Officials from Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda held talks on Saturday aimed at ending a political stand-off between the two countries caused by widespread conflict near their shared border.   

The discussions, held in Angola and mediated by Angolan President João Lourenco, come amid worsening tensions caused by violence carried out by the M23 rebel group in Congo’s east which has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes in an area that has had little respite from conflict for decades.   

Congo has long accused Rwanda of backing the Tutsi-led group, which has attacked the Congolese army near the Rwandan border since 2012. Rwanda denies this.   

A joint statement released late on Saturday said the talks would “maintain the political dialogue between the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Rwanda as a means of resolving the political crisis between the two brotherly countries.”   

The talks will carry on discussions held in July in which the two countries pledged to end hostilities and remove M23 fighters from Congo.   

Diplomatic tensions escalated last month after the group launched a new offensive in North Kivu province and captured the strategic town of Kiwanja, prompting Congolese authorities to expel the Rwandan ambassador.   

Last week, thousands joined anti-Rwanda protests in the eastern city of Goma. 

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