DRC-Rwanda: US to dispatch Blinken to calm tensions

By Julian Pecquet, Romain Gras
Posted on Wednesday, 27 July 2022 18:43, updated on Friday, 29 July 2022 22:31

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a visit to the Office of Director of National Intelligence in McLean
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a visit to the Office of Director of National Intelligence in McLean, Virginia, July 18, 2022. Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda next month to try to tamp down escalating tensions between the two countries, The Africa Report has learned. On the agenda: the M23 rebellion, elections, and mining contracts.

The decision to dispatch America’s top diplomat to the region despite a rash of geopolitical crises starting with the war in Ukraine is a telling sign of the Joe Biden administration’s deep concern that the crisis in eastern Congo could spiral out of control. This will only be Blinken’s second trip to the continent, following his visit to Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal in November.

US and Congolese sources tell The Africa Report that Blinken is expected to fly to Africa in the first half of August. The State Department and Rwandan authorities did not respond to requests for comment.