The Democratic Republic of Congo accuses neighbouring Rwanda of supporting M23 militia, while Kigali denies backing the rebels.

The roadmap for ending hostilities was reached at a July summit, but clashes resumed the very next day.
The roadmap for ending hostilities was reached at a July summit, but clashes resumed the very next day. (Reuters Archive)

The foreign ministers of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda have agreed to accelerate efforts to reduce tensions and resolve their political crisis.

In a joint statement issued after their meeting in Angola on Saturday, the ministers agreed to continue talking "as a priority way of resolving the political crisis between the two brotherly countries".

They also said "a timetable for accelerating" the de-escalation plan signed in July would be defined.

Regional relations in central Africa have been destabilised over recent months, with the DRC accusing its smaller neighbour of backing a rebel militia that has displaced tens of thousands of people.

The roadmap for ending hostilities was reached at an Angola-brokered summit between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi.

At the time, Angola's President Joao Lourenco called it a "ceasefire", but clashes resumed the very next day.

READ MORE: Top diplomats of DRC, Rwanda meet in Angola as M23 rebels hold key town

March 23 Movement

After several weeks of calm, the March 23 Movement (M23) militia went back on the offensive in late October, capturing swathes of new territory in eastern DRC in recent weeks.

Rwanda is accused of supporting the M23, a mainly Tutsi Congolese militia which rose to prominence in 2012.

After laying mostly dormant for years, it resumed fighting last year, claiming the DRC had failed to honour a pledge to integrate them into the army, among other grievances.

Kigali has repeatedly denied backing the rebels, which has soured relations with Kinshasa.

The DRC expelled Rwanda's ambassador at the end of last month, while also recalling its envoy from Kigali.

The eastern DRC has been plagued for nearly three decades by armed groups, many of them inherited from the wars that bloodied the region in the wake of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The resurgence of M23 has caused international alarm, with Kenya last week deploying troops to the DRC to bolster an East African force trying to end the bloodshed.

READ MORE: DRC expels Rwanda envoy over 'support' for M23 rebels

Source: AFP