BY JAMES KARUHANGA
GASABO – Parliament yesterday, heard that there was currently a “four plus four” high-level bilateral framework, in which four Rwandan officials, have met twice with their counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to set up a joint operational plan to do away with the FDLR. This announcement was made during a parliamentary briefing by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and that of Defence.
The ministers had been summoned by parliament to shed light on the regions security, especially the war in neighbouring DRC and its impact on Rwanda.
Defence Minister Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi told parliament that “Intelligence officials this week have been meeting in Gisenyi to see how this plan can be implemented. Since the recent reshuffle in leadership, you see some willingness to resolve this problem.”
Gatsinzi told lawmakers that it was resolved recently that Rwanda could have a role in the conception of an operational plan to root out the FDLR.
“It is the first time they agreed that Rwanda could get involved in dealing with the Interahamwe,” he pointed out. Present to expound on the new plan was the Chief of Military Intelligence (J2), Brig. Gen. Jack Musemakweli.
“We met this morning. On Wednesday, we will meet again in Goma for two days to iron out issues,” he said, adding that the final plan will be given to the ministerial heads in the group on November 29.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Rosemary Museminali, pointed out that all the meetings were meant to make the DRC increase its political will to solve the problem.
Alfred Gasana, head of Parliament’s Committee on Security and National Integrity had inquired about the fate of earlier signed peace accords.
Parliament also sought explanations on other issues, including the status on normalisation of diplomatic relations with the DRC.
Gatsinzi explained that Rwanda had agreed on reopening embassies but DR Congo was still impeding the process.
Museminari explained that Rwanda had named an ambassador but the DRC did not receive him nor did they nominate theirs, but put the matter off until their next meeting planned for December.
“There have been many meetings, especially among Heads of State in the region and the UN, but there is a lack of political will by the DR Congo leadership. You find that they are not implementing what has been agreed,” she pointed out.
Gatsinzi also emphasised that what caused the Rwandan army to get involved in the DR Congo conflict in the past, still existed.
“The presence of FDLR and ex-FAR Interahamwe there is still a cause of security concern to Rwanda,” he said. He added that even in the recent ministerial meeting between Rwanda and the DR Congo, the issue was raised.
FDLR is the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, a rebel outfit based in eastern DR Congo comprised mainly of perpetrators of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide.
Alexis Tambwe Mwamba, DR Congo Foreign Affairs Minister and his Rwandan counterpart recently held a Summit in Kigali.
“Is Congo really willing to fight FDLR? This really remains a big question. They show the will in meetings but on the ground, nothing is done,” the Museminali said.
“When we have ambassadors in both capitals, the problems we get can be resolved on a daily basis and easier. We explained this,” she said.
“For one to help another, it is only possible when the other party accepts and wants to be helped,” Gatsinzi noted, but stressed that the will and patience to deal with the issues by Rwanda would not wane.