Louis Michel acknowledges progress towards peace in region

VILLAGE URUGWIRO - Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Thursday acknowledged the current positive drive towards peace in the Great Lakes region. He highlighted this, shortly after meeting with President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village, where he had come to, “discuss and have an exchange of views” with the President on matters relevant to, and including solving the region’s security woes. “The momentum is shifting. I am pretty sure about that, I feel that there is a strong good will on both sides to improve relations and to work for complete improvement and for solutions,” Michel said.
Louis Michel speaking to journalists yesterday. (Photo PPU).
Louis Michel speaking to journalists yesterday. (Photo PPU).

VILLAGE URUGWIRO - Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid Thursday acknowledged the current positive drive towards peace in the Great Lakes region.

He highlighted this, shortly after meeting with President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village, where he had come to, “discuss and have an exchange of views” with the President on matters relevant to, and including solving the region’s security woes.

“The momentum is shifting. I am pretty sure about that, I feel that there is a strong good will on both sides to improve relations and to work for complete improvement and for solutions,” Michel said.

He added: “I have had one very positive perception and a very positive feeling, I really am fully confident that president Kagame and his government and his people, are making all efforts in order to help.”

His comments come on the heels of the regional countries having started to implement a bi-lateral agreement, the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission which aims to root out and disarm armed groups like the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The December 10 Kigali meeting of the – Foreign ministers from Rwanda, Uganda DR Congo and Burundi signed a communiqué, agreeing on how to eliminate the security threat posed to the region by illegal armed groups.

“The first concern is of course that we have to find the best way to resolve the problem of the FDLR,” Michel noted.

A big concern to Rwanda, FDLR, is a group of armed elements formerly members of the ex-FAR and Interahamwe militia, who spearheaded the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

They later fled into neighbouring DR Congo where they continue to pillage, kill, and rape young girls and women as revealed on Wednesday by DR Congo’s Foreign Minister, Alexis Thambwe Mwamba.

The ministers called for the urgent implementation of the Security Council’s resolution 1804 imposing travel and financial sanctions on FDLR leaders and urged quick and full implementation of all its provisions. Also in place is a joint Rwanda-DRCongo operational military strategy to deal with FDLR.

The DR Congo is showing a strong commitment to re-establish severed diplomatic relations with the other three countries by early next year.

“The mood is different, in a certain sense, I feel both (Rwanda and DR Congo) are fully confident, fully conscious,” Michel said, emphasizing that both countries’ compulsion “to work together because it is their destiny as neighbours.”

“They have in certain circumstances paved way for promising perspectives which can change completely the destiny of people in the region.”

The Commissioner acknowledged that Rwanda expects solutions to be found in order to tackle the root causes of the eastern Congo problems, FDLR, while stressing the importance of resolving the problem not only for DR Congo’s sake but also for the entire region.

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