Le Président congolais Félix Tshisekedi

DRC calls for sanctions against Rwanda

Congolese authorities have intensified their calls for tougher measures against Rwanda, accused of supporting the M23 rebel group which operates in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The United States, the European Union and France have all recognized and denounced Rwanda’s support for the M23 rebel group. Despite these denunciations, Congolese authorities believe that more drastic measures are necessary to put an end to Rwanda’s alleged support for the M23.

The Congolese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sharply criticized a recently signed memorandum of understanding between Rwanda and the European Union, which aims to promote sustainable value chains for strategic minerals such as coltan. According to Congolese authorities, this agreement could encourage the plundering of Congolese resources by Rwanda, thus undermining EU efforts to resolve the crisis in eastern DRC.

Christophe Lutundula, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and La Francophonie of the DRC, stressed that Rwanda is not a producer of strategic minerals, but obtains these raw materials in the DRC through mafia networks. The Congolese authorities are therefore requesting clarification from the European Union on this agreement, affirming that it will only accentuate the illicit exploitation of Congolese natural resources.

As a reminder, despite the accusations, Rwanda has always denied its support for the M23 rebels who are very active in the eastern part of the DRC. President Kagame has also distanced himself from the clashes shaking the east of the DRC. “The problem was not created by Rwanda and is not Rwanda’s problem. This is the problem of the Congo,” he said on the sidelines of the United States-Africa leaders’ summit in Washington in December 2022. “I cannot be held responsible for Congolese of Rwandan origin who are denied their rights”he declared, thus refuting any link with the M23.