UN Speakers Urge Even-Handed Approaches To Crises
29 September 1999
SPEAKERS IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY URGE EVEN-HANDED APPROACHES TO CRISES
"Rwanda demonstrates what Kosovo might have become, had we not intervened in 1999 and Kosovo demonstrates what Rwanda might have been, had we intervened in 1994", Bronislaw Geremek, the Foreign Minister of Poland, told the General Assembly this afternoon as it continued its general debate.
"We have learned that what should not repeat itself is the unacceptable inaction which occurred in the past", he stressed. Could the new outbreaks of conflict in Kosovo and East Timor have been averted and was there the political will to head them off in the future? The international community had the same responsibility to all ethnic groups, yet in Kosovo, while the ethnic cleansing of Albanians by Serbs had been stopped, Serbs and Roma were now under threat.
Donald McKinnon, Foreign Minister of New Zealand, said a comparison between East Timor and Kosovo was inevitable. Collective action to stop a humanitarian disaster should never be held hostage to the veto. Otherwise the Security Council would lose its credibility and relevance. The world must never again witness horrors such as those in Kosovo, while the Council remained impotent. The credibility of that body depended largely on its being seen as even-handed in its attention to crises wherever they occurred, whether the Cable News Network (CNN) was there or not.
As the United Nations must be able to respond effectively to crises, the trend towards relying on voluntary funding to finance new peacekeeping operations was disturbing, warned the New Zealand Foreign Minister. That could mean that regions that did not attract donor support would not receive the response to which they were entitled. All operations must therefore be put on an equal financial footing by means of assessed contributions. Also, the largest contributors' arrears to the peacekeeping and regular budgets continued to cast a shadow over the Organization.
Yerodia Abdoulaye Ndombasi, Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi had invaded his country, claiming to defend their borders but actually committing genocide and plundering his country’s cobalt and diamonds. Those resources were now trading on the Stock Exchange and people were buying
General Assembly Plenary - 1a - Press Release GA/9616 17th Meeting (PM) 29 September 1999
them, even though they came from bloody hands. The three countries should go home. He called upon the international community to intervene to stop the invasion, and said that countries acting against the principles of the Charter should not attend the Assembly.
Expressing concern about diminished cooperation for development and a hardening of attitudes, Seymour Mullings, Foreign Minister of Jamaica, said the challenge to the banana regime established within the framework of the Lomé Convention and the ruling of the World Trade Organization panel on that issue underlined the indifference of some countries to the plight of others. The banana controversy signified the extent to which the interests of small producers were at the mercy of those in a position of dominance in the world economy and world trade.
Malam Bacai Sanha, President of Guinea-Bissau, said the conflict in his country had deeply shaken his people and led to massive flows of refugees, as well as devastation of socio-economic structures. An emergency programme was needed in his country to ensure lasting peace and economic development. He made an urgent appeal for support in his country's efforts to restore the constitutional order.
Also speaking in today's debate were the Foreign Ministers of Tunisia, Armenia, Gabon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Lithuania, and Antigua and Barbuda.
Statements in exercise of the right of reply were also made this afternoon by the representatives of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Assembly will continue its general debate tomorrow, at 10 a.m.
Assembly Work Programme
The General Assembly this afternoon continued its general debate. The President of Guinea-Bissau as well as the Foreign Ministers of Jamaica, Poland, New Zealand, Tunisia, Armenia, Gabon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lithuania, and Antigua and Barbuda were expected to speak.
SEYMOUR MULLINGS, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, expressed concern about diminished cooperation for development and a hardening of attitudes. The banana regime established within the framework of the Lomé Convention and the ruling of the World Trade Organization panel underlined the indifference of some countries to the plight of others. The economies of some Caribbean States faced a danger not only to their prospects for economic stability and growth, but to their very survival. The banana controversy signified the extent to which the interests of small producers were at the mercy of those in a position of dominance in the world economy and world trade.
He said that another discouraging trend was the reduction of levels of development cooperation. In the case of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), technical assistance had been shrinking over the last five years. The process under way was directed at generating cost savings and pooling resources, without increasing the quantum of funding available for development cooperation under United Nations auspices.
Jamaica was also concerned about the growing trade in weapons, terrorist activities, and drug trafficking. He welcomed preparations for the first international conference on small arms.
Turning to international security, he endorsed the Secretary–General’s quiet diplomacy. International law affecting the sovereignty of States should not be brushed aside. The Security Council should not be ignored in favour of unilateral action. Expressing support for peace efforts in West Africa, Angola, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia, he said Jamaica expected the States in his own region to solve their disputes by peaceful means. The continued embargo against Cuba carried the risk of conflict. He called for dialogue, normalization of relations and an end to policies of confrontation and exclusion.
