M23 clash: DRC now suspends bilateral trade agreements with Rwanda
Thursday June 16 2022
The Democratic Republic of Congo is suspending all agreements with Rwanda, which it accuses of supporting the M23 rebels, even though Kigali denies the charge.
After a meeting which ended late in the night on Wednesday, June 15, Patrick Muyaya, the government spokesman, announced several resolutions by President Félix Tshisekedi and the High Council of Defence.
He outlined the new position of the DRC, saying, “The High Council of Defence asks the Congolese government to suspend all agreements concluded with Rwanda.”
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The agreements include a commercial deal signed in June 2021 between President Tshisekedi and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame on exploiting gold to ensure its traceability in DR Congo.
The pact provided for a Congolese company, Société aurifère du Kivu et du Maniema (Sakima SA), and a Rwandan firm, Dither Ltd, to mine and refine gold in the DRC “in order to deprive the armed groups of the revenue from this sector.”
The aim was to control the value chain from extraction by Sakima and refining by Dither in Rwanda.
The two neighbouring countries also had an agreement on the prevention of tax evasion and double taxation and another on the promotion and protection of investments.
Read: Tshisekedi meets with Rwandan delegation on bilateral cooperation
The decision by the Congolese authorities comes in addition to the ban on Rwandan national carrier RwandAir from landing on Congolese soil.
Read: Region seeks end to Rwanda-DRC tensions
Also read: New Rwanda-DRC clash strains EAC relations