The Algerian ambassador in Kinshasa has been unexpectedly summoned by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, responsible for foreign affairs, to explain the recent visit of the Algerian army chief of staff to Rwanda

Algeria's ambassador in Kinshasa summoned by the Congolese authorities

Christophe Lutundula recibe al embajador de Argelia
Christophe Lutundula receives the Ambassador of Algeria

In an unprecedented event, an ambassador of a sovereign state is summoned by the authorities of the host country to explain a visit by the chief of staff of the army of the country he represents to a neighbouring country. This is what happened to Mohammed Yazid Bouzid, Algeria's ambassador to Kinshasa on Monday 26 February.

The visit to Rwanda on 19 February by General Saïd Chengriha, Algerian army chief of staff, was not well received in the DRC. The deputy prime minister in charge of foreign affairs, Christophe Lutundula, has summoned the Algerian ambassador in Kinshasa to ask him to explain the visit.

"It is unheard of for a sovereign country to be asked to explain its international relations, and in particular those of its army," observes a former Algerian diplomat, who describes the summons as "a lack of respect and consideration for a country that not so long ago was described by Africans as the Mecca of revolutionaries". And our diplomat concludes: "No one could have imagined that Algeria would be belittled to this extent. After the Spanish and French slaps in the face, comes the Congolese coup".

But on the Congolese side, sovereignty considerations are completely overlooked when it comes to the security of their country. This is the conclusion of a press release from the DRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Beyond the sovereignty of each state, Deputy Prime Minister Christophe Lutundula asked his host for clarification on the visit of the Algerian army chief of staff to Kigali on 20 February," reads the text.

Relations between Kigali and Kinshasa have been strained for several years. The Congolese accuse Kigali of supporting and arming M23 rebel groups and armed groups formed by locals and foreigners with the aim of destabilising the DRC. "Rwanda's support for the M23 rebels has been corroborated by UN experts and several Western countries, although Kigali denies it," according to 24sur24.cd, a Congolese news website.

Algiers, which has just signed military agreements with Rwanda following the visit of its army chief of staff, is accused by the Congolese authorities of supporting Rwanda's expansionist policy and of adding to the war it is waging against the DRC through the M23.

For the moment, Algiers has not reacted to the summons of its ambassador in Kinshasa. There is a mysterious silence on the part of the Algerian authorities, who are usually quick to retaliate whenever there is an attack on their sovereignty.

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