DRC and Rwanda to resume diplomatic relations

NYARUGENGE - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda are set to resume diplomatic relations nearly a decade after they parted ways.
Minister of foreign Affairs, Rosemary Museminari consults her counterpart from Congo, Alex Tambwe Muamba at Serena Hotel yesterday. (Photo / G.Barya).
Minister of foreign Affairs, Rosemary Museminari consults her counterpart from Congo, Alex Tambwe Muamba at Serena Hotel yesterday. (Photo / G.Barya).

NYARUGENGE - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda are set to resume diplomatic relations nearly a decade after they parted ways.

This was revealed yesterday evening by Alexis Tambwe Mwamba, DRC’s Foreign Affairs Minister shortly before a series of closed door meetings with his Rwandan counterpart Rosemary Museminali at Kigali’s Serena Hotel.

“We have undertaken action to normalise relations between DR Congo and Rwanda, and have moved several stages in the process,” said the DR Congo Minister.

He added that the head of DR Congo’s National Police, General John Numbi had received instructions to remove the people currently living in the Rwandan embassy offices in Kinshasa.

Mwamba also revealed that the DR Congo had sent a team to supervise their embassy in Kigali.

“We should manage to put in place mechanisms for mutual existence and we are here to analyse the major issues between our countries,” he said.

Mwamba led a powerful delegation from the Congo comprising of the Minister of Agriculture Norbert Katintima, head of the national police, Gen. John Numbi and many more.

Among senior Rwandan officials at the meetings were the President’s Special Envoy to The Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Joseph Mutaboba, the Chief Adviser to President Paul Kagame, and senior security officials.

“We shall be discussing important issues about security in the region and Eastern Congo. These include the threat of the FDLR whose facets continue to multiply and the ongoing war between Nkunda’s CNDP-,and the government of DR Congo,” said Museminali during a short press briefing.

She added that Rwanda was ready to participate in whatever way “we can” but stated that there was need to find a political solution to the problems “and this must be agreed upon by all stakeholders involved.”

Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is an outfit comprised of genocide perpetrators while the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) is a rebel group led by dissident General Laurent Nkunda.

Museminali said that there have been several treaties signed by countries in the Great Lakes Region all geared to create and ensure that peace and security prevailed.

Citing the two Nairobi Communiqués, all with resolutions committing neighbouring countries to work towards peace in the region, she said that the Congolese government had the responsibility to analyse the situation in her territory so as achieve stability.

‘We want to solve the problems concerning peace and security in the region but Rwanda can only contribute to this process based on the analysis done by the DRC government in regard to the war between them and CNDP,”she said.

She added that her meeting with the DR Congo delegation was one of problem solving and called upon the DR Congo government to “solve the problem of the Interahamwe” which are at the centre of security problems in the country.

On his part, Mwamba said that his government has invited the Rwandan government to go to Kinshasa for further discussions and brief them on his government’s meeting with the South African Development Community (SADC) in Johannesburg over the weekend to discuss the recent outbreak of war in Eastern Congo between Nkunda’s forces and the DR Congo government troops in which 250,000 people have been displaced.

Mwamba said that DR Congo along with her ‘friendly States’ were determined to flush out negative forces in Eastern Congo in the ‘near future’.

These forces include, Interahamwe, FDLR and United Freedom Movement-Inkingi who stand accused for their role in the Rwandan Genocide.

“We are open in Kinshasa to Rwanda’s intelligence officers to be part of the military structure we have organised to eradicate the FDLR problem. We are working with MONUC-UN Peace Keeping Forces in DR Congo to solve this issue and we want your intelligence community to be part of the process. We shall send our elite troops to flush out the FDLR in order to avoid this situation going on,” he said.

Mwamba also said that his government had organised an evaluation team to assess the effort to deal with FDLR beginning this Sunday. He also stated that there were informal contacts between his government and General Laurent Nkunda.

“We know what he demands,” stated the DR Congo foreign minister.

Eastern DR Congo continues to live under a state of insecurity since the end of the 1994 Genocide. The masterminds of the Rwanda Genocide fled to this largely isolated region where government control is weak.

This state of affairs has led to the evolvement of the Interahamwe and the FDLR to form a myriad bandit groups that have ensured insecurity for the Tutsi in the region.

The UN set up a 17,000 peace keeping force to ensure that peace and security prevailed in the region but these forces especially from Pakistan and India have been accused of supporting the FDLR by exchanging arms for minerals.

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