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Security Council team ends eight-nation trip

[Rwanda] President Paul Kagame IRIN
Rwandan President Paul Kagame
A delegation of the United Nations Security Council on Monday ended its eight-nation mission to the Great Lakes region after holding a "positive" two-hour meeting in Rwanda with President Paul Kagame and other senior officials, UN News reported. On Sunday, the 15-member delegation, whose visit has been aimed at shoring up support for regional initiatives, met Burundi President Pierre Buyoya and his deputy, Domitien Ndayizeye, in that country's capital, Bujumbura, it said. At a news conference before leaving for Rwanda, Ambassador Jean-David Levitte of France, who led the mission, said the message of the Security Council to Buyoya was simple: "Continue reform." He added that the Council had encouraged the transitional government and parliament in Burundi to "fully implement in the coming months the political, social and economic reforms that were part of the Arusha agreement". In the Rwandan capital, Kigali, Levitte told journalists that the official visit to Rwanda was of key importance for the future of the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Reuters reported. "We recognise fully the security problems of Rwanda, and we want to address them in the framework of the Lusaka agreement, so that the whole region, when Lusaka is implemented, will live in peace as good neighbours," Reuters reported Levitte as saying. According to the Associated Press (AP), the Council mission proposed the creation of a corridor in eastern DRC in which Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi could deploy troops to protect their countries from attack from DRC-based insurgents. The Council is also pushing for the disarmament, demobilisation and resettlement of the Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian rebels in the DRC and the continuation of the collapsed talks on the DRC's political future, AP added. It quoted Kagame as saying on Monday that the creation of a security perimeter alone would not address Rwanda's security concerns. He said Rwanda could not sit back and wait until the rebels got as far as the border, "while those who supply them, train and organise them are free to do that". However, Kagame told Rwandan radio on Monday that his country was ready to cooperate in all efforts to resolve problems related to the internal situation in the in the DRC. He said Rwanda would help in contributing towards bringing parties together to the negotiating table to find an all-inclusive solution to the DRC's problems, adding that Rwanda was ready to pull out of the DRC if its security threats were addressed.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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