President Paul Kagame has said that he wants to see the recent discussions with his counterpart of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the mediation of the President of Angola, João Lourenço leading to a durable solution and disclosed that he does not ‘carelessly anticipate war’.
The Head of State made the disclosure during an interview with a journalist of FRANCE 24, Marc Perelman held after the tripartite summit in Angola to seek a durable solution for the tension between Rwanda and DRC.
Kagame revealed that he wishes and hopes the recent discussions to be fruitful.
“I don’t think anyone is interested in tensions or conflicts or whatever crisis. So, it is on that backdrop that I am happy, that we even agreed to meet in Angola under the mediation of President Lorenzo, and indeed we had good discussions. I think both sides, at least, what I assessed to be, were looking forward to making progress,” he said.
“I hope so, that is what I think, that is what I want. Talking may not be good enough but it is what you need to start with. So, the fact that we talk, I think is good. And we can build on that for tangible results and I think this one in Angola is another step forward,” Kagame added.
Following the Luanda summit in Angola, Congolese Army (FARDC) continues to fight M23 rebel group which has captured many areas.
DRC government has not stopped accusing Rwanda of supporting M23 claiming that it is the reason why the rebel group did not lay arms down.
President has said that there are different parties in a fighting where they are all concerned with the ceasefire.
“In fighting, there are different parties involved. It is not one party. Talking about cease fire, refers to parties fighting. It is not M23. It’s M23 and those fighting against them,” he said.
President Tshisekedi recently warned of a war with Rwanda if ‘it continues provocations’.
President Kagame has said that Tshisekedi didn’t inform him about the possible reaction face to face.
“He didn’t tell me but I saw it in the Financial Times. But I am just saying, for me, I don’t so easily and carelessly anticipate war or even look forward to it. So, let’s put that aside.The reason we were in Angola is to make sure that any misunderstanding, any conflict, tension is resolved amicably not through fighting,” he revealed.
The Head of State also revealed that he is always surprised that people rush to accuse Rwanda of involvement in DRC conflicts. He was responding to the journalist who asked him about recent report by US embassy in Congo that Rwandan soldiers are in DRC.
“Rwanda is accused by the US or anybody but they are silent deliberately, I guess, on issues of FDLR that have been there for the last 25 years. You would imagine when you hear people say those things you have just mentioned. It is as if Rwanda is just a trouble maker that went into Congo, started a war. […]
They are even silent about the bombings of our territory by Congolese Army, they are silent about infiltration in November 2019 of this FDLR who entered into the Northern part of our country and caused mayhem. If we are talking about provocations, how do you decide to shell across the border into the population ?” he wondered.
M23 is not a Rwandan problem
Kagame has said that Rwanda doesn’t support M23 highlighting that the rebel group doesn’t have roots in Rwanda.
“It is a long story. First of all, M23 is not a Rwandan problem and these are not Rwandans. And we don’t need them for anything. Second, the history of these M23 people is well known, has been discussed with President Tshisekedi himself, the government of Congo and so on. These are not people who came from Rwanda. How Congo makes that problem of M23, a problem of Rwanda is something I cannot understand,” he stated.
The President said that problems of DRC are complex and involves many parties where singling out one and attach it to Rwanda is disregarding the truth.
He pointed out an example of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel outfit comprising masterminds of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the shelling by FARDC on Rwandan territory and the support of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
“This problem was there in 2013 or 2012. Now it is back ten years after. What do you think went wrong ? I would ask anyone to tell me why these problems, which are actually in my view, can be addressed very easily,” Kagame stated.
“Why does it go on for ten years, and it comes back ? In fact, some parts of it, have been there for the last 25 years and the international community, everybody have spent so much money talking about solving these problems based in the Congo. And yet, we have it again in 2022. Do you really see that Rwanda is the problem in that ? Can’t anybody see that the problems lie elsewhere ?’ he wondered.