DR Congo, South Africa set to sign security agreement

Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi announced on Thursday his intent to sign a security pact with South Africa, as various militias dominate vast territories in eastern Congo.

Speaking at a joint press conference in the capital Kinshasa with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, he said that the pact could be a form of mutual defence alliance.

Without giving details Tshisekedi pointed to the mutual defence pact of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a possible model.

He added that more would be revealed in the days and weeks to come.

Ramaphosa expressed his commitment to continue supporting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in its efforts to combat insecurity and reduce poverty.

“We are also going to strengthen that relationship by having a bilateral agreement on security and defence,” the South African leader added.

For the past three decades, armed groups have plagued large parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), serving as a lingering consequence of regional conflicts that erupted in the 1990s and early 2000s.

However, the M23 rebel group, which resurfaced in late 2021, has gained control over significant portions of territory in the region, resulting in the displacement of approximately one million individuals.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has made repeated allegations against its neighbor Rwanda of providing support to the Tutsi-led M23, although Kigali denies these accusations.

This assessment made by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is supported by the United States, along with various other Western nations and independent UN experts.

On Thursday President Tshisekedi expressed his openness to engage in dialogue to bring an end to the conflict.

However, he firmly stated his refusal to negotiate with individuals he referred to as “puppets” within the M23.

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