Help Somalia, Kagame says

KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has called on the international community to intervene and have peace restored in the war-ravaged Somalia. Kagame made the call yesterday while officially opening the ongoing 14th session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific and the European Union (ACP-EU) joint Parliamentary Assembly at Serena Hotel Kigali. “It is simply unacceptable that we all watch while people die everyday, in a situation made worse by the fact that Somalia has not had a functioning state for more than a decade,” Kagame said.
President Paul Kagame shakes hands with the René Radembino-Coniquet, the co-president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary assembly after the official opening at Serena Hotel yesterday. (Photo/ G.Barya)
President Paul Kagame shakes hands with the René Radembino-Coniquet, the co-president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary assembly after the official opening at Serena Hotel yesterday. (Photo/ G.Barya)

KIGALI - President Paul Kagame has called on the international community to intervene and have peace restored in the war-ravaged Somalia. Kagame made the call yesterday while officially opening the ongoing 14th session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific and the European Union (ACP-EU) joint Parliamentary Assembly at Serena Hotel Kigali.

“It is simply unacceptable that we all watch while people die everyday, in a situation made worse by the fact that Somalia has not had a functioning state for more than a decade,” Kagame said.

The President said that Rwanda is making her modest contribution to resolve the conflict by training Somali Security Forces.

The situation in Somalia has worsened in the weeks with several factions of warlords attacking the African Union (AU) peacekeepers deployed in the capital Mogadishu.

The AU force, largely made of Ugandan peacekeepers, is currently ill-equipped and lacks in number to control the magnitude of the insurgency, officials say.

Speaking about the Darfur crisis, Kagame said that the situation there has at times shown signs of improvement, more recently with the approval of the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force.

He however said that the joint force needs to be urgently equipped, and properly mandated so that it can undertake its mission.

“Each delay means displacement of thousands of people and lost lives.

Within our own capabilities, we continue to play our role as part of the noted hybrid force,” he said.

Recently, Rwanda dispatched an 800-strong battalion to conflict-torn Darfur that would form part of the hybrid force.

Among other issues to be discussed in the meeting is the role of Gacaca jurisdiction in the process of reconciliation in Rwanda.

President Kagame explained: “As you may know, neither the classic legal infrastructure in Rwanda, nor the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) could provide viable solutions because of the sheer numbers involved.

“It was estimated that it would have taken the conventional court system more than a century to successfully try genocide suspects due to sheers numbers involved.”

 He told participants that Gacaca has served its purpose and would come to a close by the end of the year.
Glenys Kinnock, the co-president of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly said that conflicts in the Great Lakes Region of Africa must be resolved.

“This region has known such turbulence and suffering and where real efforts are being made by the government of Rwanda and DRC to deal with the treat to the regional stability posed by the Eastern Congo,” she said.

The high level conference is expected to examine conflicts across African countries and come up with resolutions that would see several clashes come to an end.

The meeting began after the end of that of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) that came up with resolutions to be tabled in the joint assembly.

Meanwhile Kagame also expressed optimism on the recently signed agreement between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to disarm Rwandan insurgents.

“The agreement that Rwanda signed earlier this month, in which the DRC committed itself to resolve this problem, as well as the pledged support by the international community is cause for optimism – notwithstanding the well-known history of broken promises,” he said

In the agreement signed in Kenyan capital Nairobi, the DRC promised to disarm and expel the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militiamen.

Kagame also hailed participants at the ACP meeting for endorsing the disarmament of the rebels in DRC.

“I acknowledge and appreciate the strong stance taken by the ACP Parliamentary Assembly by passing a resolution calling for the disarmament of the negative forces in the DRC,” the President said.

FDLR militiamen are made up of Interahamwe and Ex-Far soldiers who are responsible for the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.

“The continued presence in that country of the forces that committed Genocide in Rwanda that remains the underlying problem, compounded by governance deficit in the DRC, as well as what seems to be indifference or lack of focus on the part of the international community,” Kagame told participants.

Ends

 

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