Rwanda accuses the US of “exacerbating” the crisis in eastern DRC

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The Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs accused the international community of “exacerbating” the crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, plagued by armed groups after the United States urged Kigali to cease any supposed support for the rebels.

In an appeal on Sunday with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken “made it clear that any external support to non-state armed groups in the DRC must stop, including Rwanda’s support to the M23”.

Fighting in eastern DRC between government forces and M23 rebels, a former Tutsi rebellion, has exacerbated tensions with neighbouring Rwanda, which the DRC accuses of encouraging the militia.

Kigali denies any involvement in a statement issued on Monday evening, Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta said that Paul Kagame and Anthony Blinken “had had good exchanges but that differences remain on the understanding of the problem”.

“The erroneous approach of the international community continues to exacerbate the problem,” continued the head of Rwandan diplomacy.

Rwanda has repeatedly blamed the authorities in Kinshasa for the crisis in eastern DRC and accused the international community of turning a blind eye to its supposed support for the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a movement of Rwandan Hutu rebels including some involved in the 1994 Tutsi genocide in Rwanda.

Presented as a threat by Kigali, the existence and violence of this militia justified past Rwandan interventions in Congolese territory.

Vincent Biruta said that “Rwanda’s security problems must be taken into account”, adding that “M23 should not be assimilated to Rwanda”.

Nour el Houda Bouzammour

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