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African Countries are Geostrategic Players- Blinken

3 Min Read

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said African countries are geostrategic players and critical partners on the most pressing issues.

Blinken made the remarks in South Africa where he kicked off his whirlwind three-nation tour of Africa over the weekend.

He later flew to Democratic Republic of Congo where he met with President Tshisekedi and Foreign Minister Lutundula.

“The DRC is an important partner in advancing security and stability, promoting democracy and respect for human rights, strengthening rule of law, and combating the climate crisis,” said Blinken.

“We had productive conversations on regional security, climate action, free and fair elections, strengthening democratic institutions, and upholding the rule of law,” Blinken said.

DRC rights groups wanted Blinken to emphasise why the DRC government should reform the military, including improved anti-corruption mechanisms, the vetting and removal of abusive officers, and investigations of officers implicated in past war crimes.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to fly to Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday and hold talks with President Paul Kagame and Foreign affairs minister..

The DRC has blamed Rwanda for reorganizing and arming the latest insurgency by the M23 rebels.

During a press conference with his Congolese counterpart, Christophe Lutundula, Mr. Blinken expressed concern about allegations of Rwandan support to the M23 rebels. Rwanda, rejects a report by United Nations experts saying they have “solid evidence” which incriminates the mountainous nation.

“We are very concerned by credible reports that Rwanda has provided support to M23. We call on all parties in the region to stop any support or cooperation with M23 or, for that matter, any other non-state armed group, Blinken said. Any entry of foreign forces into the DRC must be done transparently with the consent of the DRC,” Blinken said.

Rwanda has denied the allegations of support to the M23. Kigali accuses the DRC of collaborating with another rebel group, the FDLR, and said regional security can’t be achieved until that issue is addressed.

The FDLR has been designated by the Washington as a terrorist organisation largely composed of perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi which claimed over a million lives in Rwanda.