News and Information

Rwanda snubs UN forces in DR Congo
November 22, 2004
By Mark Doyle
BBC world affairs correspondent in Kigali

A survivor of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda prays over the bones of genocide victims at a mass grave in Nyamata
800,000 people were killed in the Rwandan genocide of 1994
The UN Security Council has received a scathing response from Rwanda about UN plans for voluntarily disarming Rwandan rebels with bases in DR Congo.

The Security Council is on a tour of Central Africa to try to end a decade of genocide and armed conflict that has killed at least 4.5 million people.

At a meeting with the visiting ambassadors, Rwandan President Paul Kagame criticised UN tactics.

Mr Kagame said trying to disarm the rebels voluntarily would not work.

The issue of the Rwandan rebels that operate out of DR Congo and the tough line taken against them by the current Rwandan government is one of the most serious threats to stability in Central Africa.

DR Congo and Rwanda have gone to war over cross-border rebel groups several times.

'Make war'

The UN peacekeeping force in DR Congo has started military patrols in the area where the Rwandan rebels are based to encourage them to disarm.

But Mr Kagame, who accuses the rebels of being among those who committed the genocide of ethnic Tutsis and government opponents in 1994, told the BBC that voluntary disarmament would not succeed.

Inside the closed-door session with the Security Council, he said, according to diplomats, "If you want peace, you have to make war."

This was a clear snub to the UN peacekeeping force in DR Congo, which is accused by Rwanda of being ineffective against the rebels.

The Rwandan president's position presents a clear danger.

The leader of one of the most powerful armies in the region is strongly implying that if the UN does not achieve the disarmament of the rebels, he will - maybe by force.

Mr Kagame says he is trying to prevent a new genocide. That may be true, but his tough position also throws into question UN plans for peace in the central African region.


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