Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

Rwanda Calls for Political Dialogue As Goma Falls to M23

Rebel forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo have captured the regional capital, Goma. According to the government, the fighters are backed by ... ( Resource: DR Congo Rebels Take Control of Goma

The government in Kinshasa and M23 rebels should desist from further hostilities that have harmful repercussions not only on Congolese citizens but on Rwandans along the border Democratic Republic of Congo, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has advised.

Mushikiwabo, who is also the government spokesperson said political dialogue was more important than ever after the fall of eastern city of Goma to M23 yesterday morning, and that recent events should refocus attention and commitment to the ongoing ICGLR process:

"What happened in Goma is a clear indication that the military option has failed to bring about a solution to this crisis and that political dialogue is the only way to resolve the ongoing conflict. Rwanda is fully committed to the peace process under ICGLR and we continue to work with member states in the interest of a full and durable peace in our region," she said from Kampala, the Ugandan capital.

Yesterday, M23 rebels took over control of Goma after days of renewed clashes with DRC soldiers. The take over prompted President Kabila to rush to Kampala in order to hold talks with President Museveni, the chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

President Paul Kagame is also expected to attend the talks.

Mushikiwabo pointed out that there has to be a new approach to ensure that there is no further deterioration in the current situation.

"By focussing on the blame game and ignoring the root causes of conflict in the DRC, the international community has missed the opportunity to help the DRC restore peace and security for its citizens and bring about much needed stability in the Great Lakes Region. We just cannot afford to continue along a path that has failed to produce results," she said, and pointed out that the Rwanda will continue to work closely with UN agencies and other partners in the country to provide and facilitate humanitarian assistance to those affected by recent events.

Media reports say scores of heavily armed rebels walked through the city unchallenged as United Nations peacekeepers watched and small groups of residents greeted them.

But news of the capture of Goma was also met by violent protests and attempted attacks on the Rwandan and Ugandan embassies in Kinshasa.

Uganda's Foreign Affairs minister Henry Okello Oryem, yesterday said unknown people tried to force their way to both the Ugandan and Rwandan embassies, but were driven away by both DRC police and the military operatives.

Security has now been stepped up at both embassies to avert any such violent attempts.

Ambassador of Uganda to Rwanda, HE Richard Kabonero told The Rwanda Focus that despite the attempted attacks, Uganda will continue to play its role in the search for permanent regional peace.

"As you are aware, President Joseph Kabila has arrived in Kampala to consult with the chair of ICGLR," he said.

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InFocus

UN Calls on Congo Rebels to Leave Goma

As the Security Council demanded that rebels of the M23 group pull out of the eastern DR Congo city of Goma and Uganda attempted to mediate between Rwanda and the DR Congo, the ... Read more »