Tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have escalated with counter-accusations of supporting armed rebel groups.
On Wednesday, Rwanda issued a statement dismissing, again, allegations that it is supporting UN-sanctioned M23 rebels in the eastern DRC.
“Accusing Rwanda of support to the Congolese armed group M23 is wrong and distracts from the real cause of continued conflict in eastern DRC, and its impact on the security of neighbouring states, including Rwanda,” the statement read.
It added that blaming Rwanda undermines ongoing efforts by regional leaders to find lasting peace, particularly through the Nairobi and Luanda initiatives, to which Rwanda is fully committed.
“It is a mistake to conflate the measures that Rwanda has put in place to guard its borders with support for any particular armed group in DRC.”
But the ongoing crisis in eastern DRC is complicating Rwanda’s relationship with its western allies, while the UN is said to be pondering sanctions against Rwanda over its alleged support for the M23 rebels.
On Tuesday, it was France that presented Resolution 2667, which was voted for unanimously, and which adjusted the arms embargo on DRC, removing the need for the FARDC (DRC forces) to first ask for permission from the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council. However, Resolution 2667 retained the embargo on non-state actors including armed groups.
France presented the resolution just a day after condemning Rwanda's support for the M23 rebels.
Despite increasing international pressure, Rwanda says it is a scapegoat, and its security concerns have been ignored.
It has long expressed concerns that the West is not giving attention to the FDLR rebels in eastern DRC, who have waged war on Rwanda and have among their ranks individuals that participated in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
“There has been no accountability for the failure of the DRC government to deal with the over 130 armed groups on its territory, the serious abuses against civilians committed by the Congolese armed forces and its auxiliary armed groups, including the genocidal remnant militia FDLR, which has been preserved for decades in the DRC.”