Rwanda Foreign Affairs Response to UN Security Council Resolution 1468 (2003)

Rwanda welcomes the United Nations Security Council 1468 (2003) on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda rejoices with the United Nations Security Council for the recent progress made in the Inter-Congolese Dialogue (ICD) and hopes that the United Nations shall continue to help Congolese parties overcome the few remaining obstacles, particularly the establishment of the security mechanisms for the transition government.

Rwanda appreciates the deep concern expressed by the UNSC on the situation in Ituri and at the rising tension between Rwanda and Uganda. Rwanda shall continue to work for the full implementation of the Lusaka and Pretoria agreements, by encouraging the Congolese parties to complete the ICD and seeking full compliance with the Pretoria agreement from the DRC government. On the Ituri situation, we shall expect tangible pressure to obtain an immediate withdrawal of Ugandan and Kinshasa forces and a deployment of a neutral force in Bunia and at all strategic points.

Rwanda wishes to take this opportunity to draw the attention of the UNSC and the international community at large that the alarming situation prevailing in eastern DRC is a result of the gross violations of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement and the Pretoria Agreement.

With regard to the Pretoria Agreement, Rwanda on her part totally withdrew all her troops from the DRC within the specified 90 days deadline.

Whereas the Kinshasa government was supposed to disarm and repatriate the ex-FAR/Interahamwe, it has instead continued to support them, enabling them to take over most of the positions previously held by Rwandan forces, in violation of the Kampala and Harare disengagement plans. These forces have been receiving arms and ammunitions through the airfields of Minembwe, Kilimba, Mwenga, Kilembwe and Shabunda and through Lake Tanganyika, and were poised to attack Uvira and Bukavu, thus threatening Rwanda. Such a situation is unacceptable.

In another flagrant violation of the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, and the Kampala and Harare disengagement plans, the Kinshasa government in connivance with the government of Uganda, has deployed its forces in the Beni, Butembo, Lubelo, Bunyantenge and Kanyabayonga areas, linking up with ex-FAR/Interahamwe in north Kivu. These forces are operating jointly with an objective of taking control of Masisi, Rutshuru and Goma, thus threatening Rwanda. This new threat is also unacceptable.

The concept of the Ituri Pacification Commission (ICP) is a creation of the Luanda Agreement and seeks to enable the Kinshasa government to reassert its authority in Ituri, an area controlled by rebel movements. The ICP provision of the Luanda Agreement is therefore in violation of the Lusaka agreement.

Furthermore, Uganda having been the architect of all the Ituri conflicts can not be allowed to define the contours of the workings of the Ituri Pacification Commission. In addition, it is abundantly clear that the current war in Ituri is between UPDF and UPC. As such, an effective ceasefire can only be between the two protagonists, UPDF and UPC. Indeed since the signing of the so-called ‘ceasefire’ in Ituri, UPDF has continued its military campaign against UPC and captured Munbgwallo, Fataki and Bule.

In conclusion, Rwanda thinks that given the situation in the Kivus and Ituri, MONUC and TPVM should be, as a matter of urgency, reinforced and enabled to take control of all airfields and ports in eastern DRC in order to check re-supplying and infiltrations of forces.

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