The United States (US) Secretary of State, Antony Blinken is awaited in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda next month. It will be the first visit to Rwanda of a top US official since the incumbent President, Joe Biden took office.
Dates for his visit have not yet been disclosed but it is said that he might arrive in the country in the first two weeks of August.
Sources reveal that he plans to visit Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
We could to verify the agenda of his visit to Rwanda and DRC but sources indicate that it is in context of tensions between Rwanda and DRC over the resurgence of M23 rebel group.
Top on the agenda of discussions with DRC officials include presidential elections scheduled next year and mining activities.
Blinken is set to visit Rwanda at a time when the country’s ambassadorial post in Rwanda has been vacant since February this year when Amb. Peter H. Vrooman who represented US interests in Kigali was posted to Mozambique.
Since then, US interests in Rwanda are overseen by Chargé d’Affaires, Deborah MacLean.
Rwanda and US enjoy cordial relations but some of its officials have been exerting pressure on Rwanda over the arrest of Paul Rusesabagina, the former President of MRCD-FLN terrorist group who was handed 25-year jail term.
Some US lawmakers proposed sanctions against Rwanda accusing the country of having kidnapped Paul Rusesabagina.
On Monday this week, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State, Ned Price told the media that negotiations between Rwanda and DRC should be given priority to calm tensions.
US are great development partners of Rwanda where it provided US$141 million funding in 2021. The funding doesn’t include medical equipment and over vaccine doses donated to Rwanda to fight COVID-19.
In 2016, Rwanda received US$268 million funding from US.