1 May 2008

Rwanda: Germany Consults Country On Darfur

Kigali — The German government is consulting Rwanda on how best the Darfur peace mission could be made more effective, a Cabinet minister has said.

The Minister of Information in the Office of the Prime Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, said Germans were seeking Rwanda's advice because the latter had successfully taken part in various peacekeeping missions.

Germany credited Rwanda for her efforts to stabilize Sudan's Darfur region.

"It came from the German leadership that they wanted us to advise them on how to better shape the hybrid United Nations-Africa Union Mission in Darfur," Mushikiwabo said this week.

"It is quite encouraging and it shows the level of trust and confidence the Government of Germany has in us," Mushikiwabo said.

Rwanda has over 3000 troops in Darfur. The minister was briefing journalists on what transpired during President Paul Kagame's four-day official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany at her office in Kimihurura.

She said President Kagame told his hosts that most times peacekeeping missions did not match the realities on the ground.

"President Kagame told the German government leader that such missions should be shaped in a way that matches the realities on the ground," Mushikiwabo said.

She continued that Kagame told German leaders that the problem had been a disconnect between what been agreed upon, the rules of engagement, the financial means and the reality on the ground.

The minister added that representatives of both governments would soon meet to determine what area the European nation could assist Rwanda.

On investment, Mushikiwabo said that there was a renewed commitment from Germany to help Rwanda attract private investments as it seeks to build its economy.

"Many investors were saying that Rwanda has done well and wanted to help. They asked us where they should put money and we explained to them," she indicated.

"We asked them to invest in tourism, the financial sector, mining, education, health, among other sectors," she added.

Kagame was on a reciprocal visit after his German counterpart, Horst Koehler, visited Rwanda in February this year.

The President also met the Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, German parliamentarians, and other public and private sector officials.

Germany is among Rwanda's main development partners. Koehler praised Kagame for his dedication in transforming the country after the 1994 Genocide.

During the visit, the issue of the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) also came up, and Germany promised to act against FDLR leaders and Genocide fugitives residing there.

FDLR is a genocidal group operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its leader Ignace Murwanashyaka and others live in Germany.

On this, Mushikiwabo said the Head of State explained that he was not supposed to dictate to the German authorities what they should do but asked them to pay close attention to the matter.

Discussions also touched other issues pertinent to Rwanda and to the region, such as peace and stability in the Great Lakes region, and global food crisis.

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