May 31, 2019

New “Rwanda-DRC-Angola Axis” Born In Kinshasa

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DR Congo’s Felix Tshesekedi (C) hosted President Paul Kagame and Angola’s João Lourenço to talks by this Friday in Kinshasa.

The Presidents of Rwanda, DR Congo and Angola have signed tripartite agreement in the Congolese capital Kinshasa.

The unannounced agreement, emerged after President Paul Kagame and Angola’s João Lourenço were hosted to talks by Congo’s Felix Tshesekedi this Friday afternoon.

It is the first such tripartite arrangement between the three countries, as Rwanda and Angola have been on either side of the conflict in DR Congo.

Angola and Zimbabwe deployed troops to Congo in August 1998 to support the government of President Laurent Kabila, father of the most recent Congolese leader Joseph Kabila.

At the time, a fierce rebellion against Laurent Kabila had erupted in which Rwanda was accused of backing the rebels.

Since then, Angola, also under previous leader José Eduardo dos Santos, has kept a permenent presence in the affairs of DR Congo.

In November 2008, Angola again sent its troops to help the son President Joseph Kabila fight rebel troops of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) led by General Laurent Nkunda.

With the arrival of João Lourenço in Angola in August 2017, and Tshekedi in January this year, Rwanda has been positioning itself in a supremacy battle as regional dynamics change rapidly.

In March, Kagame had a two-day state visit in Angola. A week later, Kagame hosted Tshisekedi in Rwanda for a major continental CEO forum, but they also held talks.

Today morning, Kagame arrived in Kinshasa, going straight into bilateral talks with President Tshisekedi. Their Angolan counter was also in town.

Hours later, a tripartite summit was in session.

A final communique signed following the tripartite meeting in Kinshasa, Kagame, Tshisekedi and Lourenço agreed on three issues.

On security, they said will “reinforce the Congo-Angola-Rwanda axis” to eventually involve other regional leaders to deal with Congolese and foreign armed groups in DRC – using language like “eradicate”.

The three also agreed to “revitalize” the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the 12-member grouping formed in 2008 to deal with regional instability.

On the economic front, the leaders settled on increased cooperation and the rehabilitation of the 422 km Kolwezi-Dololo railway line to link up to western Angola region of Benguela.

Finally, the “most senior officials from the three concerned countries” have also been directed to take “appropriate measures” to ensure the tripartite agreement is implemented.

Meanwhile, the Rwandan and Angolan leaders are also scheduled to attend the a state funeral for father and veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi who died in Belgium in February 2017, aged 84.

His body arrived on Thursday night, and a big funeral has been organised in the stadium in Kinshasa.

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