The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, walked out of a meeting at the United Nations on Thursday after Belgium’s foreign affairs minister referred to allegations that Rwanda has been backing rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A mini-summit meeting called by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon failed to reach a consensus on Rwanda’s alleged role in a Congo rebellion.
The closed meeting on Central Africa was held on the fringes of the U.N. General Assembly and attended by 30 other heads of state and government besides Kagame, including Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila.
It’s believed the U.N. secretary-general was hoping for a unanimous condemnation of external support for the M23 rebels in eastern Congo who defected from the Congolese army in April.
But reliable sources confirm that the meeting failed to reach a consensus view on Rwanda’s alleged support for the rebels.
“Kabila and Kagame made cautious speeches and the meeting organized by Ban Ki-moon apparently did not lead to anything,” he said. “And there was some kind of diplomatic incident — when the Belgian foreign affairs minister mentioned Rwandan support for the rebellion, Kagame left the room.”
In fact, it is not clear whether the Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders mentioned Rwanda by name in this context at this meeting, but Belgium and a number of other countries have already expressed their disapproval for Kigali’s alleged role in the Congo rebellion.
Rwanda has repeatedly denied supporting M23. And the Rwandan delegation in New York denied that President Kagame’s walkout was a diplomatic incident, saying he just had another meeting to go to.
Sources says attention will now turn to possible U.N. sanctions against Rwanda.
“They’re waiting for the decision of the U.N. about the sanctions committee. There were discussions in August and now they have to decide if they want to put the names of the officials in the experts’ report on the sanctions list,” he said.