A meeting between Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in Luanda, Angola, mediated by President João Lourenço, has agreed on a roadmap that will lead to the de-escalation of tensions between the two neighbours following a recent flaring of fighting in the eastern part of DRC.
President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart met in the Angolan capital this Wednesday to discuss issues that have led to the souring of the diplomatic relations between the two neighbouring countries as a result of counter accusations.
Kinshasa accuses Kigali of backing M23 rebels who in recent months intensified their fight against Congolese government forces FARDC. Rwanda denied supporting the rebels who waged a rebellion in 2012 and instead accused DRC of supporting the FDLR militia and engaging in acts of cross-border provocations.
According to information from Luanda, President Lourenço urged the two leaders to diffuse the situation and embark on a gradual process of restoring trust between the two countries. Among other things, the “Luanda roadmap” which would see the reviving of the Rwanda-DRC Joint Permanent Commission (JPC), was agreed upon.
The commission, which had not met for several years, will identify all the issues that need to be put on the table and convene in Luanda on July 12 to discuss them, with the aim of normalizing diplomatic relations between Kinshasa and Kigali. It is reported that the three leaders, as part of the roadmap, agreed on the immediate cessation of hostilities.
It was further agreed that the DRC government deals with the M23 situation domestically, inline with the Nairobi Peace process recommendations. On Monday, President Kagame reiterated that the issue of M23 is one the DRC has failed to deal with and continues to use Rwanda as a scapegoat.
At the same time, Kinshasa was tasked to address the issue of the presence of FDLR, which Kigali has raised several times and put an end to hate speech targeting Rwanda. This was later confirmed by Stephanie Nyombayire, the Press Secretary in the Office of the President, in a series of tweets..
“Earlier today, President Kagame met President Tshisekedi at a meeting hosted by ICGLR President João Lourenço. Key outcomes of the agreed upon roadmap: Defeat FDLR and its splinter groups, create the necessary conditions for the return of refugees, fight hate speech,”
Nyombayire said that other agreed steps include reactivating the Joint Intelligence Team Rwanda-DRC and reconvening of Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) on July 12th in Luanda/Angola.