Secretary Blinken’s Diplomatic Efforts to Address the Crisis at the Rwanda-DRC Border

General Paul Kagame holding hands with DR Congo’s head of state, Félix Tshisekedi

In a recent development, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken engaged in separate conversations with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Félix Tshisekedi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

These discussions centered on the escalating tensions and deteriorating humanitarian situation along the border shared by Rwanda and the DRC. The discussions transpired against the backdrop of heightened hostilities between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 rebels, who are reportedly supported by Rwanda, in the vicinity of Goma, the capital of the North Kivu Province, bordering Rwanda.

During these talks, Secretary Blinken emphasized the urgent need for a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing border tensions. He advocated for both sides to take immediate measures to de-escalate the situation, including the withdrawal of troops from the border region.

The situation has raised concerns, particularly with Goma, a city of over 2 million residents, located near the border with Rwanda. Reports suggest that the rebels have taken control of areas close to Goma, resulting in disruptions, including a power outage due to the fighting near an electricity generating facility that supplies the city.