Despite the tripartite meeting in Luanda, Angola, this week where a six-point roadmap towards the restoration of trust between Rwanda and Congo was drawn, Congolese leaders have continued to make incendiary statements against Rwanda.
Among the six-point roadmap was the creation of joint mechanisms for both countries to progressively discuss issues related to security and lead toward restoring trust. However, Congolese, led by their Foreign Minister, are determined to undermine the roadmap before its implementation starts.
Barely a day after the Luanda Tripartite meeting, Congolese Foreign Minister Christopher Lutundula appeared on national TV, alongside the government spokesperson, Christopher Muyaya, where they made reckless and irresponsible utterances aimed at blowing out of context what was agreed upon.
Contrary to what was agreed at the Tripartite concerning the issue of FDLR, Lutundula made outrageous insinuations that Rwanda had “finally agreed to allow FDLR to return.” As the chief Congolese diplomat, Lutundula knows that Rwanda has always been open to the repatriation and reintegration of FDLR fighters and their families. What has always lack been found wanting is the goodwill role of the Congolese government, who instead integrated them into their army.
The Luanda roadmap agreement was categorical about addressing the issue of FDLR and its splinter groups as well as the commitment to address the issue of hate speech against Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese as a step in the right direction. The other important point in the agreement also was the commitment by Congo to provide the right conditions for the return of refugees.
While Lutundula’s statements made it look like Congo had expected Rwanda to make any commitment to the Congolese rebels of M23, the tripartite agreement recorded the issue as an internal Congolese matter that needed to be addressed politically, and that Rwanda had no interest in supporting M23 or destabilizing the region.