President William Ruto will today evening depart for Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo on a one-day official visit amid ongoing peace efforts in the volatile and M23 rebels controlled Eastern DRC.
Tomorrow, Ruto is expected to embark on three-day state visit to Korea
“The president will hold bilateral talks with his host His Excellency president Felix Tshisekedi on areas of mutual interest, including trade and investments, regional integration and security situation in Eastern DRC.” State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said.
At least 1000 Kenya Defence Forces (soldiers) have been deployed under the peace keeping mission in the region under the aegis of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF).
Significant peace efforts have so far been achieved under the Nairobi Peace Process of Eastern DRC championed by Ruto’s predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta who is mediating in the DR Congo crisis on behalf of the regional East African Community bloc.
Fighting has been raging in the east as the M23 rebel group makes territorial advances, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes.
Kenya is due to host peace talks in the coming days, and has also sent troops to the DRC as part of a joint EAC peacekeeping force.
On Friday, Kenyatta said that Rwandan President Paul Kagame — whose government is accused by Kinshasa of supporting the M23 — was ready to help in efforts to press the rebels to cease fire and withdraw from captured territory.
During a visit to Goma, the epicenter of the violence, Kenyatta described the situation as a “humanitarian catastrophe”.
Over 120 armed groups are active across the mineral-rich eastern Congo, many of them a legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the century.
The M23 rose to prominence in 2012 when it captured the main eastern city of Goma, before being driven out and going to ground.
But it re-emerged late last year, claiming Kinshasa had failed to honour a pledge to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.
Tomorrow, president Ruto will head to Korea for bilateral talks with his Korean counterpart president Yoon Suk-Yeol.
They are expected to explore possible areas of partnership and cooperation among them trade and investments, agriculture, health and infrastructure.