Rwanda agreed to third-party supervision of surveillance of its border with Democratic Republic of Congo after accusations it is supporting a rebellion that has displaced more than 220,000 Congolese.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said the country agreed to “a range of measures aimed at de-escalating the crisis” at a meeting of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region yesterday. The measures include renewed action against a Rwandan Hutu rebel group in Congo’s east, she said. It isn’t known yet who the third-party supervisor will be.
“There is a clear need to rebuild trust amidst the swirling allegations over the past several weeks,” Mushikiwabo said in a statement published on the ministry website today.
Since the beginning of the month, a Congolese rebel group known as M23 has increased its control of Rutshuru territory in Congo’s North Kivu province, causing the army to withdraw from strategic towns near the border with Rwanda and Uganda.
Congo and the United Nations Group of Experts have accused Rwanda of supporting the rebellion, which is led mainly by ethnic-Tutsi soldiers who deserted the army beginning in April. Rwanda denies the charge.
Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Congolese President Joseph Kabila and Rwandan President Paul Kagame to discuss the crisis, according to an emailed statement from his office. Ban “expressed grave concern over reports that the M23 mutineers fighting government forces in North Kivu are receiving external support,” it said.
Kagame and Kabila are due to attend the African Union summit July 15-16 in Addis Ababa.
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