Paul Kagame joins call for DR Congo rebels to cease fire: Uhuru Kenyatta
Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday said Rwandan leader Paul Kagame had agreed to influence ceasefire by M23 rebels, currently fighting Congolese forces.
The announcement came in a communique after Kenyatta, who is the East African Community facilitator of the Nairobi peace process for Democratic Republic Congo, spoke with regional leaders.
Rwanda did not immediately comment on the communique but the revelations may signal the influence Rwanda has on the rebel group, even though the Kagame administration denies supporting them.
Kenyatta had this week visited Kinshasa and Goma where he held consultation meetings on the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He also visited the internally displaced persons’ camps in Goma and Rutshuru, North Kivu.
He also had phone calls with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, President Kagame, President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, who is also the Chairman of the East African Community and President Felix Tshisekedi.
The phone calls were made ahead of a second round of the summit between the DRC, Rwanda and Angola.
The Friday statement said Mr Kenyatta and President Kagame agreed on the need for an immediate ceasefire “and President Kagame also agreed to assist the EAC Facilitator to urge the M23 to ceasefire and withdraw from captured territories” in line with proposals given in Bujumbura by chiefs of defence forces.
A regional EAC force by is gathering in the eastern DRC even though the troops have said the priority is to push for dialogue.
Rwanda, which the DRC has accused of aiding M23, could be influential in urging the group to lay down arms.
Mr Kenyatta wants the M23 to surrender territories they recently captured in North Kivu region as troops secure civilians.