John Kerry and Security Council silent on Rwanda backing M23 in Congo


John Kerry addressing the Security Council session on the Great Lakes Region of Africa, 07.25.2013 KPFA Evening News, 07.27.2013

On Thursday, 07.25.2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry led a special UN Security Council session, on the Great Lakes Region and the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but failed to name Rwanda as the aggressor behind the M23 militia. On Friday, the next day, the UN awarded $400 million in aid to Rwanda.   



KPFA Evening News Anchor Cameron Jones: On Monday this week, Human Rights Watch released a news report saying that Rwanda remains behind the M23 militia in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and that M23 is guilty of a new list of atrocities including the extrajudicial execution of at least 44 people and the rape of at least 61 women and girls. The report was published by major media outlets all over the world, and on the following day, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jan Paski told press that State was calling upon Rwanda to immediately end any support to M23, and withdraw its military personnel from eastern Congo. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.  

The Congo conflict has cost over six million lives and created millions of refugees, over two million of them within Congo's own borders.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Two days after the State Department’s spokeswoman called on Rwanda to stop supporting M23, with reference to the Human Rights Watch report, Secretary of State John Kerry led a UN Security Council special session on Congo and the Great Lakes Region. Kerry spoke for over 16 minutes and referred to the report but did not identify Rwanda as the aggressor. All other parties who spoke in turn followed his lead. Many referred  to the report, which does name Rwanda, as the aggressor behind M23, but did not name Rwanda themselves. Loyola University Professor of International Relations Brian Endless, speaking from Chicago, had this to say about why.  

Brian Endless: Speaking about it in the Security Council . . . John Kerry in particular standing up and making a statement saying that Rwanda is involved here . . . would take this to a new level and make this a central issue on the international stage, and I think that's something that the U.S. and other major powers don't wanta do at this point in time. This is not something that's important to the people in power, and whether that's government power, or business power, or military power or the intelligence community, the vested interests that drive the country and that drive other countries in the world have no reason to change the status quo right now. This is one of those inconvenient truths that's out there. Six million. . . I think seven million is probably a safe estimate at this point. . .  people have died in this conflict since the mid-1990s But, no one wants to talk about it. In part, in the case of Rwanda, because the Kagame government was the horse we backed after the genocide, we, the U.S., would get some political pie in the face, if we backed off of that now.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: On Friday, the day after the Security Council session on Congo and the Great Lakes Region, the UN awarded $400 million in aid to Rwanda though even the UN investigators have suggested that aid to Rwanda frees up resources that continue to fuel its war in Congo. 

For Pacifica, KPFA, and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison. 


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