Rwanda on Wednesday described as "regrettable" the refusal to approve its ambassador to Belgium, assuring a government spokeswoman that "this does not augur well" for bilateral relations.
Vincent Karega, Rwanda's former ambassador to South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), from where he was expelled last October after months of tension between the two countries, had been chosen by the Kigali authorities to become ambassador to Belgium.
"It is regrettable that the Belgian government seems to have capitulated to pressure from the DRC government and to the propaganda of Holocaust denial organisations and activists", accused Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo. "This does not bode well for our bilateral relations".
Belgium will communicate on this subject "through diplomatic channels", said a spokesman for the Belgian foreign ministry in Brussels, also contacted by AFP.
"This type of issue is settled through official channels", he insisted. "We hope for calm and constructive relations with Rwanda", the spokesman added.
The DRC decided in October to expel Vincent Karega, accusing Kigali of supporting the M23 ("March 23 Movement"), a former Tutsi rebellion that took up arms again at the end of 2021.
Its resurgence has led to renewed tension between the DRC and Rwanda, which Kinshasa has accused since the beginning of the year of actively supporting this rebellion.
From the outset, Kinshasa has accused Rwanda of arming the rebellion and fighting alongside it, a claim corroborated by UN experts, although Kigali denies it.
Belgium was the colonial power in Congo (now the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire) and Ruanda-Urundi until the former gained independence in 1960 and Rwanda and Burundi in 1962.