German envoy says Africa should take lead in neutralizing FDLR

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The African Union should take the lead in bringing an end to the issue of Rwandan rebels, the FDLR and ensure peace and security in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), the German ambassador to Rwanda Peter Fahrenholtz said Tuesday.

Fahrenholtz spoke after a meeting with members of the Rwandan Parliament, in Kigali, where he accompanied seven visiting members of German Parliamentary group.

Fahrenholtz said the German government firmly believes that FDLR and other negative forces in DR Congo have to be dissolved, but it has to be done with cooperation from African governments.

“This is taking place in an African country — we cannot come in as Europeans and violate the sovereignty and dignity of this continent.

We want to do this together with African leaders and African Union (AU),” Fahrenholtz said.

Two political leaders of the FDLR, Ignace Murwanashyaka and his deputy Straton Musoni are currently on trial in a German court over leading the FDLR.

The deadline given for the FDLR to voluntarily disarm or face military offensive expired on January 2.

Fahrenholtz insisted that regardless of the delays to neutralize FDLR, the international community has a consensus and similar opinion that there has to be peace in Eastern DR Congo.

He noted that the UN mission in DR Congo, Monusco has never been in a better shape than they are in now.

The UN spends about 1.5 billion U.S. dollars on Monusco every year, of which Germany contributes about 100 million U.S. dollars.

The envoy insisted that the big budget is aimed at resolving insecurity problems in the Eastern DR Congo to create a lasting peace in the Great Lakes region.

“Rwanda has done very well is rebuilding itself..It is very important that this conflict has to end, so that the entire region builds itself like Rwanda has done,” he said.

Fahrenholtz pointed out that for the international community to operate freely there must be cooperation and goodwill from the Kinshasa government too, in regard to the neutralization of FDLR.

We are in the 21st century, he said, African problems have to be solved by Africans-but we can come in and support in good will from our African partners and all stakeholders in the region, including the DR Congo government.

The German foreign minister is expected in Kinshasa Thursday before heading to Kigali on Friday to discuss FDLR issue among other things.

The German delegation which arrived in Rwanda on Saturday is in the country on a four-day official visit to deliberate on issues regarding

German-sponsored development projects in the country and matters regarding budget support and inter-parliamentary relations.

Monusco reported last week that it had halted support to Congolese troops for operations against the FDLR following a decision by Kinshasa to appoint Gen. Bruno Mandevu to head its army operation against the FDLR and Gen.

Fall Sikabwe as commander of the 34th military region, largely covering eastern DR Congo’s North Kivu Province where the offensive would concentrate. End

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