East Africa

Rwanda: Security Council Blames Weak DRC Institutions for Crisis

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A delegation of United Nations Security Council, who is on a fact-finding mission in the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, has blamed weak institutions in the DRC, especially in the eastern part of the country, for the crisis.

Samantha Power, the United States Ambassador to the UN, said the weakness of state institutions in the DRC has contributed to the success of armed groups, but added that there is more political will than ever to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

"We sensed an enthusiasm in the DRC to strengthen the institutions," Power said, adding that they had visited Monusco which now has an aggressive mandate and had intentions of dealing with the FDLR rebels who she said are "wreaking terrible havoc on civilians in Congo."

Many members of the FDLR were involved in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis, and ever since they have been committing mass atrocities in the Eastern DRC, often (but by no means exclusively) targeting the Banyamulenge community.

The delegation on Monday held talks with President Kagame and senior government officials about the implementation of a peace accord aimed at stabilizing the sub-region, including eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The agreement, aimed at stopping the two decades of conflict in the East of the DRC, was signed in February 2013 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) by Mozambican, Rwandan, Ugandan, Tanzanian, South African, DR Congolese, Congolese and South Sudanese leaders together with the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

The UNSC delegation also praised President Kagame's commitment to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the Eastern DRC. "President Kagame has committed his support to the Addis Ababa framework and implementing what will come out of the Kampala talks, "Samantha Power said but warned that "we have seen this movie before. There have been other hopeful times but what will determine whether this time it is different is whether armed groups are disarmed."

This apparent change of tone by the Security Council might come as a relief to the President, who has time and again pointed out that the causes for the conflict in the DRC are to be found within that country itself, not elsewhere.

"People who started this war should help end this war. Rwanda did not start this war," he told the UNSC delegation. "A process based on lies and prejudice will not lead to a solution. Rwanda has and will continue to participate honestly and genuinely in finding a solution to the conflict in DRC in partnership with those who are interested in peace and stability."

The UN officials also visited an ongoing program of disarmament, demobilization and re-integration of former FDLR fighters.

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