Macron urges Rwanda to end support for DRC M23 rebels, withdraw troops

Rwanda must end support for M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and withdraw troops from its neighbour's territory, French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday.

"Rwanda must halt its support for M23 and withdraw its forces from Congolese territory," Macron said at a joint press conference with the DRC president, Felix Tshisekedi, adding that "we argue for territorial integrity on the African continent as well" as in Europe following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Tshisekedi welcomed Paris's "even stronger support at the side of the Congolese people", saying it showed his country "can count on France".

He added that Kinshasa would be open to new talks with Kigali once its troops had left DRC territory.

The mostly Tutsi M23 rebellion began in late 2021, seizing large swathes of North Kivu province in the eastern DRC after eight years of relative peace.

According to DRC, the United Nations and Western countries, neighbouring Rwanda is backing the M23.

Tshisekedi called the rebels "an empty shell" used by Kigali to threaten the DRC.

“I could not fail to express myself on the tragedy that my country is experiencing,” he had said on Monday evening, ahead of events around business partnership, denouncing the “predatory and expansionist desires expressed by certain foreign powers.”

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has long brushed off the allegations, but said he is sympathetic to the M23 and accused the DRC of itself supporting a Hutu militia hostile to Kigali.

Read more on RFI English

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