In this Aug 11, 2022 photo, Rwanda's Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta speaks during a news conference with Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not in photograph) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Kigali, Rwanda. (PHOTO / POOL / AP)
KIGALI – Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Vincent Biruta has accused Democratic Republic of Congo authorities of abandoning last year's agreement signed in the Angolan capital, Luanda, which aimed to address the crisis in the DRC's North Kivu province, where government forces are battling M23 rebels.
While briefing parliament on Thursday in the capital city Kigali on the country's diplomatic relations with its neighbors, Biruta said Rwanda maintains good relations with all its neighboring countries except those with the DRC, which he described as "very poor" due to tensions over the M23 rebel group.
Last November, African leaders at a mini-summit in Luanda agreed on an immediate ceasefire in North Kivu province, the immediate withdrawal of M23 rebels from the occupied areas, and the disarmament and repatriation of foreign armed groups, among others.
You hear the Congolese government saying, and the international community supports them, that the agreement was not respected because the M23 did not withdraw as required.
Vincent Biruta, Rwandan minister of foreign affairs
"You hear the Congolese government saying, and the international community supports them, that the agreement was not respected because the M23 did not withdraw as required," Biruta said.
"They never talk about the rest… the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda rebels) disarmament or other foreign armed groups, the refugee issue, the political talks, yet all these are part of the (Luanda) communique," he said.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi has accused the M23 of "faking" withdrawal from areas it recently captured in the east.
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Biruta said that Rwanda remains ready to participate in all initiatives aimed at finding solutions to the current violence in the eastern DRC.
Relations between the two neighboring countries have soured since fighting resumed between M23 rebels and DRC government troops.
The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels, a charge Rwanda denies.
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Kigali has in turn accused the Congolese army of allying with the FDLR, whose elements are accused of participating in the 1994 genocide against Tutsi.