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DR Congo and Rwanda agree to ‘de-escalate’ tensions

LUANDA (AFP) – The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda have agreed to a “de-escalation process” following weeks of rising tensions over rebel fighting in eastern DRC, the Congolese presidency said on Wednesday after mediated talks.

But the talks mediator, Angolan President Joao Lourenco, went further announcing a “ceasefire” – although giving no details.

Violence has flared between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels and is ongoing.

The DRC has repeatedly accused Rwanda of backing the M23, a charge the small central African country always denied.

“I am pleased to announce that we have had positive results, in our view, in that we have agreed on a ceasefire, among other measures,” Lourenco said in remarks at the end of the mini-summit attended by Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi in the Angolan capital Luanda.

A six-goal “roadmap” seen by AFP was established towards normalising diplomatic ties, including through ending hostilities involving the M23 and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), another rebel group active in eastern DRC.

“Defeat FDLR and its splinter groups which are at the origin of tensions between Rwanda and DRC and play a major role in the insecurity of the DRC in order to ensure that the threat to security ceases completely,” it said.

The leaders are also aiming in the short-term to “create the conditions” for the return to DRC of former M23 fighters living in Rwanda.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame (L), Angola President Joao Lourenco (C) and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi pose for a photograph in Luanda. PHOTO: AFP