VILLAGE URUGWIRO - Both Alan Doss, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC and head of MONUC and Roland Van de Geer, the EU’s Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region Wednesday acknowledged that implementing the Nairobi accord is a difficult undertaking.
This was disclosed in a press conference at Village Rugwiro, shortly after the duo together with Amb. Richard Sezibera,
President Paul Kagame’s Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region and others, held preparatory talks for an up-coming Kinshasa meeting.
While briefly [and hurriedly] explaining the framework of their meeting in Kigali, Van de Geer said it was partly a routine meeting to prepare for the meeting in Kinshasa on Monday where all the parties engaged in resolving the DRC rebellion will convene to iron out issues on disarming rebels of the Forces Démocratiques de la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), in line with last year’s Nairobi Accord high on the agenda.
Van de Geer pointed out that implementing what was agreed on in Nairobi was slow and difficult and also acknowledged that there were serious challenges although he stressed; “but we are moving in the right direction.”
“There are many blocks and they are in the Congo. Regretfully, we cannot dictate terms. The final control of the rebels we feel, will come from the DRC government, We will need to talk to them,” Geer said when asked about where the blockage lay.
“This in reality is a very difficult process,” he said insisting that there still remains room for optimism as regards attaining peaceful disarmament and repatriation.
Both Van de Geer and Doss insisted that the fact that there were peace negotiations in progress was a positive mark saying that if things continue to go as they are now, some real progress would be seen come 2009.
“We have always insisted that the way forward must lie in the political process, and the objective is clear; to restore state authority in the DRC,” Doss said.
“Is the Rwanda government satisfied? No! Simply because we would like to have all our citizens back and out of the jungles of the DRC,” Sezibera pointed out what he made of the present situation.
“The conditions for repatriating these people are in place and a number of them have been fully re-integrated into leadership positions,” he emphasized.
Doss agreed with Sezibera, “We would like to see all forces disarmed.”
“This is the moment and we have to continue. We are optimistic but have to underline that it will take time,” Van de Geer said, stressing that presently, there is less organized fighting but the human rights situation remained very serious.
“It will require time and effort … we cannot give you guarantees,” he said.
Later, Sezibera entertained more questions from reporters and clarified on several other issues, President Kagame’s recent visit to Burundi among them. He underscored that it was not about discussing regional problems but was entirely focused on strengthening relations between the two countries.
On the issue of Burundi nationals implicated in the Rwanda genocide of 1994, he particularly said there were mechanisms to deal with the issue between the two countries and the process was in progress.
“It is not a political problem but a judicial issue,” he said, emphasizing that the two countries were working together on it.
Sezibera also dismissed allegations that the matter was related to former President Ntaryamira’s death in the plane crash with president habyarimana.
He said circumstances surrounding the plane crash would be clarified when a full investigation on the matter finalized and insisted there was no problem between the two countries over the matter.
“There is no problem between the two governments on this. Even if the Burundi government wanted to follow up on this commission’s work, they are welcome,” he said.