Luanda: Tshisekedi and Lourenço Discuss Regional Security

On February 27, 2024, an important meeting took place in Luanda, Angola, as Democratic Republic of Congo’s President, Félix Tshisekedi, arrived for discussions with his Angolan counterpart, João Lourenço. This meeting, held at the presidential palace, comes as a direct follow-up to the security-focused mini-summit concerning the Eastern DRC, which was held on February 18, 2024, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. That event took place on the sidelines of the 37th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government, spearheaded by President Lourenço, who has been actively mediating the ongoing crisis between the DRC and Rwanda.

The discussions between Presidents Tshisekedi and Lourenço were conducted behind closed doors, with no public statements made at the beginning or any announcements planned for the conclusion of their meeting. This approach underscores the sensitive nature of the dialogue, focusing on the intricate dynamics of regional security and diplomacy.

One of the critical points on the agenda was the tension between the DRC and Rwanda, notably concerning the presence of Rwandan Defence Forces (RDF) in the Congolese territory. During the Addis Ababa summit, mediator Lourenço expressed a keen interest in facilitating a direct encounter between President Tshisekedi and his Rwandan counterpart. However, Tshisekedi’s stance remains firm, indicating that any meeting with Rwanda’s leadership would only be possible under the strict condition of an immediate withdrawal of RDF troops from the DRC, cessation of hostilities, and confinement of the M23 terrorist groups.

The delegation from the DRC accompanying President Tshisekedi includes key figures such as Jean-Pierre Bemba, the Vice Prime Minister of Defense; Christophe Lutundula, the Vice Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs; Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi, the Minister of State; and Serge Tshibangu, the President’s High Representative. Their presence signifies the importance attributed to these talks.

This meeting in Luanda highlights the ongoing efforts by African leaders to address security issues within the continent through dialogue and diplomacy.