Sunday, 26 May 2013

Peaceful Congo is in Rwanda’s best interest, lawmakers tell UK

One fundamental issue that people do not seem to understand is that Rwanda will be happiest when its neighbour to the west, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is stable and peaceful, lawmakers told their British counterparts on Friday. 
This was during a meeting with a visiting UK Parliamentary delegation of four that arrived in the country on Thursday night for a two-day visit aimed at examining the ongoing regional conflict resolution process and efforts for increased regional cooperation, among others
“If the DRC is peaceful, the first beneficiary is Rwanda and other immediate neighbours, not the UN or other far away countries,” Ignatienne Nyirarukundo, deputy chairperson of the parliament’s committee on social affairs said. 
“We are not just neighbours, we are brothers and sisters”.
The leader of the UK delegation, Jack McConnell of the Labour Party, told the meeting that his team’s interests included the raging eastern DRC conflict, democracy and governance in Rwanda, and the UK government’s recent aid freeze.
“We have three interests for a report that we will write for our colleagues in London. The first, of course is the continuing conflict in eastern DRC, its implications for the whole region, the instability there and the impact, and the solutions that involve the region,” McConnell said.
MP Gideon Kayinamura, chairperson of the standing committee on foreign affairs and security, told the visitors that Parliament has taken interest in the DRC conflict and conducted its own research, gathering facts dating as far back as during the time of King Leopold II of Belgium.
Their findings, he said, are a means to saving the world from “superficial reports” by outsiders, on the DRC. 
On Rwanda’s relationship with DRC since 1994, Kayinamura stressed that it was unfortunate that the former has allowed its territory to remain a safe haven for perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
McConnell’s delegation also comprises Mark Pritchard of the Conservative Party, member of the select committee of international development, Ian Lucas of the Labour Party, shadow minister for Africa and member of the standards and privileges committee, and Heather Wheeler of the Conservative Party.
The delegation will head to Kinshasa on a similar mission on Sunday morning.


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