Rwanda: Kibaki Sends Special Message to Kagame

The New Times (Kigali)

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James Karuhanga

Kenya's Foreign Affairs Minister, Moses Wetangula, Monday delivered a special message to President Paul Kagame from President Mwai Kibaki.

Wetangula said that Kibaki's communiqué was hinged on the fact that Kenya is the current chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), a forum that aims at finding lasting solutions to the region's woes.

"We discussed the emerging tensions between Rwanda and the Congo and the rising rhetoric," he said, adding that President Kagame had assured him of his commitment to dialogue as a means to peace.

"You know Kenya is the chair of the great lakes conference that deals with issues of peace, security and dialogue. President Kibaki sent me to deliver a special message to President Kagame, which I have done," Wetangula said, shortly after meeting the President. In his message, Kibaki is said to have urged for restraint.

"We have agreed with the President that we should do everything humanly possible to avoid conflict," Wetangula stressed, saying Kagame had voiced his concerns in the meeting, concerns which the minister said he will put to President Joseph Kabila when he travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) soon.

Government recently expressed deep concerns and condemned a reported lethal alliance between the DRC army, Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and genocidal forces now regrouped under Forces Democratique pour la Liberation de Rwanda (FDLR).

FDLR are remnants of the former Rwanda army (ex-FAR) and Intarahamwe militia who spearheaded the country's 1994 Genocide in which over one million people perished.

Apart from fighting side-by-side, in the currents clashes between FARDC and Gen. Laurent Nkunda's National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) in the east of the country, other reports indicate that FARDC is in cahoots with the FDLR and other negative forces in the illegal mining of gold and tin instead of helping disarm and repatriate them.

Dr. Richard Sezibera, Kagame's former special envoy to the Great Lakes region who was appointed Health Minister Saturday, also attended the meeting at Village Urugwiro.

He said that Kibaki sent his envoy to discuss security issues in the region, with special weight on Rwanda's security concerns in the DRC and how they can be resolved.

Kibaki's message comes at a time when Uganda prepares to host 26 African leaders for the first Tripartite EAC-SADC-COMESA Summit of Heads of State this week.

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For the first time, leaders of the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will meet and discuss on how to integrate territories and move towards deepening and widening integration, among others.

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