US diplomat: Angola pushes for Rwanda-DRC dialogue

Angola is spearheading efforts to reconcile the leaders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following escalated tensions stemming from an attack on a displaced people’s camp, a senior US official revealed on Wednesday.

Molly Phee, the top US diplomat for Africa, disclosed during a congressional hearing that Angolan President Joao Lourenco is actively engaged in bringing together the two leaders to address the situation according to an outlined roadmap, jointly crafted by regional leaders and the US.

Angola, increasingly a key partner of the United States, has taken the lead in diplomatic endeavours aimed at resolving years of instability in the DRC.

The United States has expressed its firm commitment to mitigate the ongoing tragedy in the eastern DRC, where a recent attack on a displaced people’s camp on May 3 claimed the lives of 35 individuals, as reported by DRC officials.

While in March, Angola had announced a potential meeting between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, relations have since soured following the camp attack.

The United States has alleged the involvement of Rwandan armed forces in the attack, collaborating with predominantly Tutsi M23 rebels operating in the eastern region of the DRC, and has urged Kigali to hold those responsible accountable.

In response, Rwanda has rebuffed the US accusation as “ridiculous,” countered by demanding that the DRC take action against Hutu militants with ties to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which predominantly targeted Tutsis.

In response to queries from lawmakers, Phee affirmed that the United States is exerting pressure on both sides.

Washington is advocating for the DRC to address the threat posed by genocidaires to Rwanda while also urging Rwanda to cease its military involvement in eastern DRC and its support for the M23 group, implicated in committing atrocities in the region.

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