Rwanda, DRC hold high level security meeting

Defense Ministers Aimé Ngoy Mukena (L) and James Kabarebe (R) of DRC and Rwanda in Kigali, Rwanda for the high stakes security meeting

Defense Ministers Aimé Ngoy Mukena (L) and James Kabarebe (R) of DRC and Rwanda in Kigali, Rwanda for the high stakes security meeting

After a three year hiatus Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have resumed bilateral talks on security issues facing both countries, with fighting and disarming militias such as FDLR topping the agenda.

The last meeting between Ministers of Defense of Rwanda and DRC was held on 28 June 2012 in Goma.
In a security bilateral meeting held in Kigali this Thursday, the issue of over 3000 FDLR rebels in the DRC jungles was one of the main sticking points in the discussions.

The two countries however agreed that there must be a way of finding a durable solution the militia forces either through diplomacy or “other means”.

In a closed meeting the two defense teams discussed how they should work together and proposed to their leaders on the way forward to eradicate FDLR and other rebel forces that have been the cause of insecurity in the region.

“This is a historic meeting. Rwanda and DRC have agreed on mechanisms to address those challenges. We discussed military operations against the FDLR, and future cooperation between the two Defense Forces,” Rwanda’s Minister of Defense Gen. James Kabarebe said.

Kabarebe also noted the two delegations have acknowledged resolving security challenges goes hand in hand with dealing with the socio-economic issues affecting the populations of both countries.

The United Nations Mission in DRC, (MONUC) has not managed to fulfill its ambitious mandate of disarming FDLR rebels, that Rwanda claims are hell bent on “finishing their genocidal agenda” and destabilizing the central African state.

Rwanda’s Military Spokesman Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita says the forces won’t rest until the last FDLR member is disarmed and repatriated or completely defeated on the battlefield.

DRC Minister of Defense Aimé Ngoy Mukena hailed the Rwandan government for efforts to ensure security in the country 21yrs after genocide:

“Based on what I have experienced in Kigali allow me to applaud its people and leadership for their remarkable efforts, Rwanda looks like nothing happened, I walked safe at night” Mukena said.

Relations between these two central African neighbors have in the past been frosty with Kinshasa accusing Kigali of infiltrating the DRC, and supporting the M23 rebels, and in 2012 a UN report implicated Rwanda in fueling the unrest in its vast impoverished neighbour.

Rwanda on the other hand, has accused DRC of harbouring FDLR militia, the militia Rwanda believes consists remnants of the genocidal forces that perpetrated the 1994 Genocide.

The two countries have reestablished diplomatic ties with Rwanda having an Embassy in Kinshasa and DRC having an Embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali.