Rwanda, CAR Agree to Strengthen Cooperation

8 February 2021

Rwanda and Central African Republic (CAR) are committed to cement bilateral cooperation between the two countries, including areas such as economic development, the two foreign ministers have announced.

They made the remarks on Monday, February 8, in Kigali during a press briefing related to the working visit of Sylvie Baïpo Temon, Central African Republic's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The visit is in line with boosting further both countries' bilateral relations.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta said that CAR is Rwanda's partner which is going through difficult [security] problems, stating that Rwanda is committed to continue supporting the country to ensure that it becomes secure and achieves sustainable development.

Rwanda in December last year sent a contingent of protection force to CAR, in addition to the Rwandan troops already deployed under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

"The armed groups were threatening to harm our soldiers who perform well to counter those groups that wanted to topple the Central African Republic authority. Therefore, it was necessary that we send more troops to boost their defence," he said.

He added that the protection force also had a mission to ensure a peaceful election period in the country, indicating that the target was achieved because the election was held, with Faustin Archange Touadera being re-elected President of CAR.

On her part, Minister Temon thanked Rwanda's soldiers and those from other countries for helping repulse attacks from armed groups that sought to destabilise democratic election processes.

Learning from Rwanda's experience

Sharing Rwanda's experience, Biruta said that the Genocide against Tutsi in 1994 claimed over a million lives, and left the country in ruins.

"But, there are initiatives that were set up which contributed to the rebuilding of the country. They include fostering unity and reconciliation, demobilization or reintegration of former soldiers and members of armed groups, and they were fruitful as they enabled the country to implement development initiatives," he said.

This experience, he said, can help Central African Republic to get rid of the persisting problems it has been facing.

"They can engage in dialogue [to reach common ground], unity and reconciliation initiatives, and demobilise the members of the armed groups, as well as be able to execute livelihoods projects," he said.

Minister Temon said that the fact that Rwanda suffered the Genocide and was able to move ahead gives a great lesson.

"We would like to learn from Rwanda's experience to confront a bitter past. The current results [in Rwanda] are encouraging, and they help to rekindle hope for the reconstruction of the country," she said.

Expanding partnership

Biruta said that it is not enough to conduct military activities to restore security, and elect leaders.

"There is a third aspect regarding development activities so that jobs get created and people get employment for their livelihoods, and promote investment," he said.

He said that, last week, on February 3, 2021, Rwanda's national carrier RwandAir launched flights to CAR's Capital city Bangui, pointing out that there were Rwandan investors among passengers onboard the maiden flight in order to explore investment opportunities in the country.

The airline will be operating two weekly flights from Kigali to Bangui-M'poko International Airport, on Wednesdays and Sundays.

"They went to consider areas of investment in the country, which can support development there for the country to be able to rebuild itself," he said.

She indicated that they would like to reinforce and extend bilateral cooperation between Rwanda and CAR to various domains, pointing out that the CAR is mobilising investors to come and venture in the country.

"There is no development without peace, and there is no peace without development. They should rather go hand in hand," she said.

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