Rwanda will not send another ambassador to Brussels other than Mr. Karega, according to Kagame

Rwanda will not send any other ambassador to Brussels than Vincent Karega, whose approval Belgium refused last year without giving “clear explanation”, affirmed Rwandan President Paul Kagame, in an interview published Monday, seeing in this decision the hand of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On the side of Belgian Foreign Affairs, it is explained that “Belgium has already dealt with the issue through diplomatic channels and that there is no need to return to the matter and that Brussels intends to maintain good relations with Rwanda.

“When it came to changing ambassadors in Brussels, we decided to send Vincent Karega there. Especially since he is very aware of the situation, since he has already been Minister of Foreign Affairs, and he knows Europe and Brussels well”Mr. Kagame told the French weekly Jeune Afrique.

Rwanda: Diplomatic tensions in sight between Brussels and Kigali

“After a certain time, Brussels told us that it did not wish to accredit it, and that we had to send another ambassador. When we asked for explanations, we were told stories about what happened when Vincent Karega was ambassador to South Africa. To which we responded that, since this had not affected him during his mission in the DRC, it should not have an impact on his appointment in Belgium. We asked (the Belgians) to explain to us what it was in reality, but their response was in no way satisfactory. added the Rwandan head of state.

According to him, “there is no clear explanation” to Mr. Karega's refusal of approval.

“Maybe, if you ask them, (the Belgians) will tell you what they haven't told us. There is a history. Karega was ambassador to South Africa, then to the DRC. It was the DRC that expelled him from Kinshasa when the conflict began, due to the deterioration of our relations (due to Rwanda's alleged support for the predominantly Tutsi rebellion of the March 23 Movement, the M23) . We respected this decision,” continued Mr. Kagame.

When asked about the origin of the problem – “Kinshasa”Jeune Afrique asks him – he answers ” Yes of course “.

“As if the DRC did not complain about everything that concerns us. We told the Belgian authorities, very seriously, that they were doing this because the DRC had asked them to do so, the rest being just pretexts. The DRC can dictate its conduct to Belgium because Belgium accepts it, but not dictate ours to us,” said the Rwandan president again.

“We therefore take this situation philosophically, and we will not propose any other ambassador than him”he concluded.

Mr. Karega had been Rwanda's ambassador to South Africa where in 2014 he had to face repeated accusations from Pretoria, which claimed that Rwandan diplomats were involved in attacks against Rwandan opponents who had taken refuge in the country.

Then appointed to the DRC, he was expelled in October 2022, against a backdrop of tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali and due in particular, according to the Congolese government, “of his country’s persistence in attacking the DRC” – a reference to Rwanda's alleged support for the M23 rebellion, which resurfaced in November 2021 and which now occupies swaths of the eastern province of North Kivu and encircles the provincial capital, Goma.

Belgian position

Contacted, Belgian Foreign Affairs explains that “Belgium has already dealt with the issue through diplomatic channels and there is no need to return to the matter and that Brussels intends to maintain good relations with Rwanda”.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs is due to travel to Rwanda, with her Defense colleague, Ludivine Dedonder, from April 5 to 8 as part of the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi. If it is certain that the two ministers will visit the Kigali camp together where the ten Belgian paratroopers were assassinated, the rest of the program must still be confirmed. We therefore do not yet know if the Belgian authorities will meet President Kagame during this stay which will extend from April 8 to 10 with a visit to Kinshasa. The Belgian Foreign Minister is expected to hold high-level political meetings there, during which she will discuss, among other things, the situation in eastern Congo. Minister Lahbib will also visit businesses. The Métis issue will also be on the program.

What do you think of this article?

Be the first person to review this item.