Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Vincent Biruta, on Thursday, January 26, said the Congolese government has ignored the agreement signed in Luanda, Angola, in November 2022.
Biruta made the observation as he briefed lawmakers about Rwanda’s relations with neighbouring countries.
“It is as if the Luanda communique is only about one thing, the M23 rebels. That’s a problem,” he said, noting that the Congolese government had not even started to implement part of what President Felix Tshisekedi committed to, including disarming the FDLR genocidal militia from Rwanda.
The Luanda agreement called for the disarmament and repatriation of the genocidal militia, repatriation of Congolese refugees – over 75,000 of whom live in Rwandan camps – and a ceasefire between the Congolese army, FARDC, and M23 rebels, among others.
Biruta said that only the M23 has started implementing the agreement.
In December 2022, the rebels began withdrawing from their positions in Kibumba. In January 2023, they pulled out of Rumangabo military camp.
“But there were other decisions made in Luanda as well, including about the FDLR [from Rwanda] that had to be disarmed and repatriated,” Biruta said.
“There is the issue of Congolese refugees, about 75,000 who are here in Rwanda, others are in Uganda and Kenya. Their problem was to be resolved and they would go back home. Today, when you hear what the Congolese government says, and the international community supports them, they say the agreement was not respected because the M23 did not withdraw as planned.”
“They never say anything about the rest; the FDLR or other foreign armed groups, the refugee question, the political talks. Yet, all these are part of the communique. But with that communique, one thing that has started being implemented – not fully; it’s only started – is the M23 withdrawal from some of its positions and they [vacated rebel positions] are now occupied by the East African Community regional force,” Biruta said.
On the remaining issues of the other armed groups, including FDLR, the refugee question, he said, “there’s not a single communique saying that there is a plan to go and visit the Congolese refugees who are in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, organise a census, know who they are in the process of taking them back home,” Biruta said.
The Minister noted that there was no communication from the Congolese government, nothing from the UN mission in DR Congo, MONUSCO, and “not even a communique about the FDLR disarmament.”