Skip to content

how to promote dialogue between Tshisekedi and Kagame?

Fighting between the Congolese army and the former Tutsi rebellion M23 (March 23 Movement) broke out on several fronts at the end of May, in North Kivu, this region of eastern DRC, bordering Rwanda. Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced from their homes to flee the violence, according to humanitarians and the United Nations. Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting the M23 rebels.

Today it is clear, there is no doubt, Rwanda supported the M23 to attack the DRC.
Felix Tshisekedi, June 5, 2022

This new Congolese-Rwandan crisis was on the menu of discussions on June 4 and 5 between Félix Tshisekedi and his Congolese counterpart and neighbor Denis Sassou Nguesso. They met in Oyo, some 400 km north of Brazzaville.

At the end of this meeting, for the first time, President Tshisekedi publicly evokes this crisis. “Today it is clear, there is no doubt, Rwanda supported the M23 to attack the DRC” he told Congolese public radio and television.

TV5MONDE: Does this statement by the president have a particular resonance? Is this the first time that the DRC government has accused Rwanda by name?

Reagan Miviri, lawyer at the Congo Study Group : Not quite. The DRC foreign minister made the accusations when he was with the Rwandan foreign minister during a session on the fight against terrorism at the African level at the extraordinary summit of the African Union held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea May 25-28. The Congolese minister had challenged his peers on these issues. And at that time, there were not many more elements which made it possible to affirm that.

He also denounced it to the UN Security Council. The Congolese army then presented elements which attested to this support.

(RE)see: DR Congo – Rwanda: Kigali responds to Kinshasa’s accusations

But it’s the first time it’s come from the president himself, which gives it a different weight. That said, we are finally in a context where a dialogue could begin between the two countries, through the Angolan president.

TV5MONDE: This beginning of dialogue is due to a mediation which was launched by the current president of the African Union, the president of Senegal Macky Sall?

Reagan Miviri: Macky Sall spoke individually with the two presidents. He met the Congolese president and spoke by videoconference with the Rwandan president. They both agree to meet. It remains to be defined on what basis they will talk to each other, what themes will be addressed, and what are the positions of each other with which we begin the dialogue.

Rwanda totally denies supporting the M23, although to some extent it understands the demands of the M23 and is pushing Congo to negotiate with the M23.Reagan Miviri, lawyer at the Congo Study Group

I think this statement by President Tshisekedi the official position of the Congo. And this position is to say that our neighbor Rwanda supports the M23. The Congo wants this support to cease so that we can envisage a way out of the crisis.

(RE)see: DR Congo: why is Rwanda accused of supporting the M23 rebellion?

It is in this logic that we must hear these words of the Head of State. The Congo and Rwanda are in disagreement precisely on this question. Rwanda totally denies supporting the M23, although to some extent it understands the demands of the M23 and is pushing Congo to negotiate with the M23. Which suggests that they have some sympathy with this cause or with these demands. But that doesn’t mean they support them directly. It is on this question that the dialogue risks stumbling.

TV5MONDE: What institutions can enable this regional dialogue?

Reagan Miviri: There is the verification mechanism of the CIRGL (International Conference on the Great Lakes Region), of which the DRC, Angola and Rwanda are part, which will make it possible to initiate this dialogue.

What is the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)?

The ICGLR comprises twelve member states, which are Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Republic of South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

It was organized from 2000, following the many political conflicts that marked the Great Lakes Region, in particular the Rwandan genocide in 1994.

In 2000, the United Nations Security Council called for an international conference on peace, security, democracy and development in the Great Lakes Region. During the same year, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region was established jointly by the United Nations Secretariat and the African Union in Nairobi (Kenya).
Then the Executive Secretariat of the ICGLR was inaugurated in May 2007 in Bujumbura.

In order to ensure the follow-up and implementation of the decisions taken by the Summit and the Regional Interministerial Committee, a national coordination mechanism (NCM) is set up in each Member State. The mechanisms are composed of representatives of civil society, women and young people

Until the mechanism has been grasped and spoken, we cannot move forward. I suppose that they will give the first of the result of their investigations rather to the Angolan president who is also the current president of the CIRGL. And that’s also why he initiated this dialogue. The African Union has asked a sub-regional organization to deal with this crisis.

Dialogue and all diplomatic procedures will have to take over so that we can resolve the problem without going into an escalation that risks setting the whole sub-region ablaze.
Reagan Miviri, Congo Study Group

Angolan President João Lourenço knows the region from a perspective. It is a little further from the problem and can be more neutral than, for example, Uganda, which is already intervening in the DRC.

(RE)read: Why are relations between the DRC and Rwanda struggling to normalize?

On June 4 and 5, the fighting had calmed down on the part of the FDLR [Les Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda sont constituées de dissidents hutus opposés au président Paul Kagame et accusés du génocide des Tutsis NDLR] and M23. But the next morning they resumed on three fronts.

For the moment, the military response seems to be the only one still in use. Dialogue and all diplomatic procedures will have to take over so that we can resolve the problem without going into an escalation that risks setting the whole sub-region ablaze.

TV5MONDE: But Rwanda accuses the Congolese armed forces of having fired rockets on its territory.

Reagan Miviri: Yes, indeed, Rwanda has alerted the ICGLR verification mechanism about this. The DRC in return claims to have proof of the Rwandan military presence on its territory. They presented Rwandan soldiers who were arrested by the local population more than 20 km from the Rwandan border. It was Congo’s ultimate proof of this military presence. They said they were part of a larger group of the Rwandan army, that they got lost. This attests that the Rwandan army was present on Congolese soil.

TV5MONDE: Could diplomatic mediation succeed in this context?

Reagan Miviri: We have to wait for this meeting between the two heads of state in Angola.
But within the framework of the United Nations there are also initiatives. From a diplomatic source, we have learned that some countries are having talks with the authorities of the two countries in order to move forward, but in silent diplomacy. For the moment, we cannot say more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.