26 November 2012

Rwanda: Ex-UK Premier Pledges Rwanda Support

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the weekend let his stance regarding the Rwanda-DRC fiasco well known: the people of Rwanda must not suffer for political games in the DRC.

In a press communiqué published on his website, Blair - a longtime ally of Rwanda - reminded everyone hell-bent on seeing the Rwandan government sanctioned that the real victim will be the "ordinary Rwandan people" who continue a remarkable journey of revitalization 18 years on, after the horrors of 1994.

"Tony Blair and his Africa charity, AGI, work to support the Government of Rwanda to improve the social and economic development of the country - working on crucial issues like agriculture and access to electricity. This is making a difference to the lives of ordinary people" the communiqué read in part.

Blair's office also pointed out that Rwanda remains one of the most efficient users of foreign aid, and had only words of praise for Rwanda's sterling record of development and recovery.

"Rwanda has gone from a country racked by genocide to one that has lifted over a million people out of poverty, with rapid improvements in health and education. What is more, a recent study by the British Government showed that Rwanda was one of the most effective users of aid in the world."

He concluded by stating that the proper channel through which this conflict and situation can be assuaged is through the region's International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and welcomed recent progress made on this front.

"Of course the situation in Goma is concerning and we fully support the calls made by the countries of the Great Lakes and especially by DRC, Rwanda and Uganda yesterday (Friday) for M23 to withdraw immediately. But we disagree that essential work for the people in Rwanda should stop because of the dispute in the Congo. The proper thing is to sort out that issue through the ICGLR and the international community, and to continue to support the progress of Rwanda in the lives of the people."

A summit of regional leaders was on Saturday held in the Ugandan capital Kampala to address the escalating DRC situation, with a number of resolutions reached, as per a statement released after the talks.

The M23 rebels are now required to withdraw at least 20 kilometers north of Goma and the U.N. mission in the DRC, MONUSCO, should monitor the buffer zone.

The statement also calls on the Congolese government to listen to and resolve the grievances of the rebels, who took control of the city of Goma on Tuesday last week.

The M23 group was named for a peace deal reached on March 23, 2009, which it accuses the government of violating.

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