Rwanda condemns Syria violence
Rwanda has strongly condemned the ongoing violence meted out by the Syrian government against its own people, and expressed support for the aspirations of the Syrian people, who have staged peaceful protests as part of what is now known as the Arab Spring.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Louise Mushikiwabo, was among 40 foreign ministers who attended the Second Conference of the Group of Friends of the Syrian People in Istanbul, Turkey on Sunday.
"While it is true that the independence and sovereignty of States are fundamental to international relations […] the fight and the right to live – the responsibility to protect – are even more critical for the survival of the community of nations,” Mushikiwabo told the meeting according to a communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Mushikiwabo said Rwanda “would not stand by as people face inhumane treatment and threats of extermination”, stressing that all countries are obliged to honour the legitimate and rightful aspirations of their citizens, according to the statement.
Rwanda is a key player in international peacekeeping missions, including in Darfur, Sudan, where it maintains more than 3200 troops.
Reports indicate that at least 34 people, including 16 civilians, were killed on Monday as Syrian forces pressed their crackdown on dissent, pounding rebel bastions and clashing with insurgents near the Turkish border.
Meanwhile, Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, has said that President Bashar al-Assad accepted an April 10 deadline to start implementing a peace plan, which involves withdrawing troops and heavy weaponry from protest cities.
More than 9000 people have died in the year-long violence, according to UN estimates.
Last year, a wave of Arab Spring protests overthrew long-serving regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, whose then leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in the process.
Contact email: james.munyaneza[at]newtimes.co.rw sunny.ntayombya[at]newtimes.co.rw