Tshisekedi-Lourenço Meeting on the Situation in North Kivu

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The situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo took center stage during a meeting in Luanda between President Félix Tshisekedi and his Angolan counterpart, João Lourenço, who serves as a mediator in this crisis. This meeting follows the mini-summit held on February 18th, on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to establish a dialogue between the Congolese and Rwandan presidents to achieve de-escalation of the conflict in North Kivu.

President Tshisekedi visited Luanda accompanied by a delegation including several of his ministers: Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula, Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Bemba, and Regional Integration Minister Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi.

In mid-February, Defense Minister Jean-Pierre Bemba and General Christian Tshiwewe, Chief of the General Staff of the Army, visited the North Kivu province to assess the evolving situation on the ground, where fighting has intensified.

The tête-à-tête between Félix Tshisekedi and João Lourenço lasted three hours, conducted in a “friendly” atmosphere, as stated by the Congolese side. The two presidents did not make any statements following their meeting. Only the Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke on behalf of the mediation: according to Tete Antonio, the Congolese head of state has given his principle agreement for a meeting with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.

However, the Congolese presidency emphasizes that conditions have already been set by Kinshasa before any meeting: immediate withdrawal of Rwandan military troops from Congolese territory, cessation of hostilities, and the confinement of the M23.

This diplomatic endeavor underscores the gravity of the situation in North Kivu and the concerted efforts being made to address it through dialogue and negotiation, facilitated by regional partners.

Soukaina Sghir

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