KINSHASA — President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, on Wednesday agreed on a de-escalation process after the resurgence of a rebel group had fueled tensions between the two countries.
The consensus was reached after a tripartite meeting brought together the two leaders and Angolan President Joao Lourenco as a mediator in Angola’s capital Luanda, which was convened at the request of the African Union.
The meeting was aimed at helping restore confidence between Kinshasa and Kigali, according to a statement released by the DRC presidency. Since the end of March, the March 23 Movement (M23) has been on the offensive in the eastern DRC province of North Kivu, causing thousands of civilians to be displaced.
The DRC authorities accused Rwanda of secretly supporting the rebels to destabilize the east part of the country, while Rwanda has denied the allegation. At a press briefing on Wednesday, the leaders confirmed that the Rwanda-DRC Joint Permanent Commission, which had not met for several years, will be revived, as part of the de-escalation process they have agreed upon.
The commission will hold a meeting on Tuesday in Luanda over such issues as the normalization of DRC-Rwanda diplomatic relations, an immediate cessation of hostilities and an unconditional withdrawal of the M23 rebels from the DRC, said the statement of the DRC presidency.