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Tshisekedi calls upon France to sanction Rwanda over M23 violence

Democratic Republic of Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi (L) delivers a speech as France's President Emmanuel Macron listens to him   -  
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JACQUES WITT/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic Of Congo

A clash between the visiting French president Emmanuel Macron and his DR Congo counterpart Felix Tshisekedi played out on Saturday when the two heads of state were having a joint press conference in Kinshasa.

The former French Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in 2019 had termed the election of President Tshisekedi as controversial and as an African-style compromised poll.

Tshisekedi nevertheless called for an equal partnership between the two states as he also called upon France to sanction its neighbouring Rwanda over the ongoing violent crisis on its eastern region of Goma.

"I remain doubtful of the good faith of those who attacked us. There was no reason, I recall, that justified this aggression. Except for economic reasons specific to Rwanda, the instigator of this aggression. Now, the question is to know: "Can Rwanda do without this systematic plundering of the DRC, which dates back some twenty years now? And if this is not the case, it is there that I will verify the words and commitments of President Macron, in relation to the sanctions to be taken against Rwanda," said Félix Tshisekedi, Congolese President.

Macron on the other hand called upon the DR Congo’s government to take responsibility over the violence that has cascaded through the region for years.

"Since 1994, and it is not France's fault, I'm sorry to say it in such blunt terms, you have not been able to restore the sovereignty, neither military, nor security, nor administrative, of your country. This is also a reality. We must not look for culprits outside this affair," said Emmanuel Macron, French President.

The DRC government has accused Rwanda of backing the militia group M23, which re-emerged from dormancy in late 2021, subsequently occupying swathes of territory in North Kivu.

Independent UN experts, the United States and other western countries -- including France -- agree with Kinshasa's assessment, but Rwanda denies the charge.

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