29 August 2012

Rwanda: Kagame Meets Mozambican President

Photo: Aly Ramji/Mediapix
DAR ES SALAAM/TANZANIA, 6MAY10 - H. E. Armando Emilio Guebuza President of Mozambique at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, May 6, 2010.

PRESIDENT Paul Kagame, yesterday, at Village Urugwiro, received Armando Emilio Guebuza, the President of Mozambique and current Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

During the meeting, the Presidents discussed the current unrest in Eastern DRC and clarified that the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) leads the process to resolve the problems in the DRC, including inviting other organisations to contribute to ongoing efforts to restore peace.

President Guebuza pointed out SADC's preparedness to play a positive role in the process and requested the SADC secretariat to coordinate efforts with ICGLR.

The Mozambican Head of State was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Oldemiro Baloi and the Executive Secretary of SADC, Tomaz Salomao.

"The most important thing is that SADC member states and Great Lakes member states work together to ensure problems faced in eastern DRC can be addressed and resolved based on a dialogue and mutual understanding of the consensus," Salomao, SADC's Executive Secretary said, shortly after the meeting.

The meeting of the two Heads of State came shortly after, the 32nd SADC Summit mandated President Guebuza to visit Rwanda to discuss the allegations that Kigali is supporting rebels in the Congo.

The allegations were documented in an addendum to a UN Group of Experts report. The report has become highly controversial after it emerged that the evidence implicating Rwanda was fabricated.

"The major conclusion from the two Heads of State is that it is paramount, critical and fundamental to work together at a regional level - SADC and ICGLR - and at a bilateral level between Rwanda and DRC."

"President Kagame provided the point of view of the Government of Rwanda on the current situation in the eastern DRC and what role Rwanda has been playing. This message will be conveyed by the Chair of SADC to his colleagues," Salomao added.

Rwanda's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mary Baine, clarified that despite the recent declaration by SADC asking Rwanda 'to stop supporting the M23' - based on the controversial UN Group of experts report - the relationship between Rwanda and the Southern Africa bloc was positive.

"This has not caused any tension whatsoever but the SADC delegation left with an understanding that the two secretariats, (the ICGLR and SADC) would discuss to see how the latter can assist in trying to find a solution to the problems in the eastern DRC," Baine said.

SADC is composed of 15 countries namely; Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Seychelles. Others are South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Five of them namely; Angola, DRC, Tanzania and Zambia are part of ICGLR, composed of 11 countries, including Rwanda.

The ICGLR has taken steps to help resolve the crisis, with five high-profile meetings, including two for Heads of State and Government, resulting in a plan to deploy a neutral African force to help pacify eastern DRC.

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