- East Africa
Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Saturday, February 17, made a plea for the resumption of the Nairobi Process led by former President Uhuru Kenyatta which seeks to bring peace and stability to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This followed a tense African Union (AU) meeting where Kagame remarked that his nation would not hesitate to protect nor would it apologize for safeguarding the security of its people.
In the meeting, Kagame further told Heads of State that Rwanda would not seek permission to do so.
In an AU document seen by Kenyans.co.ke, Kagame’s remarks during the meeting had been redacted from the communique.
“Rwanda is deeply concerned by the abandonment of the Luanda and Nairobi Processes by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and by the international community's indifference to DRC's dramatic military build-up,” Rwandan foreign ministry released a statement moments after the AU Summit.
While Rwanda remarks that the President Uhuru Kenyatta-led peace initiative had been abandoned, AU in its communique spoke of the contrary.
AU had remarked that it was deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Eastern DRC which it stated was orchestrated by Rwanda-backed M23 rebels.
“The AU reiterates its call for M23, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other armed groups to unconditionally cease hostilities, disarm and engage in dialogue through the Luanda and Nairobi processes,” AU threw its weight behind Uhuru’s efforts.
In their defence, Rwanda now claims that DRC is conducting combat operations in contravention of the decisions of regional mechanisms and aims to expel M23 and civilians to neighbouring countries.
“The recent M23 advances are due to the DRC's decision to expel the East African Community Regional Force in December 2023, which oversaw ceasefire and withdrawal efforts,” Kagame defended his stance.
Among forces that have been withdrawn from DRC include members of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF).
Kagame further alleged that there was a plan by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi to invade Rwanda and institute a regime change.
Additionally, Rwanda faulted a statement by the United States which blamed Kagame’s administration for the deteriorating situation in DRC.
“The statement issued by the U.S. Department of State stands in puzzling contradiction with the substance and tone of the confidence-building process initiated by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence in November 2023, which created a productive framework for de-escalation,” Kagame’s administration stated. By Kioko Nyamasyo, Kenyans.co.ke