GOMA - Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Friday at last agreed to a joint operational plan against the ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia, who spearheaded the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis. The group now goes by the name Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
The historic agreement was reached after a two-day high-level bilateral meeting at Cap Kivu Hotel, a lake side resort in the provincial headquarter town of Goma.
After putting pen to paper, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Rosemary Museminali and her Congolese counterpart, Alexis Tambwe Mwamba, stressed their hope in the new deal.
“I appreciate the strength and momentum our meetings are gathering. We have agreed on how the problem of ex-FAR/Interahamwe will be treated,” said Museminali.
“There is a lot more hope as we look into the future, and there are no doubts that when we meet next in Kigali, there will have been more improvements,” she added.
Mwamba too agreed, as he further highlighted the importance of normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
“Every time we have met, there has been a new improvement in relations. This meeting was for our two countries and it was very important to renew our diplomatic relations,” he said.
For the past two days, delegations from both countries, under the newly set up “four plus four” framework, met following earlier bilateral meetings in Kinshasa and Kigali and, among others, exchanged ideas on issues of common interest especially the security situation in eastern DRC.
A joint communiqué read by Mwamba revealed that a comprehensive operational plan against ex-FAR/Interahamwe had been jointly presented by senior military personnel from both countries.
“Both sides agreed on the operational plan against ex-FAR/Interahamwe prepared jointly by officers from FARDC and RDF and called for its speedy implementation,” the Congolese foreign minister read.
“The two delegations appreciated the progress towards the normalization of bilateral diplomatic relations and regional economic cooperation,” says the statement.
It adds that Rwanda reaffirmed its commitment to start diplomatic relations and the DRC committed to reopening embassies with Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi early next year.
On December 12, DRC will announce representatives to the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) during a meeting in Bujumbura to complete the organization’s administrative organs.
Created 1976, CEPGL is a sub-regional organization made up of Rwanda, Burundi and DRC with the aims of insuring the safety of member states, favoring the creation and development of activities of public interest, promoting trade and establishing the cooperation in all the domains of the political, economic and social life.
The Goma meet also agreed that the governors of North Kivu (DRC) and the Western province (Rwanda) meet regularly to discuss the prevailing situation in their respective provinces and issues of common interests.