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Rwanda denies UN panel charge on Congo

Wednesday December 17 2008



Gen Nkunda. Photo/FILE

Gen Nkunda. Photo/FILE 

By DAVID KEZIO-MUSOKE, Nation Correspondent and Reuters

KIGALI/UN, Wednesday

The Rwandan government has rejected a report by a UN panel of experts that accuses Kigali of supporting Tutsi rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, describing it as inaccurate and biased.

The government’s rebuttal was contained in a seven-page document that attacked the main points in a report from the UN Group of Experts, which recommended expanding a list of individuals and firms facing UN sanctions for supporting rebels in Congo.

The report, which the UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss later this week, accuses Rwanda of supporting rebels loyal to renegade Congolese Tutsi Gen. Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese army of backing Rwandan Hutu rebels, some of whom are accused of participating in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide.

At the same time, Rwanda has dispelled fears that the cut of Dutch aid to the country’s general budget, as a consequence of the UN report would affect the country.

Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister Rosemary Museminali, while addressing the press, said it was rather disappointing that the Dutch responded in that kind of manner, but added it could be a “wake-up call” for Rwandans to re-think about their dependency on foreign aid.

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Meanwhile, the peace talks between Congolese rebels and President Joseph Kabila’s government today failed to kick off in Nairobi as had previously been scheduled.

This is because both parties in the talks had to rearrange their travel arrangements to Nairobi due to severe weather situation in Congo.

The talks are being facilitated by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo and his Tanzanian counterpart Benjamin Mkapa.

In a communiqué sent to media houses, Mr Nasser Ega-Musa, the Officer In Charge of the UN Information Centre however revealed that both parties were expected to arrive today in order to begin the talks tomorrow.

Additional reporting by Dave Opiyo in Nairobi