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U.S. Department of State

Department Seal Ambassador Richard Holbroke
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Press Conference Following Meeting With President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and UN Delegation
Kigali, Rwanda, May 7, 2000

President Kagame: Well, this afternoon we had a delegation coming from the Security Council--a delegation of seven ambassadors. We are very happy that they have been visiting our country in line with the support they want to render to the success of the peace process in the Congo, the Lusaka Peace Process. We appreciate that. The discussions went very well. They raised their concerns. We raised with them our concerns. We had a very good discussion, and, as a result of that, we have a joint statement, which clarifies some of the points we were discussing and some of the agreements we have reached in the broader sense of trying to push the Congo peace process forward. So, I would once again, Mr. Ambassador, welcome you and your delegation, and invite you to make a statement to the press.

Ambassador Holbrooke: Thank you, Mr. President. On behalf of our delegation, representing the entire Security Council and composed of seven of its members, I want to thank you and your government for your extreme hospitality and graciousness, and begin, also, by expressing the fact that we reiterated to you--as I think all people must when they come to Kigali--the extreme expression of regret and sense of tragedy for what the country has suffered in recent years.

I want to just say that we found the discussions today intense and detailed and very valuable. We felt that the government of Rwanda throughout our discussions today has shown the most constructive attitude towards implementing the Lusaka Agreement and, in a moment, the Ambassador will read the declaration that the Security Council Mission and the Government are issuing that will contain some statements of the government and some joint statements in a mix which will be self-evident. Thank you again.

We will leave from here for Kampala, where we look forward to seeing President Museveni tomorrow morning. One last word--in addition to the Lusaka Agreements, we had extensive discussions on the recent history of Rwanda so that those of us who are not familiar with the area (or as familiar as we should be) understood more deeply from the Government point of view and the personal experiences of how the people of Rwanda suffered. And finally, we had a substantial discussion of the events in Kisangani and we look forward to continuing that discussion when we see President Museveni.

The cease-fire in Kisangani, as we understand, has more or less taken effect. I think there was a handful of shelling exchanges, but we think it's calm. Both President Kagame and President Museveni have asked that the UN send its military observers in a significantly larger number as quickly as possible. Ambassador Morjean (sp?) and General Diallo (sp?) are in this building now talking about the technical details of getting the people there. They're in Kinshasa. They're ready to go. I would hope that they would be in Kisangani this afternoon, or, at the latest, tomorrow morning.


Question: I wonder if you could explain a little bit further about how you see the long-term future in the Kivu region. In particular, what your proposals are to re-integrate, disarm, and deal with the Interahamwe during the cease-fire?

President Kagame: Re-integrating and repatriation of the Interahamwe is not a new thing. We've done that before. In 1997 we had over a million refugees coming back from the Congo and among them were former soldiers, the Interahamwe and we re-settled most of them and we re-integrated most of the former soldiers back into our own forces. So this is something done before anyway. We propose to do similar things if these people lay down their arms and agree to come back home, then we will re-settle them into the rest of the society and those whom we can re-integrate in other areas, we will do so. So that's not going to be a big problem. Kivu remains problematical.

That is, of course, next door to our country. It has a lot of ex-FAR (Rwandan Armed Forces) and Interahamwe roaming all around and causing problems. Initially, they had been supported by Mobutu, later on by Kabila, and that has been the cause for the second fighting that went on in the Congo since 1998. But those issues are being addressed in the Lusaka Peace Process and we are trying to find a settlement for that. Along with that, we shall find solutions for the problems in Kivu and the rest of the Congo.

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