DRC's Felix Tshisekedi hopes for talks with Rwanda's Paul Kagame to be "truthful" as both African leaders meet face-to-face, first time since resurgence of violence in DRC's east.

Recent flare-up of violence in DRC's east linked to the M23 group has reignited tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali.
Recent flare-up of violence in DRC's east linked to the M23 group has reignited tensions between Kinshasa and Kigali. (Reuters)

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) leader Felix Tshisekedi has arrived in Angola on the eve of talks with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame amid tensions between the two central African neighbours, his office said.

This will be the first time the two presidents meet face-to-face for several months.

The two "have not met bilaterally since the resurgence of violence in the east of the country," said a statement from Tshisekedi's office on Tuesday.

DRC leader is participating in the meeting, which he wanted to be "truthful".

Angola's President Joao Lourenco, who is hosting the mini-summit in the capital Luanda, was appointed Africa Union mediator.

READ MORE: East Africa leaders agree on regional troop deployment for DRC

M23 rebel crisis 

Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting the M23, a former Tutsi-dominated rebel group that was defeated in 2013 but took up arms again in November last year.

In recent months, the group has clashed with DRC troops in fighting that has forced thousands of people to flee to neighbouring Uganda.

Rwanda has repeatedly denied backing the rebels, while both countries have accused each other of carrying out cross-border shelling.

Relations between Kinshasa and Kigali have been strained since the mass arrival in the DRC of Rwandan Hutus.

Rwanda accuses DRC's army of firing into Rwandan territory and fighting alongside the FDLR –– an armed group run by ethnic Hutus who fled Rwanda after taking part in the 1994 genocide.

READ MORE: UN envoy: M23 rebels acting like army in eastern DRC

Reignited tensions

While ties had begun to improve after Tshisekedi took office in 2019, a recent flare-up of violence in the east linked to the M23 group has reignited tensions.

Tshisekedi was on Tuesday evening expected to hold pre-summit talks with Lourenco, the Angolan presidency said in a statement.

Last month, East African leaders agreed in Kenya to set up a regional force to help end the violence in eastern DRC.

Kagame said on Monday his country has no problem being excluded from the regional military force.

"If anybody's coming from anywhere, excluding Rwanda, but will provide the solution that we're all looking for, why would I have a problem," Kagame said.

In April the seven countries of the East African Community which DRC joined this year, agreed to set up a joint force but DRC's president objected to the Rwandan army taking part.

Despite billions of dollars spent on one of the United Nations' largest peacekeeping forces, more than 120 rebel groups continue to operate across large swathes of eastern DRC almost two decades after the official end of the central African country's civil wars. 

READ MORE: DRC's Tshisekedi accuses Rwanda of backing M23 rebels

Source: AFP