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Blinken Leaves Rwanda, Ending 3-Nation African Tour

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrapped up his three-nation tour of Africa on Thursday last week, where he reiterated Washington’s new strategy for engaging with sub-Saharan African nations as “equal partners”. Blinken visited South Africa and Democratic Republic of Congo before reaching Rwanda.

Last week, in South Africa on Monday, Blinken had said that Washington will “not dictate” which choices Africa should make and “neither should anyone else”. “African nations have been treated as instruments of other nations’ progress, rather than the authors of their own,” he added.

After his trip to South Africa, Blinken visited Congo’s capital Kinshasa on Tuesday, where he met with President Felix Tshisekedi and members of the delegations of both countries. The diplomat then landed in Rwanda on Wednesday.

Blinken left Kigali for the US after holding several meetings with members of the Rwandan government. Democracy, human rights concerns and the on-going tensions between Rwanda and the DRC were part of the discussions.

“There are very credible reports of support for armed groups by all sides, including the FDLR, by Congolese forces and M23, by Rwandans”, Blinken said. “Our position is clear, whoever it’s by, whoever it’s to, that support needs to cease for any armed group.”

An unpublished independent investigation for the UN, seen by AFP last week, said Rwandan troops had attacked soldiers inside the DRC and aided the M23, which has captured swathes of territory in eastern DRC in recent months.

Blinken undertook this trip at a difficult time as, the Republic of Congo has accused Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels and Kigali claims Kinshasa is collaborating with the FDLR rebels.

Despite a recent meeting between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, tensions have refused to subside.

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