The United States will intervene in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to ensure peace and security and stability in the troubled region.
This emerged on Wednesday, when Secretary of State Antony Blinken met DRC Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula at the State Department in Washington DC.
Speaking ahead of the bilateral meeting, Blinken said they would discuss how the US can support peace and security and stability in the eastern DRC, “which is under some challenge”
“We are very glad to be working with the DRC to advance our privileged partnership for peace, prosperity, and preservation of the environment. So we have a lot of work that we’ve been doing and will continue to do on that”.
“ … we want to be very supportive of important efforts that are ongoing to deal with those challenges,” Blinken said.
The Secretary of state also lauded the diplomatic efforts that are underway in Nairobi led by President Uhuru Kenyatta in pursuit of a lasting peace in the region, “something the United States very much supports”.
On his part, minister Lutundula thanked the US for the support DRC has received in dealing with “turbulences”.
“My delegation and myself are looking forward to being here at the State Department today to look at matters of common interest, both bilaterally and multilaterally. And I would like to also say on behalf of President Tshisekedi and of our other ministers, I would like to thank you, Mr. Secretary, for what you and President Biden are doing for our country,” Lutundula said through an interpreter.
He acknowledged that DRC is going through difficult times at the moment, despite efforts on the diplomatic front.
Fighting in the eastern DRC is intensifying, with Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in pursuit of rebels and Congolese insurgents on the rebound.
The International Crisis Group says with help from its allies, Kinshasa should step up diplomacy lest the country becomes a regional battleground once more.
There are tensions between DRC and Rwanda, with the two governments trading blame once more over brutal rebels.
Last week, DW reported that Rwanda said that several civilians were injured in cross-border shelling of its territory by the Congolese military. Kigali also accused Kinshasa of backing Hutu rebels, who it said had abducted two of its soldiers.
However, the Congolese army said the soldiers had been trespassing on its soil and had been detained by locals. Kinshasa suspended flights to the DRC by Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir in retaliation and summoned Kigali’s ambassador. The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing M23.
The rebels last month attacked two Congolese army positions near the borders with Rwanda and Uganda and advanced on nearby towns. Hundreds of people staged an anti-Rwanda protest in Kinshasa on Monday.