reiterated his support to the DR Congo for the re-establishment of peace and sustainable stability in the east of the country and the organisation of free and transparent elections throughout the national territory.
“We must act as we acted in 2012 so that Paul Kagame stops destabilising the DR Congo”, Senator Menendez declared.
The Senator was in October this year very critical of the Kigali regime declaring that “I join the United States mission to the United Nations in calling on Rwanda to stop its support to M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo”, which was a re-echo of comments by Robert Wood, Alternative US Representative for Special Political Affairs at the US Mission to the United Nations.
“Responsible for the murders of Congolese citizens and UN soldiers, the M23 and its partners merit international condemnation and must be held responsible”, Mr. Menendez declared.
It should be recalled that the United States Senate in November 2012 had adopted an amendment imposing economic sanctions against those supporting the M23.
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