Rwanda happy at Ban visit

September 8, 2010 12:00 am

, KIGALI, Sep 8 – Rwanda was "very happy" that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon decided to visit the country but still "outraged" by the UN draft report he came to discuss, the foreign affairs minister said on Wednesday.

"We are very happy that the secretary general thought it was important to come here and discuss this DRC mapping report," said Louise Mushikiwabo, who met Ban on Tuesday evening shortly after his arrival.

"Our expectations are that he understands why we have rejected this report. It is important that he understands why we are outraged by this report…, which is bound to cause instability in the region," she told AFP.

A draft of the UN report, seen by AFP, said Rwandan Tutsi commanders and their rebel allies carried out systematic attacks on Hutus in DR Congo that resembled the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

"The systematic and widespread attacks described in this report… reveal a number of damning elements that, if they were proven before a competent court, could be classified as crimes of genocide," stated the 600-page probe.

Mushikiwabo reiterated that if the report was officially published by the UN, Rwanda would withdraw the some 3,550 troops it has deployed in two separate peacekeeping missions in Sudan.

"There is no question that, should this report be released as we have seen in a draft version, with its false accusations and without talking to the interested parties, Rwanda will pull out its troops immediately."

"We will never accept the army which fought the genocide being accused of such crimes," she said.

At a press conference last week Mushikiwabo said the UN could not have its cake and eat it and that if it persisted in accusing the Rwandan army of genocide it could not expect that same army to take part in peacekeeping missions.

Rwanda has 3,300 troops in UNAMID, a joint UN and African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan\’s troubled western region of Darfur consisting of 21,800 uniformed personnel.

A further 256 Rwandan troops are serving with UNMIS, a force with 10,000 international troops deployed following the 2005 peace deal that ended the two-decade-long north-south civil war in Sudan.

Ban was expected to meet Rwandan President Paul Kagame later on Wednesday morning. His departure time from Kigali has not yet been confirmed, officials said.

Ban is accompanied by Roger Meece, the UN special representative for DR Congo, Alain Le Roy, an under secretary general for peacekeeping operations, and Ivan Simonovic, assistant secretary general for human rights.

The United Nations last week delayed publication of the report until October 1 to give Rwanda and other nations more time to comment on the contents.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she would publish the comments of the countries concerns in an annex to the report.

Other countries who sent troops into DR Congo, such as Angola, are also criticized in the report, but Rwanda has come in for the most severe accusations.



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