Rwanda Rejects Congo’s Statements over Rebel Withdrawal
The Rwandan government on Thursday rejected the statements of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government regarding rebel group M23’s withdrawal from occupied territories. The Rwandan government office of spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said the DRC’s statements were a “selective reading of the conclusions of the Luanda mini-summit”.
This response comes after DRC’s foreign minister Christophe Lutundula asked for international sanctions against Rwanda over non-compliance of road map established at the end of last November at the Luanda mini-summit. The agreement stipulated the withdrawal of M23 rebels before January 15, 2021.
The Rwandan government also stated that beyond the rebel withdrawal, there are serious implications related to peace and security. Kigali accused Kinshasa of delivering weapons to different illegal groups and recruitment of foreign mercenaries- though failing to provide evidence. The Rwandan authorities also stressed non-efforts taken by the Congolese government to facilitate return of the Congolese refugees living in Rwanda.
The eastern region of the DRC has been in conflict for more than two decades due to fighter groups and the army, despite presence of UN peacekeeping mission. Recently, the M23 insurgents created tensions between both countries and caused displacement of 500,000 people according to UN reports. Rwanda has denied involvement and support for the M23, though UN reports confirmed both cooperation and that of the Congolese Army with the FDLR.