In the recent months, the US has been surprisingly engaged in the conflict in DR Congo. Ø On September 15-17th, 2007, the US facilitated a meeting between the ministers of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the D.R. Congo in Kampala, the capital of Uganda on regional peace threatened by the negative forces present in the Congo. Ø Soon after, a US delegation visited Goma, capital of the north Kivu province on November 1st. Ø On November 9th the US administration was among the facilitators of theNairobi Accords between Rwanda and D.R. Congo that required the latter to have an action plan in place by December 1st to disarm the Hutu rebels, a threat to security in Rwanda. Ø This was followed by a visit on December 4th of Mr. William Galveling, US ambassador to the D.R. Congo, regarding the possibility of opening a US embassy office in Goma to monitor the humanitarian and security situation in the region. Ø The US involvement in the peace process in Congo was marked on December 5th, 2007 by two events. First, the gathering in Addis-Ababa , the capitol of Ethiopia and the headquarters of the African Union (AU), to talk about the continuous Congo-Rwanda conflict. Present at the meeting was the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and the D.R. Congo minister in charge of interior affairs Denis Kalume. In a press release read by Ms. Rice, the participants agreed to strengthen security authorities in the D.R. Congo. Second, December 5th marked the end of two months of training of 53 Congolese military officers on the matters of military ethics, human rights, administration, and how to help civilians in war times. According to Okapi Radio, since the beginning of this program in 2006, 573 officers have been trained. Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) salutes all efforts to bring peace and stability in the Great Lakes Region and the D.R. Congo in particular. However, we continue to be concerned by the hesitation of Rwanda to fully cooperate in the Congo-Rwanda peace process. We would like to see the US government take a leadership role in pressuring the Rwandan government with regard to its role in the D.R. Congo crisis and its obligation to be part of the solution. We believe that a diplomatic surge can make a difference. A democratic Rwanda would encourage the Hutu rebels to return home and an engaged Rwanda might put an end to Rwanda’s financial and military support of Nkunda. These are both musts if we are to see peace in eastern DR Congo.
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