New UN Great Lakes envoy calls on Kagame

The UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame with whom they discussed a range of issues, including the elimination of the threat posed by the FDLR.
Amb. Djinnit addresses the media at Village Urugwiro in Kigali yesterday. (Courtesy)
Amb. Djinnit addresses the media at Village Urugwiro in Kigali yesterday. (Courtesy)

The UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, yesterday paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame with whom they discussed a range of issues, including the elimination of the threat posed by the FDLR.

Djinnit, who in July replaced former Irish President Mary Robinson, is currently touring the regional countries.

After his meeting with the President, the Algerian said during his tenure, he will be guided by the decisions of regional leaders mainly through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the UN Security Council.

Concerning the DR Congo-based FDLR, a militia group made up of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, the envoy said he would back the position by the mini-summit held in Luanda last month.

“The Luanda meeting gave a deadline at the end of the year with a midterm review at the end of which the military option will be invoked,” Djinnit  said.

“That is the decision of the region, the (ICGLR) presidential statements said the same thing, I have said the same thing in DR Congo, so we will be operating under that Framework.”

Addressing the media after the meeting, Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo said FDLR was not a mystery or a complicated group to deal with; what had been lacking was the political will.

“What has to be put forth in a more visible and serious manner is the political will to get rid of the group,” Mushikiwabo said.

‘Frustrating invisible hands’

She said what has been lacking and over which Rwanda has expressed its frustration in the last few months is that when decisions are made on ending the threat of FDLR, there seems to be “invisible hands that seem to want to give it a new lease of life and to cleanse it.”

“Some people in the region have gone as far as saying that it is a freedom fighting group which is outrageous,” the minister said.  

She said together with the United Nations mission in DR Congo, Kigali successfully been able to repatriate more than 11,000 former FDLR fighters, through a tested process of rehabilitation and reintegration.

The minister said that the idea that combatants are mixed with families is an operational issue and should not stop anybody from taking action as it was decided at various levels. It is an issue for the military experts to decide on. 

“We have worked for peace for the last 20 years through leadership and the people which we will not stop,” Mushikiwabo said.

Meanwhile, Smail Chergui, the African Union commissioner for peace and security, who also paid a courtesy call on President Kagame, yesterday, commended Rwanda for its efforts to help ensure peace and stability in countries facing conflicts.

He promised to promote efforts for peace and stability in the region by bringing to an end militia groups like FDLR and others that threaten the stability of the region.

About Amb. Djinnit

Amb. Djinnit was appointed UN Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region on July 17, succeeding former Irish President Mary Robinson. The Algerian diplomat has previously served as Commissioner for Peace and Security for the African Union, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of the UN office for West Africa. In the late 1990s, he worked with the US government on the Ethiopia-Eritrea negotiations.

 

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