President Paul Kagame has told the United Nations General Assembly that rhetoric will not fix the security crisis in the DR Congo that has persisted for decades but tangible actions that are result oriented will.
“In the eastern DR Congo, recent setbacks have served to highlight that the security situation is fundamentally no different than it was 20 years ago, when the largest and most expensive United Nations peacekeeping mission was first deployed.
“This has exposed neighbouring states, notably Rwanda, to cross-border attacks that are entirely preventable,” Kagame said as he addressed the 77th edition of the UN General Assembly.
The United Nations maintains the largest peacekeeping mission in DR Congo that has been running of an annual budget of over US$ 1 billion for over 20 years now and has since failed to restore normalcy in the eastern DR Congo.
“There is an urgent need to find the political will to finally address the root causes of instability in eastern DRC. The blame game does not solve the problems. These challenges are not insurmountable, and solutions can be found,” Kagame said.
DR Congo President, Felix Tshisekedi, spoke earlier at the UNGA and accused Rwanda of supporting M23 rebel group claiming that his efforts to reunite the country and pursue peaceful settlements have been dragged by continual external interference.
Rwanda vehemently denied the accusation and insisted that DR Congo should stop collaborating with anti- Rwanda groups.
Tshisekedi also attempted to deny the existence of the FDLR terrorist group and its splinter groups in his country yet, Rwanda has continuously suffered incursions and shelling from the FDLR.
However, there has been regional efforts in addressing the DR Congo security issue including the Nairobi process, the East African Force that is about to be deployed in DR Congo and the Luanda talks that came up with on the roadmap for the pacification process in the eastern region of DR Congo and ways to de-escalate tensions between Rwanda and DR Congo.
Kagame hailed the efforts saying that they are likely to yield tangible results.
“This would ultimately be much less costly in terms of both money and human lives. Despite shortcomings, there are examples to demonstrate that international cooperation can successfully address the issues that matter to all of us,” he said.
He added that regional initiatives can complement the important work of the United Nations.
“Regional or bilateral initiatives have been proven to make a big difference, whether in the Central African Republic, or the successful engagement to contain violent extremism in northern Mozambique conducted by Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community. If this approach were tried properly in DR Cong, as proposed by the Nairobi Process, it would make a difference,” he said.
However, to be sustainable, according to Kagame, such efforts require consistent financial support from the international community.