Foreign Affairs Minister Rosemary Museminali is scheduled to fly to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital, Kinshasa, at the end this month for the routine “four plus four” bilateral sessions.
Speaking to The New Times on Tuesday, the Minister said that the pullout from DRC by the Rwandan army mid-February did not signify the end of the bilateral talks between the two countries.
She said that the next round of talks in Kinshasa will take place on March 27-28 and top on the agenda will be the consolidation of the recent successes as well as further strengthening bilateral relations.
Museminali also pointed out later in a subsequent telephone interview Wednesday, that the Kinshasa meeting will also look into Gen. Laurent Nkunda’s case.
“This too will be discussed… there is a technical team that was earlier set up to look into the modalities of his transfer, they too will present us with their report,” she said.
During a previous meeting meeting early February, the Rwandan Government had agreed to hand over to Congolese authorities the General who was arrested by the Rwandan army in January.
“I will be in Kinshasa for the next bilateral meeting – the usual four-plus-four meetings that we have been having and, which we want to really expand and make into bigger bilateral meetings,” Museminali stressed.
Initiated last year, the “four plus four” bilateral framework involved four top officials from both countries.
It was this team that laid ground for the just concluded joint military plan to do away with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation Rwanda (FDLR), a rebel outfit based in eastern DRC.
The FDLR are comprised mainly of perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.
“The issues on our agenda will be, how do we carry forward the successes that we had in the joint operations, that is, to consolidate peace, not only in North Kivu but also in South Kivu in as far as dealing with the FDLR is concerned.”
“We know that right now the DRC government is continuing to pursue the FDLR to make sure there is peace, together with MONUC,” Museminali said, noting that her delegation will also be updated on the progress. The discussions will also look beyond peace and security.
“We’ll also be looking at development issues – how can we continue to cooperate development-wise, politically and diplomatically, how do we build CEPGL into a strong organisation, how do were open our embassies, how do we look at the long-term relationship?”
CEPGL is a sub-regional organization created in 1976 by three countries – Rwanda, Burundi and DRC, but it has been defunct for years and the trio are working to revive it.