A visiting 21-man delegation of Senior US Military officers has praised the achievements of the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF), particularly the force’s peacekeeping efforts, saying that Rwanda is contributing greatly to the restoration of security on the continent.
Rwanda sent troops to the joint African Union/United Nations Hybrid mission in Darfur.
The mission was authorized by Security Council resolution 1769 of 31 July 2007. The Council, acting under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, authorized UNAMID to take necessary action to support the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement.
UNAMID formally began operations on 31 December 2007.
The Americans, who are in the country on a three-day study trip, said that RDF has proven to be a force committed to putting the interests of the people first and pledged even further partnership between the RDF and the US Army.
Addressing the press shortly after meeting with RDF’s senior officials, the leader of the delegation, retired Air Force General Joseph W Ashy, said that the US Army is proud of the progress made by the Rwandan army.
The group consists of officers at the rank of Brigadier General, Senior Colonels and 3-Star Generals from the US Army National Defence University.
“We have been so much inspired by the RDF. Our mission here is to look at what the RDF offers to the US and help Rwanda,” said Ashy. “Particularly we are here to look at how we can work together in future.”
The US Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington, said the visit to Rwanda is a special one since they chose to visit Africa and particularly Rwanda, which implies that the two countries have close partnership.
Air Force Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Charles Muhire who hosted the delegation at the RDF headquarters, said that he presented to the delegation the policies, achievements and plans of the RDF.
“The cooperation between the two forces (RDF and the US Army) makes the world a better place since both forces are determined to peace building,” said Muhire.
Meanwhile, before heading to the RDF headquarters, the delegation visited Gisozi Genocide Memorial site and condemned the Rwandan genocide and the international community for not stopping it.
Ashy praised the current government for restoring peace in the country and reconciling its nationals.
The delegation’s visit is part of the military cooperation arrangement between the US Army and the RDF.
The US army has also facilitated the RDF Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as other military training arrangements.
Recently, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba to head the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur starting Sept. 1.
Nyamvumba, will succeed Gen. Martin Luther Agwai of Nigeria who has served as force commander since the joint peacekeeping mission was established in 2007. The UNAMID mission is to try to help end the war that began in 2003 when rebel groups in Darfur took up arms against the government, complaining of discrimination and neglect.
U.N. officials say up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes, with many now living in camps.