Last updated on November 7th, 2022 at 10:53 am
In the midst of escalating violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the foreign ministers of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda convened at the Angolan president’s residence on Saturday for a new round of diplomatic discussions. As the last few months have shown, relations between the DRC and Rwanda are getting worse.
The conference takes place in the middle of a fight in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between a rebel militia organization known as M23 and the Congolese army. The rebels have lately taken control of vast areas of new territory.
The African Union has chosen Angola’s President Joao Lourenco to act as a mediator in the talks between the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Christophe Lutundula and Rwanda’s President Vincent Biruta.
In Luanda, the president of Angola, Joao Lourenco, is said to have played host to the two ministers, according to a report by AFP. Prior to this, Angola had already taken steps to normalize relations with its two nearest neighbors; however, these efforts were fruitless. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) said in July that a “de-escalation procedure” had been agreed upon following a meeting between the President of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, and the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.
Since the revival of the March 23 Movement, often known as M23, toward the end of last year, tensions between the capital cities of Kinshasa and Kigali have been particularly high. The former Tutsi rebel organization took up arms after accusing Kinshasa of not respecting agreements on the demobilization of its fighters. They were fighting against the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Recently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo said that Rwanda helped the M23 militia, which is responsible for uprooting tens of thousands of people.
Kigali has repeatedly denied the allegations, which has caused tensions to rise between it and its neighbor Kinshasa. At the end of the previous month, the Democratic Republic of the Congo expelled Rwanda’s ambassador and summoned back its own official from the Rwandan capital of Kigali. But armed groups have been causing trouble in the eastern part of the DRC for most of the last 25 years and a half. Many of these groups got their start in the fights that broke out in the area after the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
The United Nations estimates that since October 20, combat between the FARDC and the M23 has resulted in the displacement of around 50,000 people, 12,000 of whom have sought safety in Uganda.