The Rwandan president has accused his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart of “trying to find a way to have the next elections postponed” by implicating Rwanda in the country’s crisis.
President Paul Kagame accused the Congolese leader Félix Tshisekedi of creating “grounds for an emergency so that [next year’s] elections don’t take place”.
Kinshasa hasn’t immediately responded to President Kagame’s remarks, who without presenting any evidence said the Congolese president didn’t win “the first elections”.
In a lengthy rare speech on Wednesday in parliament, Mr Kagame said it was a “shame” many parties and countries "claim to want to resolve the problem” that has remained for decades.
He cautioned powerful countries, mentioning the US, UK, France, and the UN, against accusing or believing that Rwanda was to blame for the instabilities in eastern Congo. He accused UN forces of failing to eradicate the Rwandan rebel group - FDLR - and others operating in DR Congo.
He also denied claims that Rwanda was stealing minerals from DR Congo.
“One thing we are not, we are not thieves,” he said.
“They are accusing us of stealing Congo’s minerals how about the destination?” he questioned.
Mr Kagame said the M23 rebels were not Rwandans but Congolese, blaming their insurgency on the Kinshasa government for not respecting previous agreements with the group.
He said Rwanda could help to address the problem of the M23 and other rebel groups “because we are interested in a stable neighbourhood”.