DR Congo

DRC: French minister calls on foreign militants to accept repatriation

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KINSHASA, 28 February (IRIN) - French Minister for Cooperation Pierre-Andre Wiltzer ended his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Thursday with a call on all foreign armed groups to accept repatriation.
"I call on all foreign armed groups to seize this opportunity to return to their countries in security and with dignity, particularly with the opening of a reception centre in Lubero [in eastern DRC]," he said during a news conference in the DRC capital, Kinshasa.

He was referring to his visit on Monday to the northeastern DRC city of Kisangani, which is controlled by the Rwandan-backed Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma). He said the primary objective of his visit there was to express France's support for the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC. "I reminded them of the importance of the process of demobilisation, disarmament, repatriation, reinsertion, and reintegration [commonly referred to as DDRRR] that France is supporting financially," he added.

So far, MONUC has repatriated about 800 Rwandan militants of what MONUC estimates to be a total of 13,000 Rwandan former combatants [ex-FAR and Interahamwe, largely responsible for the 1994 massacre of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and politically moderate ethnic Hutus] currently in DRC territory, most of whom are in eastern regions controlled by RCD-Goma.

During his visit to the DRC, Wiltzer also signed agreements for the provision of over €8 million (US $8.61 million) in aid, and held talks with President Joseph Kabila.

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