US backs call for sanctions on FDLR

KIGALI - The United States has pledged support to efforts by regional governments to secure UN Security Council sanctions against the ex-FAR/ Interahamwe militias who are now grouped under the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).
Arietti speaking yesterday. (Photo/G. Barya)
Arietti speaking yesterday. (Photo/G. Barya)

KIGALI - The United States has pledged support to efforts by regional governments to secure UN Security Council sanctions against the ex-FAR/ Interahamwe militias who are now grouped under the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

The US Ambassador to Rwanda, Michael Arietti, made the disclosure yesterday during a press briefing upon his two years diplomatic tenure in the country.

Arietti who addressed journalists at his residence in Kacyiru said: “We have always been supportive of these sanctions and as a country we have been respecting the sanctions that are already there for some FDLR members who are under international sanctions. These people cannot cross into the US.”

Among those blacklisted is the group’s leader, Ignace Murwanashyaka, who is staying in Germany.

US President George Bush signed an executive order imposing sanctions on seven rebel leaders involved in the conflict in the DRC.

Others blacklisted are Congolese rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda, Khawa Panga Mandro, Viktor Anatolijevitch Bout, Sanjivan Singh Ruprah, Dimitri, Igorevich Popov and Douglas Mpano.

However, Arietti said that efforts to blacklist all FDLR members are still going on.
Majority of the rebel members are largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide.

Heads of State from Great Lakes countries during their Wednesday meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reiterated an earlier call by Rwanda and DRC urging the Security Council to pass a special resolution imposing sanctions against FDLR members.

The meeting which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was attended by Presidents Paul Kagame, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) State Minister for Interior Dennis Karume.

Meanwhile, Arietti said that the absence of Congolese leader Joseph Kabila in the Addis Ababa summit could not be seen as an impediment to the peace process.

“He sent his excuses to the meeting because he was cerebrating the first year after his election as President and the excuses were accepted, even the people that he delegated are senior ministers…we think there is commitment on behalf of President Kabila,” Arietti said.

The envoy, who still has another year to complete his term of service in Rwanda, said that his country has also been closely working with the Rwandan Government to sensitise foreign investors to come and invest in Rwanda.

US leading coffee dealer, Starbucks, recently announced that it would set up a farmers’ support centre in the country next year, the second of its kind on the continent.
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