President William Ruto, on Thursday, December 14, brought together leaders of the East African Community to deliberate on how to end the constant bickering between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The EAC leaders continued with peace talks over the troubled DRC in a meeting held on the sidelines of the US-Africa Summit in Washington, DC.
“It is in our interest as a region to find a lasting solution to the current instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We cannot allow the situation to get worse,” Ruto affirmed.
He further urged warring parties to embrace dialogue, saying, “We encourage dialogue and cessation of hostilities even as we push for a lasting solution.”
President William Ruto (left), Rwandan President Paul Kagame (centre) and Burundian President Évariste Ndayishimiye (right) in Washington DC on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.
In attendance were President William Ruto of Kenya, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Samia Suluhu (Tanzania), and Evariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi).
President João Lourenço of Angola, the African Union’s appointed mediator, was also present for the high-level meeting.
The peace talks were largely affected by diplomatic tiffs between Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi.
Fighting in Eastern DRC between government forces and rebels from the M23 heightened tensions with neighbouring Rwanda, with Kagame accusing Tshisekedi of exploiting the violent crisis to delay elections.
On the other hand, DRC repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting Rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels. DRC’s President Tshisekedi, on Tuesday, December 13, met US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken and discussed the matter.
Tshisekedi maintained that Rwanda was to blame for the escalation of hostilities in eastern DRC.
On his part, US Secretary of State Blinken noted that America would back the peace process and any other efforts to de-escalate the violence.
“But we have a range of shared priorities that we’ll continue to discuss, including free and fair elections next year, finding concrete solutions to sustainable development for the DRC; protecting the Congo Basin, which we’ve had good conversations about; and of course peace in eastern DRC, which we’re determined to support and help pursue,” he confirmed.
President William Ruto at in Washington DC on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.