A ceasefire was reached on Wednesday (July 6th) at a summit between Rwandan Presidents Paul Kagame and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, amid growing tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa in eastern DRC, the chief of the Angolan State Joao Lourenço, mediator of the talks.
“I am pleased to report that we have achieved positive results (…) insofar as we have agreed on a ceasefire, among other measures”, President Lourenço told the end of the meeting held in the Angolan capital Luanda. However, he did not provide any details on the terms of such a ceasefire.
Earlier, Kinshasa announced that the leaders of these two Great Lakes countries had agreed to a “de-escalation process”. A “roadmap” meant to achieve this objective “stipulates a desire to normalize diplomatic relations between Kinshasa and Kigali” and provides for “the immediate cessation of hostilities”, as well as “the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the M23 from its positions in the DRC. “, had specified the Congolese presidency on Twitter.
The March 23 Movement (M23) is a former Tutsi-dominated rebellion whose resurgence in late 2021 in eastern Congo has sparked renewed tensions between the DRC and neighboring Rwanda. Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting these rebels, which Rwanda denies.
“De-escalation of hostilities”
Rwandan public television confirmed “the adoption of a roadmap for the de-escalation of hostilities”. According to this media, it was agreed that the issue of the M23 “would be dealt with at the national level within the framework of the Nairobi process”, a framework for discussions with the armed groups active in the DRC initiated by Félix Tshisekedi and facilitated by Kenya to negotiate the peace.
Paul Kagame and Félix Tshisekedi met Wednesday in Luanda under the auspices of Angolan President Joao Lourenço, appointed mediator by the African Union, the objective being “to help restore confidence between the two neighboring countries”, recalls the presidency from DRC.
The “roadmap” mentioned at the end of the discussions will be “focused on the relaunch of the DRC-Rwanda joint commission which had not met for several years”, indicates the Congolese presidency. According to her, “this commission will hold its first meeting on July 12 in Luanda”.
The presidency also ensures that this roadmap specifies that “any exploitation of natural resources” – a sensitive subject in the east of the DRC which is very rich in minerals – “must be done in strict respect of the sovereignty of States”.