Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame met Angola’s leader José Eduardo dos Santos Wednesday afternoon and held talks in the capital Luanda.

Kagame traveled to Angola for a one-day working visit, accompanied by foreign affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

Kagame’s office tweeted shortly before the meeting that President Dos Santos and President Kagame were “holding a bilateral meeting”.

However, Kagame’s visit comes at a time when Rwandan FDLR rebels operating in DR Congo have only until January 2, 2015 to disarm or else be forcefully disarmed.

Do Santos is the current chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), set up in 2002 to seek solutions for regional conflicts, including the disarmement of Rwandan rebels.

DRC has said upon the expiry of the ultimatum, there will be no more time to talks with the rebels.

DRC Spokesman Lambert Mende said on Tuesday that, “Our armed forces [FARDC] and partners (MONUSCO) will launch a military offensive to forcefully disarm the FDLR [(Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda].”

MONUSCO’s publicist, Lt-Col Felix Prosper Basse, said, “We reiterate our calls to the FDLR to peacefully surrender to MONUSCO, FARDC, DRC Police and engage themselves in the DDRRR (Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement) process in order to avoid being disarmed by force and unnecessary losses of lives.”

The ICGLR was established after the conflicts that erupted in the Great Lakes Region in 1994, whose impact led to the recognition of its dimension and the need for a combined effort toward the promotion of peace and development in the region.

FDLR is largely made of former government forces (EX-FAR) and Hutu militia, Interahamwe, who fled to DRC jungles evading responsibility for  their genocide crimes in Rwanda.

Relationship between Rwanda and DR Congo have been unstable due DR Congo and UN’s failure to disarm the rebels.

As chairman, Dos Santos made promise to ensure peace, stability and economic and social development in the region.

ICGLR binds 12 countries including; Rwanda, Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

 

 

By: Patrick Bigabo