The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo has given a damning assessment of the agreement reached between Britain and Rwanda on immigration, which he says was concluded in exchange for London’s silence on the abuses committed by the regime of President Kagame. Felix Tshisekedi described the Rwandan leader as a criminal and bloodthirsty dictator. ” How can a country with great values like the United Kingdom compromise with such partners? he asked as Suella Braverman traveled to Rwanda to finalize the agreement on the refoulement of illegal immigrants. He accused Britain of ” close eyes about Kagame’s abuses, his anti-democratic record and the atrocities committed by his auxiliary army in the mineral-rich eastern Congo. This assessment of Tshisekedi is diametrically opposed to the description of Rwanda made by the British Home Secretary who describes this country as ” of a model in the region “. Tshisikedi, 59, spoke to The Times at his office in Kinshasa. His observations were made in the context of an offensive led by the M23 military group. The United Nations claims that this group is linked to Rwanda and has taken control of several territories in eastern DRC, threatening to start an all-out war between the two neighboring states on the basis of the same ethnic divisions that led to the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The Congolese leader called for sanctions against Rwanda, which the United States, the European Union and other Western countries claim supports and arms the M23. The group has been implicated in mass rapes, arbitrary killings of civilians and the looting of natural resources. At least half a million people have fled their homes since last year, a period that has seen a resurgence of the armed group. And yet the M23 was defeated ten years ago. ” It seems the immigration deal is more valuable to the UK than supporting peace and stability in the DRC “said Tshisekedi.
Kagame has denied any connection with the M23 which claims to protect Congolese Tutsis from Hutus who crossed into the DRC after the genocide the Hutus committed in just 100 days in 1994.
On March 23, 2009, the National Congress for the Defense of the People signed a peace agreement with the DRC government. The M23 was formed in April 2012 when nearly 300 soldiers defected against the DRC government, citing poor conditions within the army and the Congolese government’s refusal to implement the 2009 peace accord. Kagame has ruled Rwanda since 1994 and has impressed international donors by bringing stability to the small East African state, while keeping an iron grip on power. In 2015, Rwanda’s constitution was amended, allowing Kagame to stay in power until 2034. Kagame won the last presidential election in 2017 with 98% of the vote, according to official results. Ms Braverman said she would raise her concerns “ in privateto Kagame, but added that negative attitudes towards Rwanda were based on “myths”. Reports by the UN Group of Experts on the DRC produced over two decades have implicated Rwanda in smuggling minerals and precious metals from the chaos in eastern Congo. These resources end up on the international market, such as gold and colombo-tantalite, or coltan, which is used in the manufacture of mobile phones. The US Treasury recently reported that more than 90% of the DRC’s gold ” is smuggled to regional states including Rwanda, which has no significant natural resources. And yet this gold is refined in Rwanda and exported to international markets
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