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Eastern DRC: Kinshasa and Kigali discuss their dispute at the United Nations



The Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi again accused his Rwandan neighbor of “assault” towards his country. “I denounce, in this emblematic place of international life, with the utmost energy this umpteenth aggression of which my country is the victim on the part of its neighbor, Rwanda, under cover of a terrorist group called M23 (Movement of March 23), did he declare September 20, 2022 at the tribune of the United Nations which is holding its General Assembly.

The DRC leader spoke of “direct inroads” of the Rwandan army and the occupation “localities in the province of North Kivu (eastern DRC)” by the M23 “to which Kigali provides massive support both in war material and troops”. Félix Tshisekedi thus took the opportunity to ask that “the last report UN experts on the security situation” in the east of his country be distributed to members of the Security Council “in order to draw all the necessary consequences”. The leaked document confirms his accusations against Rwanda. But Kigali considers the findings of the report “invalid”.

Speaking in turn at the General Assembly on September 21, Rwandan President Paul Kagame estimated (link in English) that “The blame game does not solve problems”.There is an urgent need to find the political will to finally tackle the root causes of instability in eastern DRC“, he pleaded. “These challenges are not insurmountable, and solutions can be found.” What would be “much cheaper in terms of money and human lives”concluded Paul Kagame.

For the United Nations, the solution requires talks between three countries: the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda. During from an interview granted to RFI and France 24 on September 18, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, recalled the nationalities of the actors at the origin of the insecurity in the DRC. Besides the M23, “we must not forget that the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces, a terrorist group) are a movement originating from Uganda. We must not forget that there are still in the Congo, the FDLR (Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda) which is a movement that came out of the Hutu genocidaires”.

The Rwandan authorities have already indicated that “as long as the problem of the FDLR who operate in close collaboration with the DRC army will not be taken seriously and dealt with, security in the Great Lakes region cannot be ensured”. What the Congolese president replied to the UN by saying that his countryis not and never will be genocidal”. “I maintain that the alleged ‘collaboration’ that certain Congolese officials maintain with Rwandan opponents of the (FDLR) whose (serves Rwanda) to justify the repeated aggressions of the DRC is an alibi which is not corroborated by any proven fact on the ground”, threw Felix Tshisekedi.

“There are concerns from all countries, pointed out on September 18 Antonio Guterres. “It’s necessary (only Kinshasa, Kigali and Kampala) agree because, to think that a peacekeeping force (UN Mission for Stabilization in the DRC, MONUSCO) can solve problems when there are now extremely well-armed military forces, it is impossible“. In July 2022the Security Council had already called on foreign armed groups to “disarm immediately” and to “return to their country of origin”.

On the sidelines of the General Assembly and after their various speeches, the Congolese and Rwandan presidents met “on the initiative” of their French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on September 21.

Paris thus joins the list of mediators in the dispute between Kigali and Kinshasa. In particular Kenya and Angola, which have undertaken mediation respectively on behalf of the East African Community, which brings together the countries of the sub-region, and the African Union.



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