Kigali: President Paul Kagame yesterday at Urugwiro Village received senior DRC officials participating in the 5th Rwanda-DRC Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) where he reasserted the importance of continued engagement between Rwandan and Congolese officials on issues of mutual interest.
"This engagement is critical for our two countries and the region. There is a lot more within our means that we can make use of. Looking at our situation in the wider context of our continent, where Africa needs to be, it is clear that we all need peace and stability in order to turn our focus fully on business, trade and the kind of cooperation that will bring wealth and prosperity for Africans who have been poor for far too long. It is important to keep working together to get there. It is never too late."
President Kagame emphasised the importance of joint work in overcoming common problems by the people of the region pointing out that those affected had clearer insights into the challenges, were better equipped to find durable solutions and had the most interest in achieving tangible results.
Rwanda's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo briefed President Kagame on the bilateral discussions held which included development of infrastructure with a focus on energy and air transport; as well as the current security and refugee situation. Minister Mushikiwabo also pointed out that an agreement had been reached to advance cooperation on border management, trade and joint economic projects.
Minister of International and Regional Cooperation and Francophonie, Raymond Tshibanda N'Tunga Mulongo who led the DRC delegation conveyed greetings from President Joseph Kabila and noted that relations between Rwanda and DRC were excellent and cooperation was developing.
Minister N'Tunga Mulongo noted that the DRC remained committed to fighting all negative forces operating in their country, including the FDLR, and was pleased to see the same determination by Rwandan authorities.
He also emphasised the need to overcome the challenge of establishing stability in order to move faster in economic cooperation and better lives for the citizens of the region, saying that the two teams were bound by a joint obligation to be efficient and produce results.
The 11-member DRC delegation also included the Ministers responsible for Internal Security, Energy, and Justice; the Prosecutor General, the head of Intelligence Services, the Governors of North Kivu and South Kivu, and the Ambassador of DRC to Rwanda.
- Copyright © 2012 The New Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
Related article: Rwanda, DRC discuss security
Kigali: Rwanda's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Louis Mushikiwabo on Friday met an 11-member DRC delegation led by Congolese Minister for International and Regional Cooperation, Raymond Tshibanda. They were meeting for the 5th session of Rwanda - DRC Joint Permanent Commission (JPC).
The two-day consultative forum focused on the evaluation of the execution of the resolutions of agreed areas of cooperation between the two States in the course of the last JPC, which took place on December, 17, 2009 in Kinshasa.
The two governments discussed different decisions taken during the 4th JPC, the status of their implementation, as well as making recommendations on how to move forward for the wellbeing of the population of the two countries.
Areas evaluated included security, borders issues, trade, energy, and infrastructure.
During the meeting, much emphasis was put on regional security and the issue of refugees. The two states reiterated their commitment to make headway against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), other negative forces and opportunist elements operating in the Eastern region of DRC.
Rwanda and DRC also committed to step up collaboration and recommended more sensitization of refugees to return voluntarily in the shortest time possible.
Mushikiwabo explained that Rwanda will do everything to eliminate and disband FDLR, a Rwandan terrorist group.
FDLR is a DRC-based militia mainly composed of perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, which claimed the lives of at least a million people.
Despite regional and international interventions, FDLR is still operating in Eastern DRC.
Tshibanda's delegation which arrived in Kigali on Friday included ministers of justice, defense, interior government, transport, and energy.
"FDLR causes threats to our peace because it still believes in genocidal ideologies, and it has gone on to bring suffering to our neighbors and brothers in DRC. We are committed and will never let them cause tension and instability between our two countries," said Mushikiwabo.
She said Rwanda was committed towards working together with the DRC government to eradicate this group in order to create lasting peace in the region.
On his part, Tshibanda said that DRC was committed and will continue to cooperate with Rwanda to hunt down FDLR and restore total peace in the region.
"In a world full of uncertainties for our people, the quest for peace and stability has become our top most priority. Working with Rwanda, we will be able to break the cycle of conflict and stop massive violation of human rights," Tshibanda said.
The region is home to many militia groups, local and foreign, with FDLR one of the most notorious.
Early this week, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo sought an arrest warrants for Sylvestre Mudacumura, the supreme commander of FDLR.
The warlord is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity and nine counts of war crimes committed between 2009 and 2010 in DRC's North and South Kivu provinces.
The charges include attacks against civilians, murder, mutilation, rape, torture, and destruction of property.
The eastern DRC has been plagued by armed conflict and violence since the end of the Congo civil war in 2003, resulting in deaths of thousands of civilians.