• Cites failures by the International Community • Says meeting with Kabila unnecessary
VILLAGE URUGWIRO - President Paul Kagame yesterday gave his position on the ongoing crisis in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a crisis he mainly attributed to the failure of the International Community and the leadership of the DRC.
During his regular press conference that was held at Urugwiro Village yesterday, the President said that the International Community has diverted from the root cause of the insurgency that has driven hundreds of thousands out of their homes.
“They have been running away from the problem for reasons only known to them and claim that the solution lies upon my meeting with President (Joseph) Kabila. What have I to do with what is going on in the Congo?” questioned the President.
He was reacting to recent calls by several international envoys to meet with Kabila in an effort to solve the Congolese crisis; a meeting he said is useless as he has no influence in whatever is taking place there.
“The bad thing is that they know the real problem in Congo; there is MONUC (the United Nations Mission in the DRC) on which over a billion Dollars is spent annually. What is the use of this mission?” he questioned.
“We have our own problems which we are solving on our own, so why should we be made to carry the burden of the Congolese?” he wondered.
He said that the solution to the problems in the DR Congo should be solved by the Congolese themselves as they are the ones who know exactly what the problem is and its root cause. He, however, added that this can be possible if there is a leadership that is ready to tackle the problem as it needs to be handled.
“But here we have a leadership that has failed to address the problems and are instead always looking for the solution to their problems from outside…it is not my duty to tell the DRC leadership to think differently in the quest for the solution,” he told members of the press.
Kagame also reiterated Rwanda’s concerns about the insecurity in the DR Congo, especially the continued existence of elements responsible for the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.
These elements are grouped into the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and they are fighting alongside the Congolese armed forces (FARDC).
“Rwanda is seriously concerned about the existence of the FDLR in the Congo, but what is surprising is that this International Community knows the threat posed by these elements and nothing is being done to check it,” he stressed.
On assertions that Rwanda is using the existence of the FDLR as a pretext to maintain influence in the region, the President, questioned the motives of those who seek to diminish the threat of Rwandan armed groups based in the DRC.
“Do they want to say that the FDLR is not in Congo? Has anybody given proof that they are not there and they are not fighting alongside the DRC army?” he asked.
The FDLR has been named by the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission (TPJC) as a negative force while the United States listed it as a terrorist group.
The TPJC is an internationally-backed regional security platform that brings together Rwanda, the DRC, Burundi and Uganda.
President Kagame also commented on the resurgence of the fighting between the FARDC and the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), a rebel organisation led by General Laurent Nkunda attributing its existence on a government that is unwilling to listen to its people.
“This is one of the problems that Congo has to solve on its own without ambiguity,” Kagame said.
On recent reports of Congolese soldiers who shelled the Rwandan territory, the President said that this was another way of provoking Rwanda in yet another effort to divert the world from the actual problem.
“They may have done it to provoke us into shooting back but we never did such…I myself talked to President Kabila about the issue and some of our officials met over this issue and they confessed that indeed their soldiers did it,” he said.
The President added that after they talked about the incident, it never recurred again. He called for an immediate solution to the insurgency in the Eastern Congo, a crisis he said, is not only a threat to the DRC but to the region as a whole.
Other issues that came up in the press conference include the just-concluded Tripartite Summit that brought together regional blocs that included the East Africa Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He said that among the topics that were discussed with some SADC leaders was the DRC.
“We discussed the issue and the Chairman of SADC, who is also the South African President, took note of this. I think they will discuss this in their forthcoming SADC meeting,” said Kagame.