President William Ruto of Kenya has commended President Paul Kagame and Rwanda for the ‘invaluable’ understanding and contribution in resolving the security crisis in eastern DR Congo.
He said this while addressing the media in a joint press conference, as part of his two-day state visit to Rwanda, on April 4.
As part of his agenda, Ruto and his counterpart presided over the signing of nine agreements between Kenya and Rwanda in areas of correctional services, diplomatic training, ICT, health, youth, cooperative development, education, agriculture, and gender.
Speaking on matters of security issues in eastern DR Congo, Ruto appreciated the understanding and contribution of Rwanda in the EAC framework to move forward, noting that in the last three months have seen positive developments around the challenges in the region.
“I commend President Kagame and Rwanda’s understanding of the issues in the eastern DR Congo and their contribution to EAC as we manage the situation in leadership and making sure the people of DRC who have had challenges for many years can, one more time, have peace and concentrate on building their nation,” Ruto said.
It is the same situation in Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan that, according to him, “we need the invaluable contribution and support of Rwanda in helping us sort out our neighbourhood.”
“We are working together to see that we stabilize the region so that the DR Congo can have peaceful elections,” he added.
President Kagame commended Kenya’s leadership in helping to resolve the crisis in eastern DR Congo with other members of the regional bloc, emphasising that putting resources together means owning their development with less dependence on the rest of the world.
“In the last few weeks, we saw some progress, much as there are still other issues to resolve. We just need to do more and register more progress towards the solution.”
Kagame asked the ‘outside world’ to support what African leaders are doing instead of getting into the mix themselves with what they think should be the solution.
“It’s better to support the proposed solutions by African leaders.”
Four EAC countries, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan have sent forces to eastern DR Congo under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) to help stabilise the region.
First deployed in November 2022, the regional force has so far taken control of most areas earlier captured by the M23 rebels. The rebels have been withdrawing to give peace talks a chance.
The M23 began its withdrawal with Kibumba town, in December 2022, in compliance with the Luanda agreement penned by regional leaders earlier in November.
The rebels also withdrew from Rumangabo military base in January.
Burundian troops took over control of areas such as Karuba, Mushaki, Kirolirwe and part of Kitchanga that were also vacated by the rebels.
Kenyan troops now occupy areas such as Kibumba and the Rumangabo military base which the rebels gave up in December 2022 and January 2023, respectively.
Despite its gains in persuading the M23 to withdraw, the regional force faces pressure from Congolese politicians and civil society who want it to launch an offensive against the M23 rebels. Regional countries, however, insist that a political solution through talks be given priority instead of fighting.
SOURCE: THE NEW TIMES RWANDA