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Home » World News » The DR Congo welcomes France’s position on M23 terrorists, but calls for sanctions against Rwanda

The DR Congo welcomes France’s position on M23 terrorists, but calls for sanctions against Rwanda

By: Robert Patrick Fati Gakwerere

On Tuesday, 20 February, France called on Rwanda to cease all support for the M23 group operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Moreover, France explicitly requested Kigali to withdraw from Congolese territory, marking the first occasion France has acknowledged the presence of Rwandan soldiers in eastern DRC. For the Congolese authorities, further action is necessary.

From the perspective of the Congolese presidency, there is an appreciation for the shift in French terminology, which now acknowledges the presence of Rwandan military forces on Congolese soil. However, mere verbal statements are deemed insufficient. Giscard Kusema, in charge of presidential communication, asserts the necessity for economic sanctions against Rwanda, likening the situation to a war of plunder. The DRC criticizes the continued signing of mineral extraction contracts between Western powers and Rwanda, highlighting a concerning silence and implicit complicity among other nations regarding this matter.

French diplomatic officials, including Christophe Lemoine, spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, maintain that sanctions against Rwanda are not ruled out. Yet, they clarify that sanctions are not currently under consideration. The discussion framework remains within the Luanda process, where sanctions have not been proposed. Sanctions, according to Lemoine, are reserved for situations of significant escalation where a robust message is required. At present, sanctions are not on the agenda.

Currently, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States have imposed sanctions on several officials from M23, FDLR, and other armed groups operating in the DRC.

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