The Ambassadors of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have locked horns in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) over a report that accused Rwanda and Uganda of continuing to support M23 rebels in their territories.
The fiery exchange came after the Council, with Rwanda’s support, unanimously extended for a year both the sanctions regime for the DRC and the mandate of the Group of Experts who monitor violations of the regime.
It is this latest report, which also accuses the DRC of collaborating with the remnant Rwanda rebel group FDLR in the east of the country, that raised the temperature across the floor in the Council.
Rwanda voted to extend the mandate of the Group of Experts, despite its finding that M23 continues to recruit members in Rwanda, who has consistently rejecting the report.
The country’s Ambassador to the UN Eugene Richard Gasana says: “It should be made clear that the use of a UN sanctioned and UN funded mechanism to launch deliberate attacks against a UN member state through grave unsubstantiated and damaging accusations without any credible evidence is totally unacceptable. Such offensive allegations might actually undermine the ongoing efforts that are focused on forward looking solutions.”
What we were saying is not something we’ve invented
Gasana says: “It’s almost half a century that these problems are there my dear friends, more than half a century, Rwanda is there to help you, when I hear you accusing countries such as Uganda, to me that sounds like total lack of gratitude to Mr (Yoweri)Museveni, the President and chair of ICGLR, I’m not sure if your capital has asked you to come here and accuse Uganda but honestly, it very unfortunate to hear these things.”
However, the DRC Ambassador Ignace Gata Mavita Wa Lufuta was having none of it. “The DRC is a sovereign country. We do not have to obey orders from the representative of Rwanda even if it is a security council member, it is not for them to forbid us to come to this international body to outline our problems as do other states.”
He accused Rwanda and Uganda of violating their commitments to the Peace and Security Framework for the DRC while defending his reference to the findings made against both countries.
“What we were saying just now is not something we’ve invented, it is what the experts have said, the experts which your organ, the SC provided with a mandate to go into the field, it is those experts who noted what the facts were, if Rwanda wishes to object to what the experts say, it must address itself to the experts, sent by you, Rwanda amongst your ranks, it is your body which sent them.”
Despite the exchange, both countries indicated they were working for peace, while the DRC affirmed its willingness to work with the Group of Experts on allegations it was supporting the FDLR.