The Government of the United States of America, the House of Representatives, and the Senate have been discussing the deteriorating security and human rights situation in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and in Rwanda. At the same time, as the security situation in the DRC worsens and the human rights abuses in Rwanda have increased, United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is reported to be planning a trip to Kigali, Rwanda and Kinshasa, DRC in August 2022 to address the matter, while the US Government and the US Senate are mulling over economic sanctions targeting Rwandan leaders.
The discussions between the US State Department and Senate include the request by the Foreign Affairs Commission in the US Senate in early July 2022, to impose sanctions on the Rwandan government and leaders for their involvement in creating insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and for kidnapping and disappearances and detaining of political opposition leaders and government critics.
The discussions were also reinforced by the executive order signed on July 19, 2022 by President Joe Biden that codifies a 2020 law dealing with Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad, known as "The Executive Order on Bolstering Efforts to Bring Hostages and Wrongfully Detained United States Nationals Home."
Proposed Sanctions Against Rwandan Leaders for undermining the security of the DRC.
Among the points on the agenda are the request of the President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the USA Senate, Robert Menendez to the Office of United States Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to hold talks with the Senate of to review the aid allocated to the Rwandan Government.
In the request, Senator Robert Menendez suggested to cut the aid to the Rwandan government, given that the Rwandan political and military leaders have been undermining the security of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by creating, funding and militarily supporting the M23 group that is currently fighting the Congolese Army, FARDC.
Hence, Senator Robert Menendez's request proposes that the USA Government stops the aid allocated to Rwanda, since the aid would be used in supporting M23 group.
As a step in that direction, it has been reported that in recent weeks, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, held talks with the envoys of DRC president, Felix Tshisekedi, regarding the M23 group and the involvement of the Rwandan government in the deterioration of the security in the DRC.
During a press briefing on July 25, 2022 Edward Ned Price, the spokesman for the United States Department of State, told the journalists that Rwanda is at the root of the security concerns in the region and that the dialogue process between the DRC and the Rwandan Governments should be encouraged. He said: "We've said before that we're concerned about the rising tensions between the DRC and Rwanda,"
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Edward Ned Price, is well known to have criticized the Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame, for running for a forced 3rd term, "ignoring historic opportunity for his country".
Ned Price, who is the Spokesman of the Secretary General of the United States of America, Antony Blinken, on Wednesday, July 25, told the media that the Office of Foreign Affairs in this country is going to hold talks with the Assembly on this request. that Commission of the Senate.
The planned trip of the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken to Kigali, Rwanda and to Kinshasa, DRC may focus on these tensions between the two governments.
Killing Sanctions Against Aid Dependent Rwandan Government.
However, other sources close to the two government told AfroAmerica Network that the trip to Rwanda is uncertain given that the US has not appointed an ambassador to Kigali since February 2022 and has only a Chargé d'Affaires.
In fact, many wonder how the trip of US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken to Kigali, Rwanda can happen, given the current dynamics in the region and the discussions targeting the Rwandan government in the US Senate and the potential unprecedented and consequential sanctions.
According to the World Bank and IMF Reports, Rwanda is one of the top three most aid-dependent countries in the world, and the topmost aid-dependent state in the East African Community (EAC).
The foreign aid covers around 20-25% of the Rwandan Government budget, every year.
The United States of America is the largest bilateral donor of Rwanda, which highly depends on foreign aid. Most of the financial aid is through USAID.
The US allocated more than $147 million in foreign assistance to Rwanda in 2021, for its budget, on top of additional aid to fight Covid-19.
In 2016, the United States donated $268 million to Rwanda, including $56 million to fight against AIDS, $23 million for primary care, $41 million as emergency aid, $38 million for conflict prevention, peace and security, and $34 million for basic education.
AfroAmerica Network will be closely following the situation.
@AfroAmerica Network 2022