Blinken in Rwanda to Discuss D.R Congo Tensions

Blinken in Rwanda to Discuss Congo Tensions (News Central TV)

In Rwanda, the final country of his three-nation African visit, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has outlined Washington’s new approach to working with sub-Saharan African countries as “equal partners.”

Blinken arrives in Rwanda during a challenging time for the Great Lakes area of Africa, as the little country in central Africa is at odds with its enormous neighbor Congo amid claims that both governments back rebels who are at conflict with each other.

Blinken is scheduled to meet with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday to discuss initiatives to reduce the hostilities. Rejecting a recent report by UN specialists who claim to have “strong proof” that members of Rwanda’s military forces are undertaking operations in eastern Congo to support the M23 rebel organization, Rwanda has responded by declaring that the claims are untrue.

According to Blinken, accusations that Rwanda supported M23 seemed “credible.” He said that the United States will assist African-led efforts to put an end to the war after meeting with Congolese authorities on Tuesday.

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Authorities in Rwanda accuse Congo of sheltering ethnic Hutu fighters who participated in the genocide that slaughtered ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.

Tensions between the nations have long existed. Late in the 1990s, Rwanda twice sent troops into the heart of the Congo, working with rebel leader Laurent Kabila to overthrow longstanding ruler Mobutu Sese Seko.

The accusations of supporting rebel groups are denied by both Rwanda and Congo, and Rwandan officials have dismissed the most recent assessment by U.N. experts as an attempt “to divert from serious issues.” Rwanda claims that its security requirements cannot be satisfied as long as armed survivors of the genocide are still operating out of Congolese territory.

Following their meeting on July 6 in Angola, Kagame and Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo issued a joint statement calling for the restoration of diplomatic relations, an end to hostilities, and the “immediate and unconditional withdrawal” of the M23 from its positions in eastern Congo.

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However, M23, which is primarily composed of ethnic Tutsis from the Congo, continues to hold its positions close to the Ugandan border, keeping attention on Rwanda.

In a letter to Blinken last month, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee demanded a thorough review of Washington’s policy toward Rwanda. He expressed concern that this support for a country that human rights organizations frequently characterise as authoritarian and oppressive does not align with American values.

According to the State Department, Blinken in Rwanda will also bring up issues related to transnational repression, democracy, and human rights, as well as the constrained space for the opposition.

On the agenda is also Paul Rusesabagina, an American citizen and permanent resident who was found guilty of terrorism-related crimes and is currently imprisoned in Rwanda. Rusesabagina, who gained notoriety through the movie “Hotel Rwanda” for protecting ethnic Tutsis during the genocide, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the United States.

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The Rwandan government expressed its excitement for “a strong exchange of views on governance and human rights, as has always been the case in the Rwanda-U.S. bilateral relationship” in a statement before to Blinken’s arrival. It acknowledged that the situation in Rusesabagina would be discussed.

Blinken visited South Africa on this tour, where he spoke of a policy “based in the recognition that sub-Saharan Africa is a major geopolitical power.”


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