BRONISLAW GEREMEK, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Poland, asked whether the new outbreaks of conflict in Kosovo and East Timor could have been averted. Was there the political will to head them off in the future? If the answer was positive, what should be done to translate political commitment into action in a concerted and effective way? How should the system of international relations be improved to give people the hope that they would not be left defenceless in the face of genocide and persecution? The Charter had been born of the lessons from a devastating world war. Most of today's conflicts, however, were of an intra-state nature. "Can we tackle the new challenges with existing concepts and notions only?" he asked. "We have come to accept that absolute sovereignty and total non- interference are no longer tenable." There could be no sovereign right to ethnic cleansing and genocide. "What should not repeat itself is the unacceptable inaction which occurred in the past … Rwanda demonstrates what Kosovo might have become, had we not intervened in 1999 and Kosovo demonstrates what Rwanda might have been, had we intervened in 1994."
The international community’s responsibility was the same with respect to all ethnic groups, he said. In Kosovo, the ethnic cleansing of Albanians by Serbs had been stopped and reversed, but Serbs and Roma were now under threat in Kosovo. It was not easy to reflect adequately the primacy of the human person and human rights in international law. First, there were still too many cases where the practice of curbing and limiting human rights to preserve political power hid behind hypocritical lip-service to those rights. Second, the legal framework of intervention, which should enable quick and effective action, was too often distorted by selective and subjective interpretations. On the one hand, the banner of humanitarian intervention should not be used as a pretext for imposing political control and domination from the outside. On the other hand, the principle of humanitarian intervention had to be fairly and consistently applied to avoid double standards.
He said the development of international law should uphold the basic truth that a sustainable and secure world order could only be built on the freedom of the human being. Armed intervention was a sign of the failure of cooperative methods. "We support wholeheartedly the efforts to foster a new culture of prevention." The world still needed the United Nations; the Organization needed a new vision and a reinforced commitment to the principles of the Charter on the part of Member States. Those actors who were closer to events and had a larger stake in regional stability might be more willing to react promptly and with greater determination. Thus, the key was closer political and operational cooperation between the Security Council and regional organizations. The process of United Nations reform needed to be deepened and accelerated. "Let us think anew on how to strengthen the authority of the Council, and how to preclude a possibility that its decisions are ignored or mis-implemented by individual States".
He said that a few weeks ago two young African stowaways had frozen to death in a flight from Conakry to Brussels. They had left behind a moving letter addressed to "you and officials of Europe", which said: "Help us. We suffer enormously in Africa. As children we have no rights. We have wars and diseases, and lack of food. We wish to be educated. Help us so we can study and be in Africa the same way that you are in Europe." There was no appeal more eloquent than those words of despair written by children. "We need to find the right solutions to social and economic despair", he stressed. Social failure and frustration caused conflicts and destabilization. "We must think about how to integrate social and economic programmes within the general imperative of a new culture of prevention."
MALAM BACAI SANHA, President of Guinea-Bissau, said Africa was seeing an increase in the number of conflicts. West Africa had not been spared, having undergone a number of fratricidal crises, including those in Liberia, Sierra Leone and his own country. Among the most important causes of the crises were the ineffectiveness of State authority, bad governance, violations of human rights, non-compliance with the principle of separation of powers between sovereign bodies, corruption, and deterioration of living conditions, as well as frustration and despair in the fight for freedom.
The events of 7 June 1998 had resulted from such causes, he said. That tragedy had deeply shaken his people and led to massive flows of refugees, as well as the devastation of economic and social structures. Now the people of Guinea- Bissau wished to live in peace, fully enjoying their fundamental rights. His country wanted to promote peace and national reconciliation on the basis of democracy and the rule of law. He was also pleased to announce that a conference on national reconciliation had recently been held. Elections were scheduled for 28 November. However, an emergency programme was needed to ensure lasting peace and economic development. He appealed urgently for support for his country's efforts to restore the constitutional order. He stressed the importance of positive relations with the countries of the subregion, including Senegal and Guinea.
Continuing, he expressed solidarity with the people of East Timor and demanded that their right to self-determination be respected. He appealed to the international community to step up their assistance towards the rebuilding of East Timor. His Government also supported the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in the search for peaceful solutions to crises in Africa. The situation in Angola was a cause of concern; energetic action was needed to restore peace there. The situation in the Middle East also deserved particular attention. He hoped that the embargo against Cuba would soon be lifted.
