USA - DR Congo - Rwanda : US Government Asks Felix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame to De-escalate Security Crisis, in the Mid of Uncertain Upcoming Elections

Felix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame in Gisenyi June 25, 2021

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  During a recent trip to Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Kigali, Rwanda, on November 19 and 20, 2023, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) of the United States, Avril Haines has asked Presidents Felix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame to defuse the diplomatic crisis between the two countries. The  reasons for the trip were communicated in a statement by the White House, in the "Readout of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’s Travel to Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda", published on November 21, 2023 (See here: Readout of Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines’s Travel to Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda)..

 On her visit to the two countries,  Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines  was joined by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee, and Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for African Affairs, Judd Devermont.

According to AfroAmerica Network sources in Kinshasa, Avril Haines and her delegation had a meeting with President Felix Tshisekedi that lasted more than three hours, focusing on the security crisis in the Eastern DRC and the urgency to find durable solutions for the crisis between Kinshasa and Kigali. The latest  security crisis is due to the invasion of Eastern DRC by Rwandan Defense Forces, under the cover of the M23 rebels. 

In the statement published following the trip, there is a reference on the fact that Felix Tshisekedi and Paul Kagame promised to take specific measures, in accordance  with  many previous agreements reached through the processes of  of  Luanda, Angola and Nairobi, Kenya. The US government has also highlighted its commitment to "monitor, these DRC and Rwandan steps towards de-escalation  and plans to support diplomatic and intelligence engagements between both countries to foster greater security and prosperity for the Congolese and Rwandan peoples.",  with a view to promoting greater security and greater prosperity for the Congolese and Rwandan people.

However, according to AfroAmerica Network sources in Kigali and Kinshasa, during the meetings, the two presidents focused on trying to convince the US delegation, that the other party is responsible for the crisis.

Felix Tshisekedi, showing some tangible proofs, argued that Rwandan government invaded the DRC under the cover of M23 rebels and has been committing war crimes and systematic massacres of Congolese civilians and looting Congolese mineral resources. AfroAmerica Network sources in Rwanda informed that Paul Kagame, on his part, said that the DRC government is accountable of the crisis, because of its alleged support of Rwandan rebels based in Eastern RDC.


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 US Government Involvement and  Felix Tshisekedi's and  Paul Kagame's Arguments.

To discredit the argument that Paul Kagame  has been putting forward to support the invasion, the DRC military command of the DRC  army, FARDC, in a press release, stated that "any Congolese soldier is strictly prohibited from establishing or maintaining any contact for any reason whatsoever with the FDLR Rwandan rebels," adding that this "decision was a strict and unfailing ban, any offender will be severely punished in accordance with the law."

The press release by the FARDC command has fueled the allegations that the Congolese army is  getting ready for a war  against the Rwandan troops, and pushing the battles across the border with Rwanda, immediately following the planned 2023 elections, scheduled for December 20, 2023.

At the same time, the Rwandan government has reinforced its drive to getting ready for even more operations of invading the Eastern DRC, including North-Kivu and South-Kivu provinces, pushing further towards the Balkanization plan of the DRC. Rwandan leaders have been meeting leaders of countries around the world, including Cuba and  Asian and Middle East countries, to get military support and supplies. 
In fact, during the meeting  of the US Government delegation with Paul Kagame, there was an elephant in the room. In fact,  there was a concern that the US delegation may refer to an incident that happened in August 2023. In  August 2023 Paul Kagame hosted a meeting and held discussions with journalists, mostly from the US, visiting as guests of the Rwanda government. During the interviews with the press,  Paul Kagame was asked  questions regarding human rights and democracy in Rwanda,  the invasion of DRC by Rwandan troops under the cover of M23 rebels, and the latest US sanctions against a Rwandan general, Patrick Nyamvumba, for war crimes in the DRC (see here: USA - Africa - Democracy: Rwanda's Paul Kagame Mocking and Challenging the US, Following Sanctions for War Crimes in DR Congo).
According to AfroAmerica Network sources, the US delegation did not refer to these provocative statements by Paul Kagame. Instead they appeared to warn Paul Kagame that he may pay a heavy price, for his invasion and abuses of human rights in the region,  if he does not heed the warnings. 

However, after the meeting Paul Kagame seemed to continue mocking the US leaders and their policy and actions towards Rwanda and the region. According to the sources, after the meting with the US delegation, he told his close advisers once again  that the US approach  “feels and sounds just like a joke.”  and  that the US are only interested in the strategic minerals, including Cobalt and Coltan, abounding in the DR Congo,  and in keeping China out of the  DR Congo.

Uncertain Elections and  MONUSCO departure: What is Next?

Meanwhile, there are increasing odds that the planned elections in the DRC may not happen, and that the opposition may appoint a leader to replace Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo and with the priority to lead a war against Rwandan military.

Some opposition leaders have  been  stating that  the planned  elections may  not happen because of the incompetence of and the lack of professional and technical resources by the Electoral Institution (CENI) and the on-going crisis on Eastern DRC.

Even President Felix Tshisekedi recently admitted that some provinces, including North-Kivu, Ituri and parts of Maniema, Sud-Kivu, and Tshopo, may not hold elections, due to the insecurity from the invasion of the Rwandan troops under the cover of M23 rebels.

Another major development happened on Tuesday November 21, 2023.  After nearly two decades in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the United Nations stabilisation mission in Congo (MONUSCO) signed a agreement  with DRC government to withdraw its 15,000 peacekeepers.

The agreement was signed by  Congolese foreign minister Christophe Lutundula and MONUSCO's head Bintou Keita.. 

Speaking on national television, Christophe Lutundula said the deal marked the end of a collaboration "which has proved its limits in a context of permanent war, without the longed for peace being restored to eastern Congo."

The major questions now are:

  • what is next?
  • will the elections happen?
  • who will be the next DRC president?
  • will the FARDC fight off the Rwandan invasion all way to Rwanda?
  • will MONUSCO be replaced by SADC troops?

AfroAmerica Network is still following the dynamics in Kigali, Rwanda and Kinshasa, DRC and getting more information from several sources close to Dennis Mukwege and the leaders of  DRC. 


@AfroAmerica Network 2023




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