Rwanda: Kagame, Kerry Discuss Regional SecurityBy Frank Kanyesigye, 27 September 2013
President Paul Kagame and the US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday held bilateral talks which revolved around the security situation in the Great Lakes region, particularly in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The meeting sought mechanisms that will enable Rwanda and the US to maintain close working relations in efforts towards restoring peace and security in the region.
Addressing journalists shortly after the meeting in New York, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, said: "The forum was about working more closely with the US government on regional stability, while preserving the core security interest of our country and keep moving on to eventually reach at state of stability in the region."
"The meeting was very productive, it was about where we are today and what needs to be done to actually get out of the crisis mood that has prevailed since April last year, it was about securing the interests of Rwanda and supporting Rwanda's contribution to regional stability," she said.
She added, "It's important to remember that the kind of understanding and analysis that has prevailed in the eastern DRC has been superficial."
Earlier this month, a regional Heads of State summit on the DRC crisis was held in the Ugandan capital Kampala, to find a "lasting solution" to the ongoing conflict, which last month threatened to spill over to Rwanda, after 36 mortar bombs landed into the border district of Rubavu.
Kigali responded by warning that the continued violation of its territorial integrity by the Congolese forces and FDLR, a genocidal militia would no longer be tolerated.
Mushikiwabo said that there are many aspects and complexities that shroud the crisis in the DRC that have been overlooked.
"We talked about those aspects and looking at the DR Congo crisis as one in many successive crises that we have known since the end of the Genocide against the Tutsi," said the minister.
She particularly said that the continued existence FDLR militia on the Congolese territory is always overlooked by the international community, yet this group is an important part of the problem.
"The FDLR is not an issue that should be overlooked; we have seen in recent years that it's been swept under the rug almost to the point of acting as if this current crisis has no origin."
FDLR is composed of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in which over a million people died in a space of 100 days.
The militia is also accused of human rights violations in DRC.
Asked whether the US understands the root cause of the DRC crisis, Mushikiwabo said that she believes the US understands "very well" that the centre of the crisis is the FDLR.
"The US understands what is at stake and strongly believes that Rwanda has a security interest that needs to be protected but how that feeds into other aspects of the crisis is what needs to be adjusted in order for us to move on."
At the meeting, she said that Secretary Kerry pointed out that the DRC crisis has too many actors and interests that are both known and unknown who make it difficult to implement the activities that have been agreed upon to bring stability in the region.
Congo-Kinshasa: DR Congo President Calls for Altruism in New Global Push for Sustainable Development25 September 2013
President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) warned today that the selfishness of some States could threaten efforts to set a new sustainable development agenda for the decades ahead.
"At a time when the question of post-2015 development is high on the agenda, the international community is more and more marked by the failure of certain of its members to respect the fundamental principles of international relations, the persistent selfishness of some States and the convulsions of the world economy," he told the General Assembly on the second day of its annual General Debate.
"The consequences that this entails are multiple. They range from attacks against peace to murderous conflicts, from a globalization that is essentially fuelled by the unbridled pursuit of profit to the exacerbation of poverty."
President Kabila is one many leaders addressing the annual Assembly session at which heads of State and Government and other high-level officials will present their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance. The Debate will conclude on 1 October.
The theme of this year's 68th Assembly is the post-2015 development agenda, aimed at drawing up an even more ambitious blueprint to totally eliminate poverty and its attendant ills in the decades following the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) cycle.
The eight (MDGs), adopted at the 2000 UN summit, aim to slash extreme hunger and poverty, boost access to health care and education, achieve gender equality and environmental stability, and reduce maternal and child mortality and the incidence of HIV/AIDS, all by the end of 2015.
"The new programme that we are called upon to set up must be universal, ambitious, capable of responding to the immense challenges that humankind confronts, and able to engender positive transformations on the basis of the principle of shared and differentiated responsibilities," Mr. Kabila said, stressing the importance of engaging women, youth and civil society in the process.
"In this context, I hope that the proposals coming out of this session will embody our common desire to prioritize the economic, social and environmental dimension of sustainable development. These proposals must cover local, national and regional development programmes. They must also fuel a bold international cooperation and reflect the will of each of our States to contribute to peace and international security."
Turning to his own vast country, where violence still continues in the east despite the efforts of UN peacekeepers to bring stability over the past 13 years, Mr. Kabila noted the irony that part of the problem stemmed from the DRC's willingness to accept refugees in the wake of the Rwandan genocide of 1994.
Without peace, sustainable development in the DRC remained "only hypothetical," he said noting that the eastern region, particularly in and around the flashpoint city of Goma, has seen little respite from fighting since the peacekeepers helped bring relative stability and elections to much of the rest of the country following vicious civil wars. Mr. Kabila thanked the UN, regional African organizations and the European Union for their aid and support.
He pledged his country's full support to the recently agreed regional accord, formally known as the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the Region.