World News

DR Congo leader urges Macron to back sanctions against Rwanda

By AlJazeera

Macron says he would wait for the end of several peace negotiation efforts before considering such a step.

DR Congo protest
Demonstrators hold a sit-in to protest against the visit of the French President Emmanuel Macron in front of the French embassy in Kinshasa [Justin Makangara/Reuters]

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi has urged visiting French President Emmanuel Macron to pursue international sanctions against Rwanda for its alleged military support to M23 rebels.

Macron said he was waiting for the end of several ongoing peace negotiation efforts before considering such a step. But he promised that France would be “faithful to its role as an unwavering ally of [DRC] to defend its integrity and sovereignty.”

The eastern DRC has been mired in conflict for decades, with armed groups vying for control of the region’s vast mineral resources. Most recently, the DRC has accused Rwanda of supporting M23 rebels, who have seized control of large swaths of the country’s east.

Rwanda has repeatedly denied the allegation.

Emmanuel Macron and Felix Tshisekedi
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, meets with Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa [Samy Ntumba Shambuyi/AP Photo]

Peace talks have taken place in Nairobi, Kenya and Angola’s capital, Luanda. Regional leaders have called for a ceasefire in eastern DRC and for the M23 rebels to withdraw from the territory they are holding.

Macron said that all sides had “given clear support” to a ceasefire next Tuesday, as envisaged in the timeline mediated by Angola.

The French president said that the DRC “must not be a spoils of war.”

“This is the very meaning of my presence today, to tell everyone that there cannot be a double standard between the tragedy being played out in Ukraine on European territory and that being played out on African soil,” Macron said.

Tshisekedi pressed his French counterpart for sanctions against Rwanda, saying he remained “doubtful about the good faith of those who attacked us”.

“There was no reason to justify this aggression, except for economic reasons, which were specific to Rwanda, the instigator of this aggression,” Tshisekedi said, accusing Rwanda of “systematic plundering”.

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