Rwanda's President Paul Kagame agrees to assist Kenya's ex-leader Uhuru Kenyatta in urging M23 rebels to drop weapons and withdraw from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kenya's former president Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame have agreed on the need for M23 rebels to cease fire and withdraw from captured territories in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the East African Community (EAC) bloc said.
Kenyatta visited displaced people in capital Kinshasa and eastern areas where M23 drew closer, and later agreed with Kagame on the need for an immediate ceasefire", the EAC said in a statement on Friday.
Kagame also agreed to assist Kenyatta in urging the M23 to lay down arms and withdraw from captured territories, the statement added.
Modalities will be discussed during the second round of talks in Angola's capital Luanda next week, it said.
Angola's President Joao Lourenco mediated a first meeting between DRC and Rwanda officials earlier this month.
"It is encouraging to see Paul Kagame recognise that he can influence the M23," DRC's President Felix Tshisekedi's deputy spokesperson told the Reuters news agency.
"We will see what happens on the ground," she added.
READ MORE: DRC sends tanks, fighter jets against advancing M23 rebels
US, allies denounce M23
In a joint statement, the United States, along with Great Lakes Special Envoys of Belgium, France and the UK on Friday condemned the advance of M23 rebels in DRC, saying the resumption of the violence undermines peace efforts and called on M23 to cease hostilities immediately.
The Special Envoys said they support all regional efforts to de-escalate the violence in the country, urging the end of the support of all non-state armed actors.
M23 rebels have waged several offensives in eastern DRC this year, their first major come-back since 2012, prompting clashes with the army that have displaced thousands of civilians since March.
The unrest has ignited diplomatic tensions between DRC and neighbouring Rwanda, which DRC accuses of backing the group. Rwanda denies the accusation.
#Kenya's former leader and EAC peace facilitator, Uhuru Kenyatta in a statement says that he spoke to Pres. Kagame who "agreed to urge" the M23 on the need for an immediate ceasefire & withdrawal from captured territories as agreed by the EAC military chiefs. pic.twitter.com/0IN5J1mUZP— Mwangi (@MwangiMaina_) November 18, 2022
Regional efforts are under way to ease relations between the two countries and end the conflict unfolding along their border.
When it formed in 2012, M23 was the newest in a series of ethnic Tutsi-led insurgencies to rise up against DRC forces.
Rebels seized vast swathes of territory in 2012 and briefly overran Goma before they were chased out by DRC and United Nations forces into Uganda and Rwanda the following year.
They have staged three major offensives since March. The latest at the end of October caused a new wave of displacement.
READ MORE: Hundreds flee as DRC's M23 rebels near key city of Goma