Mini-Summit Addresses Eastern DRC Violence at African Union Summit

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On the sidelines of the African Union summit, an extraordinary mini-summit addressing the upsurge of violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) took place in Addis Ababa. Several heads of state were in attendance, including Félix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame.

Due to the late arrival of several delegations in the Ethiopian capital, the high-level meeting behind closed doors at the Julius Nyerere building of the African Union only commenced in the late evening.

Among the heads of state present were Angolan President João Lourenço, who serves as the African Union mediator in this matter, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose military forces are engaged alongside the Congolese army in the eastern part of the country, Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto, and the two main protagonists, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi.

The Defensive Stance

President Lourenço gave the floor to the latter first. According to participants in the meeting, the Congolese leader delivered a straightforward speech and, with evidence from the United Nations, accused Rwanda of destabilizing the DRC by militarily supporting the M23 rebels.

“This mini-summit, among other things, discussed the return to constructive and reconciliatory dialogue between the DRC and Rwanda, the immediate cessation of hostilities, the immediate withdrawal of the M23 from occupied areas, and the initiation of the demobilization process for this movement,” according to the Congolese presidency on X (formerly Twitter), specifying that the meeting would continue on Saturday.

According to witnesses of the session, Rwandan President Paul Kagame then spoke but “in a defensive position,” according to a member of the Congolese delegation.

The meeting lasted only an hour and a half. It was adjourned due to the late hour and is expected to resume on Saturday on the sidelines of the 37th African Union Heads of State Conference.


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