RUBAVU — The presidential special envoy to the Great lakes region, Dr. Richard Sezibera, has asked the DRC and Rwandan governments to give credence to the Joint verification mechanism [JVM], saying it would improve their troubled relationship.
He called for continuous dialogue and close cooperation between the two governments to contain counter-accusations.
Sezibera said this on thursday, while officially opening a two-day security meeting at Serena hotel in Gisenyi.
The DRC Presidential Special Envoy Serephin Ngweje, MONUC representatives, delegates from the African union and officials of the United States government attended the meeting, aimed at discussing the current security situation in the region. Formed in 2004, JVM was set up to address diplomatic concerns between the two countries.
“Both countries held suspicions and counter-accusations against each other, such as DRC’s accusations that our troops were operating on their soils. We have always had concern over the FDLR’s operations in DRC which is one of the reasons this commission was set up to periodically meet and jointly examine and address those problems,” he explained.
He said the meeting would also address the current hostility of Congolese soldiers towards Rwandans in Goma, who have on several occasions been arrested and detained in ‘safe houses’ over allegations of connection with Nkunda.
Asked about the allegations that Rwanda was backing Nkunda, leading to his recent military success against government troops, Sezibera dismissed the allegations as baseless.
“Nkunda is a Congolese who is having problems with his own government, there is no way we would mingle ourselves into those affairs. Our only concern is the FDLR that is operating in DRC, and we are doing everything possible to solve the issues through dialogue with the DRC government.”
He said, adding that DRC government was capable of handling Nkunda’s problem without external support. Responding to the question, why the Congolese government was reluctant to disarm FDLR rebels, Ngweje said it was because his government was preocupied with fighting other forces.
“We currently have Nkunda who has refused to disarm, it is a difficult task to resolve both issues at the same time but we hope to solve one at a time.” he said. He likened the current security situation to previous wars involving super powers.
“The current conflict is not the first and the last, there were lots of suspicions and misunderstandings between France and Germany during the world war, but they are now friendly and have taken a significant position in the economic integration in the European Union,” he added.
Ngweje echoed Dr. Sezibera ‘s remarks, showing optimism in the Joint verification mechanism to handle security concerns in the region.
William Swing, of MONUC, commended the two countries for the commitment to mend their relationship, and promised continuous mediation and logistics support such as air tickets during verification meetings.
The Joint Verification mechanism has the mandate to evaluate the steps taken to disarm negative forces against the Rwandan government and restore confidence among the two countries.