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Sudan Delegation Visits Rwanda

11/16/2005 2:22pm

The New Times (Kigali)

By Edwin Musoni & Eleneus Akanga

A thirteen-man delegation from Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission (SPRC) is in Rwanda for a study tour to acquaint itself with the country's achievements in unity and reconciliation and to share experiences of post-conflict development.

Led by Brigadier General James Kok Ruea, members of the SPRC delegation noted that Rwanda had registered a speedy post-Genocide recovery. "Rwanda's achievements in the past ten years after the Genocide are more than expected," Ruea, who was addressing a conference organised in the delegation's honour by the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), noted.

He added: "conflicts are part of human nature; that is why we are here to exchange ideas with our Rwandan counterparts and this will help in ridding our continent of conflicts."

While opening the one-day conference Tuesday 15 at Maman Sportif, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Charles Murigande, presented a detailed background of Rwanda's post-Genocide recovery and lamented the indifference of the international community in helping the country during the period.

"During the terrible days, Rwanda was not given attention by the international community yet over 9,000 people were being killed everyday," Murigande said adding: "September 11 left 3000 people dead and the whole world felt concerned yet in Rwanda this figure would be multiplied by three daily during the Genocide and no one expressed concern."

Murigande urged the Sudanese to desist from relying entirely on donor assistance, saying: "the future of Sudan lies in your hands; you are the ones to shape your country. If you let the donors drive you then they will even shape your country the way they want it."

The president of National Unity and Reconciliation Commission Jean Baptist Habyarimana told The New Times in an exclusive interview that Rwanda will also benefit from Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission.

"The Sudan Peace and Reconciliation Commission has its way of implementing policies; we may learn new initiatives from them," he said and called for closer cooperation between the two countries.

Meanwhile, while receiving the SPRC delegation Friday last week, the State Minister in charge of Regional Cooperation, Rose Museminari, briefed its members about Rwanda's turbulent history and urged them to strive to achieve peace and unity in their country.

"Attaining unity and reconciliation is not spontaneous, it is a gradual process. It will need your effective hard work and commitment. We both have had a violent past. Our people have suffered a lot. Know your past, it will help you understand and shape your future," Museminari told the visiting team.

She added: "we have invested our resources in peace building, our people were disunited, we formed the unity and reconciliation commission; because we suspected existence of corruption, we set up institutions like the Ombudsman's Office and the Rwanda Revenue Authority to check on the same. You will need all this in conjunction with visionary leadership."

The Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara, who was flanked by the NURC Executive Secretary Fatuma Ndangiza, appealed to the delegation to lay emphasis on peace building and unity.

"Your country's development will depend on your efforts; don't hope for too much assistance from others, they will simply come in to offer some assistance," he said.

About the troubled Darfur region and the Rwanda Defence Forces deployed there, Rutaremara said Rwanda was ready to help foster peace around the world.

"We are determined to help any country in this world as long as we get the means and our services are needed," Rutaremara pledged.

The SPRC visit to Rwanda is part of the South-South Cooperation between Sudan and Rwanda. It was organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aimed at promoting peace building in Eastern and Southern Africa.

During their stay the Sudanese contingent held a meeting with President Paul Kagame and other senior government officials. They are scheduled to leave the country Thursday 17th November 2005.

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