Rwanda: Congo Pulls Out of JMG

The New Times (Kigali)

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Kennedy Ndahiro

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has pulled out of the 43rd weekly Joint Monitoring Group-Task Force (JMG-TF) meeting that was supposed to be held in Gisenyi yesterday.

A member of the Rwandan delegation to the talks told The New Times, on condition of anonymity that the meeting which was usually held every Friday, in the Eastern DRC town of Goma, was shifted to neighbouring Gisenyi due to security problems.

Yesterday's meeting would have been the second to take place on Rwandan soil, the last one was held on October 10.

"The Congolese delegation said that if the meetings were not taken back to Goma they would no longer attend them," said our source.

The JMG-TF was set up by a meeting of African Heads of State, that was held in Addis Ababa in December 2007, to monitor the implementation of the resolutions of the Nairobi Joint Communiqué which called for the disarmament and repatriation of the Ex-FAR/Interahamwe.

The Nairobi Communiqué was a result of talks held in the Kenyan capital in November 2007 between Rwanda and the DRC brokered by the EU, UN and the USA, all members of the task force.

The Ex-FAR/Interahamwe are remnants of the former Rwandan armed forces and pro-government Hutu militia who spearheaded the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis which claimed the lives of over a million people.

The group now goes by the name of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), blacklisted by the USA as a terrorist group.

The DRC had pledged to stop aiding and collaborating and instead disarm FDLR having been given a roadmap to follow that was supposed to be monitored by the JMG-TF. The DRC had also been tasked with bringing to justice all those responsible for the Genocide she harbours on her soil.

The International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGL), the African Union, South Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) later came on board as observers.

"DRC has been unable to honour its part of the bargain. It was supposed t have started the disarming process in March but has been dragging its feet. Their latest action is a further indication of lack of commitment to the Nairobi process," explained our source, adding that since the international community was signatory to the agreement, it was time it put pressure on the DRC to honour its obligations.

"How many agreements will Rwanda and Congo sign before the DRC decides to honour at least one?" he wondered. "This shows that the DRC leadership is not willing or sees no gain in the implementing the Nairobi communiqué."

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Efforts to get DRC Foreign Affairs minister, Mbusa Nyamwisi, were futile as his mobile phone could not get through by the time we went to press.

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