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African leaders move to iron out differences between Rwanda and Congo after Kagame comments

African leaders move to iron out differences between Rwanda and Congo after Kagame comments with Ruto playing a leading role.

President William Ruto and other African leaders on Thursday, December 14, brought together dignitaries from Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to iron out their differences.

In a conference that was conducted in conjunction with the US-Africa Summit in Washington, DC, the leaders of the East African Community (EAC) continued their peace negotiations over the troubled DRC.

“It is in our interest as a region to find a lasting solution to the current instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We cannot allow the situation to get worse,” Ruto affirmed. 

Ruto further urged warring parties to embrace dialogue, saying, “We encourage dialogue and cessation of hostilities even as we push for a lasting solution.”

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In attendance were President William Ruto of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), and Evariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi).

The African Union’s designated mediator, President Joo Lourenço of Angola, was also present at the high-level conference.

Conflicts between Presidents Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Paul Kagame of Rwanda significantly hampered peace negotiations.

Tensions with neighboring Rwanda increased as a result of fighting in Eastern DRC between government forces and M23 rebels. Kagame accused Tshisekedi of leveraging the violent issue to delay elections.

“The problem was not created by Rwanda, and it is not Rwanda’s problem. It is [DRC’s] problem. I cannot be responsible for Congolese of Rwandan descent in DRC who are being denied their rights as citizens,” Rwandan President Kagame noted.

On the other hand, DRC repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting Rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels. 

However, Tshisekedi maintained that Rwanda was to blame for the escalation of hostilities in eastern DR Congo. 

Commenting on the same, US Secretary of State Blinken noted that America would back the peace process and any other efforts to de-escalate the violence.

“But we have a range of shared priorities that we’ll continue to discuss, including free and fair elections next year, finding concrete solutions to sustainable development for the DRC; protecting the Congo Basin, which we’ve had good conversations about; and of course peace in eastern DRC, which we’re determined to support and help pursue,” he confirmed. 

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