15th April 2024
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Kiir, Kagame discuss Rwanda-DR Congo tension

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Friday, February 23, 2024

President Kiir meets Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame in Kigali. (-)

President Salva Kiir and Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday held a consultative meeting on deescalating conflicts and tensions between partner-states in the Great Lakes region.

According to a Communique published by EAC Secretary General, Dr. Peter Mathuki, the meeting in Kigali discussed the status of peace and security in the East African region.

“They noted that peace and security is a prerequisite to social and economic development in the community and vital to the achievement of the objectives of the community,” the communique reads.

It added that the meeting called on partner states to comply with their obligations as enshrined in the treaty for the establishment of the East African Community.

Kiir and Kagame also emphasized on the need to implement the EAC-led Nairobi and Luanda peace process to avert the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo “which risks spilling over to neighboring partner states.”

Geopolitical tensions between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda are on the rise following renewed violence in recent weeks between the Congolese army and the resurgent M23 rebels.

Kinshasa has long accused Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels, an allegation backed by the United States and the United Nations investigations. But Rwanda has rejected the accusations.

In January 2024, Rwanda accused DR Congo of reneging on the provisions of the Nairobi and Luanda processes aimed at restoring peace in the eastern part of the country as Kinshasa continues to shun responsibility.

Rwanda is also involved in a deepening tension with its southern neighbor Burundi, which closed its borders on January 11, 2024, accusing Kigali of funding rebel attacks.

This came after Red Tabara, a Burundian rebel group, killed 20 people near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, in December 2023.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame denies the charge, but Burundi’s government has branded him a “bad neighbor”.

“We have stopped ties with him until he changes,” said Burundi’s Interior Minister Martin Niteretse, as reported by the BBC.

The Rwandan government responded that it “regrets the unilateral closure of the border by Burundi”, according to AFP.

After visiting Kigali, President Kiir will proceed to the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, to meet his EAC predecessor, President Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Kiir will then make a final leg of the visit to DR Congo, where he will hold similar discussions with President Felix Tshisekedi.

After concluding the three-nation peace tour, President Kiir will then convene an EAC Summit, with the view of mending relations between member states and resolve conflicts in the region.

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