Rwanda’s foreign affairs ministry has informed the DR Congo government that a physical meeting of regional leaders in Goma is not a good idea at the moment.
In a diplomatic note (note verbal), Rwanda’s foreign ministry says President Paul Kagame prefers the summit is held via videoconference.
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi had been scheduled to host Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Burundi’s Evariste Ndayishimiye and Angola’s João Lourenço, on September 13. That did not happen.
It had been arranged that the five countries send technical teams to be in Goma on September 9 to prepare the working documents. Delegations at ministerial level were scheduled to also arrive in Goma for their segment on Sept 12.
Burundi pulled out and sent a diplomatic note (note verbal) to DRC saying it wouldn’t to take part in the summit. In the letter, now leaked to media and dated September 8, Burundi says it has a “busy calendar” which doesn’t allow it to take part in the summit.
Instead, the government in Gitega, said it prefers that bilateral engagements are held first with Kinshasa in effort to work on a range of issues between DRC and Burundi.
The Goma summit was eventually postponed altogether, with DR Congo saying leaders had indicated they wouldn’t be able to attend as they were preparing for the UN General Assembly. Then on this past Monday, DRC announced that the summit had been scheduled for September 20, according to DRC foreign minister Marie Ntumba Nzeza.
Uganda’s envoy in Kinshasa met the Minister on Tuesday to confirm President Museveni’s presence. Nzeza said her government was still working on confirmation of Rwanda, Angola and Burundi.
Rwanda’s diplomatic note to DRC sent yesterday September 17 reads in part: “The ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation of Rwanda would like to inform your esteemed ministry that His Excellence Paul Kagame, the President of the Republic of Rwanda, while strongly appreciative of the initiative of this meeting, and the issues on agenda, would prefer a mini-summit via videoconference at a date agreed upon by the parties concerned, due to the current situation of COVID-19.”
The note adds: “A physical meeting can be planned for the beginning of 2021”.
It now remains to be seen if the September 20 date will remain.