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La Tribune franco-rwandaise
Actualités, opinions, études, analyses, diplomatie et géopolitique de la Région des Grands lacs.

John Kerry : Press Briefing Announcement Regarding Great Lakes Special Representative

Tribune Franco-Rwandaise #Rwanda

Le principal obstacle à la paix dans la région des grands lacs, c'est le M23, (c'est à dire Paul Kagame). C'est ce qu'il faut comprendre à travers la conférence de presse du Secrétaire d'état John Kerry [NDLR].



John Kerry
Secretary of State
Press Briefing Room
Washington, DC
June 18, 2013

SECRETARY KERRY:  Good morning, everybody.

QUESTION:  It’s a late morning.

SECRETARY KERRY:  Good afternoon.  (Laughter.)

I’m happy to spend just a few minutes with you today and I apologize that I have to run over to the White House quickly after this, but I wanted to be able to focus personally on an important addition to our team here at the State Department; an individual who is going to provide, I believe, a very important focus on a long-troubled region.

As everybody here knows, the suffering in the Great Lakes region of Africa and the ongoing crisis in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to trouble all of us greatly. We are convinced that we have to help the parties find a path to a lasting peace, to a permanent cessation of hostilities, and to the disarmament and demobilization of M23, accountability for human rights abuses, and finally, a breaking down of the barriers that are standing between humanitarian aid and the civilians who need it.

Photo : Russ Feingold

Russ_Feingold_Official_Portrait_3.jpgFor the President and for me, this is a high-level priority and it needs to be met with high-level leadership. And that’s why today, I’m pleased to announce the appointment of my former colleague in the United States Senate, Russ Feingold, as the new United States Special Representative for the African Great Lakes region and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Russ and I served together in the Senate for some 18 years. I have a lot of respect for a lot of qualities of Russ – his intellect, his courage, his passion – but with respect to this mission, chief among those qualities that are important right now is his expertise on Africa. In the Senate, when Russ Feingold addressed the issues of Africa, the Senate listened. He chaired the Africa subcommittee when I was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, and I think my predecessor as chairman, the Vice President Joe Biden, would agree with me that Russ Feingold was the Senate’s leading advocate and expert on Africa. I’m very grateful that he has agreed to come back to government and to apply the expertise that he gained those years for the Obama Administration and for the State Department.

Russ will be coordinating with me and with the Bureau of African Affairs to shape our strategy on the many challenges in the region – cross-border security; political, economic, and social assistance issues; and many other issues. I mentioned some of them earlier – M23, the violence, the need to build confidence and capacity in the region. He will also work very closely with the United Nations Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region, Mary Robinson, and he will work specifically to ensure the prompt and full implementation of the UN’s Peace, Security, and Cooperation Framework.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Ambassador Barrie Walkley for all that he has done, working hard to further peace and security in the Great Lakes and the D.R.C. He has served with great distinction as the Special Advisor on the Great Lakes and the D.R.C. since December of 2011.

I want to emphasize that the stakes in this part of the world – and this was brought home to me in many of my conversations when I was in Addis Ababa for the 50th anniversary of the African Union – the stakes are very significant, and it is absolutely vital that we do everything possible in order to move things in the right direction and make the right choices. I am committed, as the President is committed and as is Russ Feingold, to focusing intensely on this challenge. And I can’t think of anybody better than Russ Feingold to take on the challenge. I’m happy to once again call him my colleague in government service.

So with that, I’ll turn the podium over to Jen Psaki for her briefing, and I can’t unfortunately take any questions now.

QUESTION:  Not on the Taliban?

SECRETARY KERRY:  But a bunch of you will have a chance to have at me in a few days on that. It’s good news. We’re very pleased with what has taken place. Thanks.

Archives de 2009 :

Pressure for FDLR-government talks mounting 

Wednesday, 15 July 2009 11:39 by RNA Reporter

Washington: The International Crisis Group threw in the proposal last week, now a senior United States Senator has written to the Obama administration demanding that it encourages government in Kigali to have “”direct” talks with some FDLR rebels, RNA reports.

The international community should urge Kigali to open direct negotiations with non-genocidaire combatants of the FDLR to encourage their repatriation”, said to Senator Russ Feingold, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he also backs calls for an end to ongoing military operations to forcefully disarm the rebels – some of who are accused of taking part in the Tutsis massacres in Rwanda. 

“It is critical to augment non-military initiatives to induce defections and open channels of dialogue between the warring parties”, says the Senator, a major voice in American foreign policy on Africa. 

On March 31, 2005, the FDLR exiled political hierarchy met in Italy and released a declaration condemning the 1994 Genocide and agreeing to voluntary disarmament. In return, they demanded for talks with government. However, even just the mere mention of it in Kigali rouses bitter rebuttals. 

Rwanda refuses political talks with the rebel group as a whole, but it is willing to welcome combatants on an individual basis. The initiative has seen up to 8000 combatants surrendering, according to the UN mission in Congo. Government maintains it has no business talking to criminals.

In a five-point proposal, Senator Feingold wants the Obama administration to develop a long-term policy to address the conflict in the troubled eastern region of the DRC which has left thousands of civilians at the mercy of rampaging militias -  often as government and the UN look on helplessly. 

The lucrative, but largely underground trade in minerals that the FDLR have depended on must be closed. The Senator says the U.S should work with governments in the region as well as end-user companies under their jurisdiction to establish a framework to bring greater transparency and regulation to the industry. 


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