New York — The crisis in the eastern DRC is an African problem that can be solved by Africans, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame told the United Nations today.
Speaking at a High Level Meeting convened by UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon, President Kagame invited delegates to back peace efforts spearheaded by the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
“Regional initiatives are key to finding a lasting solution and anyone who wants to help should support them because they are the best option we have. All that is needed is to support, not supplant, their efforts,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame warned against “externalising” the DRC crisis — blaming external actors for the problem and seeking external solutions — when such an approach “effectively absolves blame from those with primary responsibility”.
“The many armed groups in the country are the outcome of a complex, long-standing historical reality. Therefore singling out one group out of many is running away from the actual issue.”
Rwanda rejects allegations of involvement in the current mutiny, and President Kagame stressed that solving the crisis will be impossible if the international community continues to define the issue erroneously.
“A durable solution will clearly come from addressing the real issues of governance in DRC and dealing with the genuine grievances of its citizens, even as efforts to end the current crisis are exerted.”
President Kagame described as “perplexing” the degree to which the international community focuses on the current mutiny at the expense of the much broader challenges present in the DRC, in the eastern region and beyond. In particular, he cited the the plight of Congolese of Rwandan descent who remain targets for rape, torture and murder as a result of their ethnic origin, and yet are mostly ignored by the DRC government, human rights organisations and NGOs.
“The problems in DRC are complex and longstanding, and therefore, applying simplistic or expedient solutions to resolve them, without going to their historical and political roots, will only gloss over them but not deal with them definitively.”
"Rwanda stands ready to play its part in finding a peaceful end to the crisis in the DRC, particularly as part of a durable regional solution."