Luanda is hosting foreign ministers of both African neighbours in bid to de-escalate tensions sparked by rise of M23 rebels menacing eastern DRC.

Kigali has repeatedly denied allegations of backing M23 rebels, which has soured its ties with Kinshasa.
Kigali has repeatedly denied allegations of backing M23 rebels, which has soured its ties with Kinshasa. (TRTWorld)

The foreign ministers of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda have met in Angola, in the latest effort to de-escalate tensions over M23 rebels menacing eastern DRC.

Angola's President and African Union mediator in the talks Joao Lourenco hosted the two ministers on Saturday in the capital Luanda, according to an AFP news agency journalist.

The meeting of DRC Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula and his Rwandan counterpart Vincent Biruta comes amid fighting between the M23 militia and the DRC army in the country's east, with rebels capturing swathes of new territory in recent weeks.

Rwanda is accused of supporting the M23, a mainly Tutsi DRC militia which resumed fighting last year after laying mostly dormant for years.

Kigali has repeatedly denied the allegations, which has soured its relations with Kinshasa.

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

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

M23 rise to prominence

The M23 first rose to prominence in 2012 and resumed fighting in late 2021 — claiming that the DRC had failed to honour a pledge to integrate them into the army, among other grievances.

The rebels have won a string of victories against the DRC army in North Kivu, and the fighting has displaced tens of thousands of people.

Luanda has previously tried to normalise relations between the two neighbours.

In July, the DRC said they had agreed a "de-escalation process" following a summit between Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi.

Lourenco went further, announcing a "ceasefire", but clashes continued on the ground the next day.

READ MORE: Clashes erupt as M23 rebels reject DRC-Rwanda truce deal

Source: AFP