The recent peace-making statement from a major Rwandan rebel militia based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) provides a significant opportunity to move toward peace in the DRC, national reconciliation in Rwanda and normalization of relations between the two countries, the United Nations Security Council said today.
In a statement read out at a formal meeting by the Council's President for April, Ambassador Wang Guangya of China, the 15-member body welcomed the statement issued by the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda (FDLR) on 31 March in Rome, "in which they condemn the 1994 genocide and commit themselves to renounce the use of force and cease all offensive operations against Rwanda."
The Council called on the FDLR to turn their positive words into action and show their commitment to peace by "immediately handing all their arms to the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and by taking part in the programme put in place for their earliest voluntary and peaceful return to Rwanda or resettlement," the statement said.
They should also assist the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania, to fulfil its mandate, particularly with regard to the arrest and transfer to its custody of those who have been indicted but who remain at large, it said.
The Council urged all other armed groups in the DRC which have not followed suit to renounce force and take part in the programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR).
Meanwhile, the Council welcomed the commitment of the Government of Rwanda to guarantee the return and reintegration of FDLR members and their families and called on the international community to support the programme.
It also urged Rwanda and the DRC to work together, cooperating with MONUC "to contribute to peace and stability in the whole Great Lakes region of Africa."