DR Congo

UN chief meets with Rwanda’s President Kagame to discuss security in the Great Lakes region

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20 March 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Rwandan President Paul Kagame met today to discuss the newly signed United Nations-backed accord aimed at stabilizing the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the context of bringing peace to the Great Lakes region.

President Kagame is one of the eleven African leaders who signed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Region on 24 February. The UN acts as a guarantor, along with the African Union, the 11-country International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, and the 14-member Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The meeting was the first since the Secretary-General selected Mary Robinson as his Special Envoy to support the signatories in implementing the Framework.

According to his spokesperson, the Secretary-General and President Kagame agreed on the importance of working closely with Mrs. Robinson.

Today’s meeting also touched on matters concerning the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mr. Ban underlined the need for all States of the region to cooperate with the ICC, and welcomed the surrender of Bosco Ntaganda to the US Embassy in Kigali. The Congolese rebel leader is accused of being responsible for the use of children in armed conflict and acts of murder, rape and sexual slavery.

As a founding member of the M23 rebel movement, Mr. Ntaganda is believed to have recruited and used children as bodyguards, porters and for other purposes in last year’s rebellion in North Kivu province. These grave violations committed against children resulted in Security Council sanctions against him, including a travel ban and asset freeze.