France joined the United States on Monday in accusing Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels, airing the allegations publicly for the first time in Kigali, despite recent support for the country’s military escapades in Mozambique.
France’s accusations against the M23 Movement come just two weeks after Paris mobilized the European Union to pay 20 million euros (about $21.2 million) to support Kigali’s military offensive against rebels in Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique.
French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said Paris wanted the parties to respect the Luanda-Nairobi peace process, regional efforts to ensure harmonious existence between the DRC and Rwanda, and final support for the rebels.
Groups as a first step towards achieving long-term peace in eastern DRC.
“We condemn Rwanda’s support for the M23 group and call for the full implementation of operations in Luanda and Nairobi,” he said in a statement re-released by the French embassy in Kinshasa.
This is the first time France has publicly condemned Rwanda for the M23 rebel movement. It is also the first time France has publicly pointed the finger at Rwanda since their ties fell apart almost five years ago.
Both nations have been at loggerheads following years of tensions over France’s alleged refusal to rein in the perpetrators of the 1994 Tutsi genocide.
However, France has joined the United States in repeatedly denouncing the same support Kigali has been giving to the M23 rebels currently fighting with the Congolese army in North Kivu, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the US-Africa Summit, Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi thanked US President Joe Biden for condemning US support for Rwanda’s March 23 Movement.
Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, denied the allegations, replying in a speech at a side event of the summit: “The problem is not Rwanda, it is not Rwanda’s problem. It’s a Congo problem.”
Both France and the United States say that Rwanda, the DRC and the rebels must allow the decisions of the Luanda mini-summit to be implemented.