The problems in the DRC can be solved without Rwanda’s involvement, President Paul Kagame said Monday.
The Rwandan leader said his country agreed following the latest decision by the East African government not to be deployed to the Conclave Community (EAC) on DR Congo to deploy a regional force to end the armed conflict in the country’s troubled, mineral-rich eastern region.
“That’s fine (not deploying RDF ). We do not ask anyone to participate. Actually, I would be happy if the problems there would be solved without (our) involvement,” said President Kagame in an interview with the national broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency.
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“If someone has a solution, why should I to have a problem…. If the force supports this political process to find a solution, I have no problem,” he said. Rwanda also needs reassurances on its security concerns, including addressing the FDLR’s presence on Congolese territory and stopping attacks and shelling on its territory, the head of state added.
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“DRC has issues to contend with, just like we do as sovereign countries. However, what is unacceptable is to see armed groups from the DRC attack us and kill our people.”
Mr Kagame reiterated Rwanda’s stance on political dialogue to resolve the conflict. In particular, he highlighted the problem of the Kinyarwanda-speaking Banyamulenge and the North Kivu Banyarwanda, who are increasingly challenged for citizenship and belonging.
“They speak Kinyarwanda, but they are Congolese citizens. How they became DRC citizens cannot be blamed on Congo or Rwanda.”
Hate speech and hostilities against Rwandans and Rwandan-speaking Congolese have escalated in recent days after Kinshasa accused Kigali of killing M23 rebels support, who are behind the armed conflict. Kigali denies any role.
Read:Rising hate speech in Congo conflict alarms United Nations
Two weeks ago, regional leaders backed President Uhuru’s call Kenyatta to deploy boots on the ground – the East African Standby Force, EASF. The military chiefs of the EAC agreed on the operational concept for the troop contribution of the member states of the bloc, which was endorsed by the heads of state. The actual deployment date has yet to be determined, although a cable from the Nairobi meeting said details would be released in early July.
Kinshasa agreed to the deployment, but without Rwandan troops.