Rwandan President Paul Kagame has met with his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi in New York, U.S.,where they agreed to de-escalate the tension between their two neighboring countries.
ChimpReports understands the two leaders were invited to a meeting by France’s president Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Wednesday evening.
Tshisekedi and Kagame, according to a statement issued by Kinshasa, agreed “to sustainably intensify their cooperation to fight against impunity and put an end to the action of armed groups in the Great Lakes region, including the FDLR.”
“In order to bring together the conditions for a frank and constructive dialogue, it is necessary for the revival of cooperation between the countries of the region and in accordance with the Luanda process, both parties agreed to work together to obtain the withdrawal of the M23 rebels from the occupied localities,” the statement emphasised.
The meeting came hours after Tshisekedi used the United Nations General Assembly to slam Rwanda for what he described as “aggression” and “supporting armed terrorist groups” – in reference to the M23 rebel movement.
“Despite abundant goodwill from my Government, some neighbours “thank” us through aggression and support for terrorist armed groups — as in the case of Rwanda,” said Tshisekedi at UN Headquarters at the opening of the high-level week of the General Assembly.
“Not only via direct incursions by armed forces in March and occupation of part of North Kivu province, but through massive support of the 23 March Group — which shot down a United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) helicopter killing eight “Blue Helmets”, a war crime,’” he emphasized.
Kigali has since denied Kinshasa’s accusation and instead accused Congolese military forces of provocations against Rwanda, including shelling on Rwandan territory, which officials said could not be tolerated as normal business.
President Kagame met with President @EmmanuelMacron of France and President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo to discuss solutions to the security situation in eastern DRC. pic.twitter.com/rcvrdF3P9v
— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) September 21, 2022
President Paul Kagame’s government also blamed DRC’s armed forces for integrating the genocidal FDLR fighters in their fighting formations against the M23 rebels. The FDLR have previously attacked the Rwandan territory, killing innocent people.
The meeting in New York could breathe new life into Kagame’s relations with Tshisekedi.
In his speech, Tshisekedi demanded the withdrawal of M23 from Bunagana border point, the return of displaced Congolese and the “unconditional end of Rwandan army support for that terrorist group, along with deployment of the East Africa Regional Force, and the lifting all obstacles to restructure the armed forces, including acquiring military equipment.”