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At the end of the US-Africa Summit, Anthony Blinken, US Secretary of State, asked Kigali on 15 December to act to allow the application of the Luanda Agreement and therefore the withdrawal of the group.
Once again, the US is putting pressure on Rwandan President Paul Kagame over the security crisis surrounding the insurgency. However, the United States is quite isolated on this issue on the international stage, as Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Study Group, a research center affiliated with New York University, explains.
” In the past few months, when the United States has raised its voice to demand that Rwanda end its support for M23, Antony Blinken was a little more polite this time. But in other statements, members of the US Congress and even the US executive have been quite clear and strong in their condemnation of Rwandan support. So I think it’s an extension of a policy that already existed, where the US is all alone diplomatically. Usually, the US develops its policy with preferred partners, especially within the UN Security Council – France and Great Britain – and it’s these two countries, France and Great Britain, that are blocking a little because of, I think, because of their own interests in the region. These two countries have therefore been very reticent, although the diplomats of these two countries privately acknowledge that this support exists “, he emphasizes.
Difference in treatment
During the US-Africa summit, Paul Kagame did not meet Anthony Blinken unlike Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi. The Rwandan president did not participate in the photo at the end of the summit around Joe Biden. Why this difference in treatment? Jason Stearns, gives us some answers.
” I think it’s about increasing Congo’s importance to the United States. It is not only because of the size of the country and the democratic values etc… but it is also because of the geopolitics. Congo is the largest cobalt producer in the world and the largest copper producer in Africa. There are also significant deposits of lithium and other minerals in the DRC. I think that’s part of the importance of the DRC and that’s why they met. That being the case, I think that for this Biden administration, at least there are also members who really insist on the values of democracy. The importance of Rwanda, as a partner in the region, has become much less, for some years moreover. It’s not just under Biden. I think these are the factors that explain this engagement after Tshisekedi and this lack of importance for the meeting with Kagame », again analyzes Jason Stearns, director of the Study Group on the Congo.
US-Africa Summit: Joe Biden is all about America’s diplomatic return to the continent