Rwanda-DR Congo vow to tackle FDLR on all fronts

Minister says joint operation was success Rwanda and the DRC will continue to pursue the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels despite the climax of the joint operation by the two countries aimed at routing out the rebels from the eastern part of DRC.

Minister says joint operation was success

Rwanda and the DRC will continue to pursue the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels despite the climax of the joint operation by the two countries aimed at routing out the rebels from the eastern part of DRC.

In an interview with The New Times, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rosemary Museminali said that the two countries will continue to work together especially on the diplomatic front, to ensure that the FDLR threat is completely dealt with.

“A stable Congo means a stable Rwanda, we will continue efforts through the good bilateral relations between our countries, to ensure that security is restored once and for all,” said Museminali.

Museminali said that Rwanda and the DRC have fully restored bilateral relations and will reopen their embassies in both capitals to facilitate diplomatic relations between the countries that were strained a few years back.

She added that among other things, the rebirth of other processes such as the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL) is a sign that the two countries will not allow the FDLR to continue posing a security threat.

CEPEGL is an economic bloc bringing together Rwanda, DRC and Burundi which was until recently, inactive.

Museminali also revealed that the Government of Rwanda welcomed the decision by the government of DRC to continue piling pressure on the remnants of the FDLR still crammed in the jungles of Eastern DRC even after the withdrawal of Rwandan troops.

The Congolese army alongside the UN Peacekeeping Force announced that it will launch a new wave of operations against the FDLR insurgents, mainly made up of Ex-FAR Interahamwe remnants accused of participating in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, who refused to surrender instead opting to move up further into Northern Kivu.

Museminali lauded the joint operation codenamed ‘Umoja Wetu’, calling it a victory for the two countries against a ‘common enemy’.

“The first success scored is basically us joining hands with DRC to tackle a common enemy, the FDLR who have destabilised peace in our countries. That means that we see things the same way,” Museminali remarked.

She also noted that ending the conflict in Eastern DRC and integrating the CNDP and other former rebel groups into the national army is another success scored by the operation that started mid last month while hundreds of FDLR fighters surrendered and were repatriated by to Rwanda along with thousands of other hostages.

Museminari was however quick to say that the job is far from being complete, calling upon the International Community to play its role in ending this conflict especially by arresting and extraditing the top leadership of FDLR, still living comfortably in European countries.

“Much as we have seen this progress, we always think that there is a lot to be done especially on the part of the International Community. We (Rwanda and DRC) have done what we can but we still think the International Community hasn’t played its role” concluded Museminali.

Celebrations to mark the conclusion of the joint operations are expected today in the North Kivu provincial capital Goma.

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