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DRC: Tshisekedi to discuss tensions with Rwanda with Blinken

DRC: Tshisekedi to discuss tensions with Rwanda with Blinken
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi at the ...   -  
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Eduardo Munoz/AP

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Felix Tshisekedi plans to raise tensions between his country and Rwanda during a visit to Kinshasa on Tuesday by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the Congolese presidency said Monday.

The DRC is experiencing a resurgence of tensions with neighboring Rwanda, which Kinshasa accuses of supporting the rebels of the "March 23 Movement" (M23), a claim that Kigali denies.

After South Africa, the first stage of his tour which began on Sunday, the head of the American diplomacy will visit both countries this week, in the DRC and in Rwanda.

On Tuesday, Mr. Blinken "will be received in the early evening" by President Tshisekedi who "will not fail to discuss issues of strategic partnership between the DRC and the United States," said the Congolese presidency in a statement.

"The latest UN experts' report on the invasion of Rwandan troops transformed into the M23 will not fail to be addressed," it added.

The March 23 Movement (M23) is a former Tutsi-dominated rebellion that was defeated in 2013 and took up arms again late last year, blaming Kinshasa for failing to respect agreements on the demobilization and reintegration of its fighters.

The report by experts mandated by the Security Council details Rwanda's direct involvement, "unilaterally or jointly with M23 fighters" in eastern Congo.

Kigali has denied these "invalid allegations" and argued that it has a "right to defend its territory.

For the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), Secretary of State Blinken should during his visits to Rwanda and the DRC "articulate the inconvenient truths", "publicly condemn the M23 attacks in the strongest terms" and "warn Rwanda of the consequences of its support for M23".

"As in 2012, M23 is committing war crimes against civilians," the NGO said, noting that "witnesses have described summary executions of at least 29 people.

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