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Rwanda's President agrees to meet Felix Tshisekedi over eastern Congo crisis

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame walks along Downing Street to a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in London, Thursday, May 4, 2023.   -  
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Vadim Ghirda/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Rwanda's President, Paul Kagame, has confirmed his readiness to engage in talks with Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in order to tackle the ongoing crisis in eastern Congo. This announcement follows mediation efforts led by the Angolan government, with President João Lourenço serving as the African Union's mediator in the DR Congo crisis.

The agreement was reached after a meeting held in Luanda, Angola's capital, between President Kagame and President Lourenço. Angola's Foreign Minister, Tete Antonio, informed the press that President Kagame had agreed to meet President Tshisekedi at a time to be determined by the mediator.

Minister Antonio further revealed that both Rwanda and the DR Congo had consented to the meeting, with ministerial delegations from both countries actively working towards facilitating the dialogue.

Rwanda's presidency released a statement, indicating that both leaders had "agreed on key steps towards addressing the root causes of the conflict," signaling a potential breakthrough in resolving the crisis.

This development comes in the wake of escalating tensions in eastern DR Congo, where clashes between M23 rebels and Congolese forces have resulted in the displacement of over 100,000 people, according to reports from the United Nations.

However, prior to this agreement, President Tshisekedi had demanded the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from Congolese territory as a precondition for the meeting, a condition that Rwanda vehemently denies.

President Kagame's willingness to engage in dialogue underscores the importance of regional cooperation in addressing the complex challenges facing the Great Lakes region. 

Accusations of Rwandan support for M23 rebels have further complicated the situation, with Kigali vehemently denying any involvement in the conflict. The upcoming meeting presents an opportunity for both countries to address these allegations and explore avenues for constructive collaboration in resolving the crisis.

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