Congo-Kinshasa: DR Congo, Rwanda Foreign Ministers Meet in Angola

Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta and his Congolese counterpart Christophe Lutundula on Thursday, March 21, met in the Angolan capital Luanda for high-level consultations meant to analyse the issue of security and peace in eastern DR Congo, the Angolan ministry of foreign affairs said on Friday.

The meeting of the two countries’ delegations followed one-on-one engagements of Angola’s President Joao Lourenço and Congolese leaders Felix Tshisekedi and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Lourenço is the mediator between Rwanda and DR Congo under the African Union-backed Luanda process, which seeks to amend diplomatic relations that were affected by the conflict in eastern DR Congo, where a government-led coalition is fighting the M23 rebels.

The Angolan leader is expected to host the meeting of Presidents Tshisekedi and Kagame, according to reports.

Following months of belligerent rhetoric by Congolese leaders and multiple calls to return to negotiations, the Luanda process was revived by regional leaders at a meeting in the Ethiopian capital on February 16.

As a follow-up on the Addis Ababa meeting, on February 27, Lourenço hosted Tshisekedi, who reportedly agreed to a meeting with Rwanda’s President Kagame.

Lourenço also received President Kagame on March 11. According to Village Urugwiro, the two leaders agreed on steps towards addressing the root causes of the eastern DR Congo conflict and the need to uphold the Luanda process and its sister initiative, the Nairobi process, both of which seek to find a lasting solution to decades-old violence in eastern DR Congo.

DR Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting the rebels, allegations the Rwandan government dismisses.

Rwanda accuses the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) of integrating the FDLR, a UN-sanctioned militia linked to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The FDLR is part of the Congolese government-led coalition that includes Burundian forces, troops from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), fighting M23 rebels.

The terrorist group poses a threat to Rwanda and is accused of spreading hate and violence against Congolese Tutsi communities.

Apart from the FDLR, root causes of the violence in eastern DR Congo include decades-long persecution and alienation of Kinyarwanda-speaking communities in the region.