After South Africa and DR Congo, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Rwanda, the last leg of his African tour. Thursday August 11, he met President Paul Kagame with whom several thorny issues were discussed.
Two days after his interview with Félix Tshisekedi, Antony Blinken indicated that he had discussed with Paul Kagame the accusations of support from the Rwandan army to the M23, but also the cooperation between the Armed Forces of the DR Congo and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). “There are credible reports of support for armed groups on both sides, them FDLR by the Congolese, the M23 by the Rwandans”, he declared, concluding: “Our position is clear, all this support must end. »
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“We discussed credible reports which indicate that Rwanda continues to support the M23 rebel group and has its own forces in the DRC (…) Each country in the region must respect the territorial integrity of the others,” he said. after his audience with Paul Kagame.
Antony Blinken refers to the report of experts commissioned by the United Nations, according to which the Rwandan army would have “launched military interventions against Congolese armed groups and positions of the Congolese Armed Forces” since November 2021 and until June 2022. Kigali categorically denied.
This morning, President Kagame received U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken @SecBlinkenfor discussions on strengthening the bilateral partnership as well as security in the region. pic.twitter.com/QeujUA8lKn
— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) August 11, 2022
A little later, during a press conference with his Rwandan counterpart Vincent Biruta, he incriminated the support of the Congolese Armed Forces to the FDLR. “Regarding the FDLR, they have sought to carry out attacks against Rwanda and participate in propagating hateful ideologies”, underlined Antony Blinken. “We have seen reports that point to cooperation between Congolese forces and the FDLR. I spoke about it with the Congolese presidents and we are pushing for it to stop, just as we are pushing for support for the M23 to stop. »
Le cas Rusesabagina
Another thorny subject: the question of rights of the man. “As I said to President Kagame, we believe that people in all countries should be able to express their opinions without fear of intimidation, imprisonment, violence or any other form of repression,” said Antony Blinken during a press conference in Kigali.
In particular, he addressed the fate of Paul Rusesabagina, made famous by the film “Hotel Rwanda”, who has been serving a 25-year prison sentence for “terrorism” since last year and has permanent resident status in the United States. -United. He pointed to US “concerns” over the “lack of fair trial guarantees” provided to Paul Rusesabagina.
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The family of the latter had precisely indicated in a press release that they hoped from Antony Blinken that his “direct commitment” would help put an end to their “nightmare” and that of their loved one, whose health is deteriorating, according to her. In May, Washington estimated that Paul Rusesabagina, 68, was “unjustly detained” by Rwandan justice.
Prior to the Secretary of State’s arrival, civil society and NGOs had called for an American position on the issue of human rights, Human Rights Watch calling on Antony Blinken to “urgently state (in Kigali) that there would be consequences for government repression and abuse in Rwanda et beyond “.