Leaders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are due in the Angolan capital Luanda on Thursday for a crucial summit to ease tensions between the two countries.
A statement publicised by the Angolan news agency Angop, said the talks initially scheduled for Monday had been pushed to Thursday at the convenience of the leaders to be hosted by President João Lourenço in his capacity as African Union mediator in the conflict.
The meeting’s agenda is to search for ways to overcome the crisis between Rwanda and the DRC, generated by the resurgence of the M23 armed rebellion in eastern Congo, the official statement said on Monday.
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President Lourenço is also the chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which developed the Luanda Roadmap that calls for both countries to respect each other’s territorial integrity and stop supporting rebels.
Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, DR Congo’s Félix Tshisekedi and Burundi’s Évariste Ndayishimiye, the current chairman of the East African Community (EAC), will be hosted by President Lourenço.
Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the EAC facilitator of the Nairobi peace process for DRC that is urging dialogue with armed groups, will also be in attendance.
The meeting will be the first time since the EAC agreed, two weeks ago, to link up its Nairobi Process with the Luanda Roadmap after leaders said the two issues were related.
Last week, the UN said there was a heavy humanitarian risk as people in DRC’s Rutshuru and Nyiragongo territories in North Kivu were being displaced as fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 continues.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), in just two days, some 13,000 displaced people were registered in the north of the provincial capital Goma.
In total, since the violence broke out in March this year, more than 260,000 people have been displaced.
Some 128,000 of them have settled in Nyiragongo, where nearly 90 percent of them live in some 60 collective centres and improvised sites, the UN added.
Rwanda and DRC leaders met in July in Angola, where they agreed to resume diplomatic channels for discussing their tensions. However, Kinshasa has since re-accused Rwanda of arming M23 rebels, claims Kigali denies, and counter accuses DRC of arming FDLR rebels targeting Rwanda.