URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the renewal of relations between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
He made the remarks yesterday during his meeting with President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village as part of his nine-day trip to Africa.
The UN boss told a brief news conference that he congratulated the President for cooperating with the DRC government in efforts to pacify the Congolese eastern region.
Ki-Moon commended the recently concluded joint military operations between the two countries to hunt down rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and called for more mutual cooperation in ensuring regional security.
“I expressed to President Kagame my satisfaction at the step he has taken to open a new chapter in Rwanda-DRC relations,” Ban said.
DRC allowed Rwandan troops to enter its territory in January to carry out joint operations aimed at ending the FDLR insurgency that has been accused of killing innocent Congolese civilians, raping, looting and causing different forms of insecurity in the region.
President Kagame told journalists in the news briefing together with Moon yesterday that the current cooperation between Rwanda and the DRC was not influenced by any external forces.
“There hasn’t been any country involved in the dialogues between the two countries, they are entirely on our own,” he said.
Rwandan troops pulled out of the DRC last Wednesday after helping their counterparts there in destroying positions of the FDLR, a rebel group with military bases in Congolese jungles whose members are accused of responsibility in Rwanda’s 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
Much as he congratulated the joint military operation for having been successful without creating a humanitarian crisis, the UN chief asked for more support from Rwanda and the DRC to help the UN mission in Congo (MONUC) provide protection to the Congolese people.
“We should be able to protect more lives and properties of the civilian population,” he said.
The governments of Rwanda and DRC said that their joint military operation against the FDLR helped to repatriate thousands of Rwandan refugees back home and destroy FDLR’s positions.
At least 5,000 most of whom former captives of the rebels, were repatriated during the month-long operations.