Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

Rwanda: World Should Not Forget Root Cause of the Eastern DRC Crisis - Mushikiwabo

The reason why Rwanda is still accused of being behind the Democratic Republic of Congo's problems is because the world seems to have forgotten the root causes of the crisis in the region Foreign Affairs and Cooperation minister Louise Mushikiwabo has said.

According to Mushikiwabo, the root causes of the Eastern DRC unrest are both the country (DRC)'s history and the mismanagement of Rwanda's 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

"If the international community had taken into consideration DRC's history and had fought the 1994 Rwandan genocide, none of what is happening the eastern DRC would be happening now," Minister Mushikiwabo said while briefing Rwanda's parliamentarians on the Eastern DRC crisis which has been harming the regional security for the last six months.

However, she admitted that there is no reason why the issue should not be resolved since many partners (mainly regional) are trying as hard as they can to forge peace and security in the region.

She reiterated that since the issue began in March-April, DRC and Rwanda have been hosting bilateral talks, with Rwanda playing an advisory role.

"We have met (DRC and Rwanda) seven times, ICGLR heads of states have had five ad hoc meetings, the UN Security Council has hosted so many meetings and Rwanda on its part has explained through documents and letters (with facts) that it is in no way involved in the unrest," she said.

"We believe that this issue will be such through negotiations, engagements, dialogue and meetings all aiming at change of mindsets for those people who don't want to listen. For the good of Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region, warring parties in DRC should talk and negotiate."

Mushikiwabo announced that DRC has informed ICGLR that it has constituted a team to start negotiations with M23 in Uganda as soon as possible. "Our countries have had headway towards returning peace in Easter DRC but we face a problem of parties with different interests." She added that Rwanda is determined to remain part of this process but if everything fails, "Our obligation will be to defend our borders."

Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Minister stresses the ICGRL initiative to solve the crisis must be supported other than being undermined. "If this ICGLR headway fails, the situation will be worse than it is now."

Mushikiwabo told the MPs that Rwanda is now becoming a victim of the conflict in DRC with infiltrators (FDLRC) taking advantage to attack the country.

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