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Kagame’s Worries About New Congo Peace Deal

President Paul Kagame

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“This framework agreement is an important step and opportunity in reaffirming our commitment to regional peace. I unreservedly welcome it.”

Kagame was speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday during the signing ceremony of the pact aimed at consolidating peace in the Eastern part of DRC.

The ceremony was attended by Uganda’s Vice President Edward Ssekandi, Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, DRC leader Joseph Kabila, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and Angola’s Eduardo Dos Santos among others.

“We are all here to pursue one objective: to see security, stability and peace emerge in DRC and our region,” said Kagame, whose government is accused of backing M23 rebels.

Kigali denies the charge, insisting it does not reap from the conflict.

Kagame, however, warned that any meaningful contribution to peace in DRC has to “abandon the self-defeating practice of selectivity in both memory and responsibility regarding the known, longstanding causes of recurring conflict.”

“We have to be genuine about addressing the real problems and finding real solutions for the people who look to us for leadership,” he said, adding, “We have to keep in mind the rights, interests and aspirations of afflicted populations caught up in the recurring waves of violence.”

“These should not be sidelined in favour of remote and self-serving international political agendas masqueraded as justice or human rights.”

Kagame noted it was crucial that the signing of this agreement not be seen as the “end result” of a peace process, but as a “big step in the right direction.”

He said three aspects of the agreement provide “renewed optimism” for finding a “real” solution.

“First, the pursuit of durable peace requires the collaborative engagement of the entire region and the international community,” he elaborated.

“Second, the framework recognises that a holistic approach that addresses the multi-faceted root causes is the only way to end instability.”

Finally, said the Rwandan leader, the region has a valuable opportunity for all parties to build on the work started by the region and focus on addressing the real problems.

Kagame expressed concern that while previous efforts undertaken with the DRC in the past decade had produced some encouraging improvements, “Unfortunately what seemed like a strong basis for further progress was not sustained, with grave repercussions.”

It remains unclear whether he was referring to the 2009 peace agreement signed between then CNDP rebels (now M23) and DRC which the latter reportedly fell short of honouring.

Kagame said “nothing else would be sustainable” apart from enabling the people and leadership of DRC to resolve “their” own problems.

He appreciated the personal efforts of the UN Secretary General in driving this process.


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