DONALD MCKINNON, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of New Zealand, said the Security Council's response to today's problems did not always increase confidence in the Organization. The Secretary-General's remarks about the need to reconcile universal legitimacy and effectiveness in defence of human rights were most timely. East Timor and Kosovo represented two extremely serious challenges that the Council had faced this year. New Zealand was proud to be a contributor to the multinational force in East Timor. The people responsible for crimes against humanity there should be brought to account. The overriding objective now must be to ensure the realization of the outcome of the ballot and East Timor's transition to independence. It was clear that the United Nations would be indispensable in laying the basis for East Timor's future.
Comparison between East Timor and Kosovo was inevitable, he said. Collective action to put a stop to a humanitarian disaster should never be held hostage to the veto. Otherwise the Council would lose its credibility and relevance. New Zealand had never accepted that narrow interests of any one of the five countries should be able to override the will of the clear majority of members. The world must never again witness horrors, such as those in Kosovo, while the Security Council remained impotent. The credibility of the Council depended in large part on its being seen as even-handed in its attention to crises, wherever they occurred, whether CNN was there or not. For much of the past year, the Council had been virtually paralyzed on the important question of the disarmament of Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. The reason again has been the divisions among the permanent members who could block any action by veto. That was unacceptable. Regarding the reform of the Council, he added that he was not convinced that a more equitable representation would be achieved if the regional groups continued to reflect the political geography of the 1960s. New Zealand was looking forward to joining a regional group, which would include its Asia/Pacific neighbours.
In New Zealand's immediate region, he continued, the United Nations had demonstrated its ability to respond by supporting the regionally inspired peace process in Bougainville and assessing the needs of the population in the Solomon Islands. As the United Nations must be able to respond effectively, the trend away from financing new peacekeeping operations by means of assessed contributions and an increasing reliance on voluntary funding was disturbing. In practical terms, that was likely to mean that those regions which failed to attract donor support, would not receive the response they were entitled to. For that reason, all operations must be put on an equal financial footing by means of assessed contributions. Also, the largest contributor’s arrears to the peacekeeping and regular budgets continued to cast a shadow over the Organization. As for official development assistance (ODA) , he applauded the efforts to turn the situation around and to put the UNDP on a more secure footing with more clearly defined priorities.
SAID BEN MUSTAPHA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, said that the issues giving rise to the security problems confronting Africa should remain a top priority. Strong international support was needed to overcome them. Africa had given priority to the settlement of disputes to put an end to the bloodshed in the continent, alleviate the sufferings of Africans and ensure security, peace, stability and prosperity. The Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution had achieved encouraging results that reflected the determination of African countries to rely, first and foremost, on their own capabilities to solve the problems which threatened their security. The Mechanism needed stronger financial and technical support from the international community, to enhance its capacities and develop its efficiency.
He said there could be no stability without sustainable development. Despite the relentless efforts undertaken by African countries in the political, economic and social fields aimed at improving the situation of their peoples, there were still many difficulties preventing many countries from implementing their development programmes. The African continent urgently needed strong and continuous support, on the basis of their national priorities.
The year 1999 represented a landmark in Tunisia in the consolidation of the democratic process, he said. It would be marked by pluralistic presidential and parliamentary elections, based on full transparency and freedom of choice for its citizens in the framework of the respect of law. He reviewed his Government’s efforts to promote women's freedom, consolidate the protection of children, and enhance the protection of other vulnerable groups.
Calling for recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, especially its right to an independent state with Al Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, he stressed the importance of resuming negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks. He called for Israel’s complete, unconditional withdrawal from South Lebanon and the Syrian Golan. He also called for a speedy and final lifting of the embargo against Lybia. Finally, he said Tunisia expected the reform of the Security Council to lead to fulfilment of the requests of the developing countries, primarily African countries, to have permanent representation.
VARTAN OSKANIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said it was evident all countries of the world would continue to be substantially affected by globalization. Markets would continue to specialize and widen through trade, there would be larger division of labour, and more efficient, diversified allocation of financial resources, which would increase overall productivity and raise living standards. No country would benefit spontaneously and automatically from the process, however. The major tasks before governments was to develop and pursue sound policies and appropriate structural adjustments to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalization. Sound domestic economic planning and reforms were critical, while regional cooperation and integration were essential.
He said both his country and his region were adjusting to the multiple stresses of post-Soviet economic, cultural and political transformations, both within States and among them. Neither would allow itself to be marginalized. Rather, lasting stability and prosperity based on a sense of solid and shared emergent values would be achieved through close regional cooperation, whether political, economic or security based. As a young republic in transition between the nightmare of a totalitarian single-party State and an emerging democratic, free market and open society, Armenia was simultaneously faced with three tasks. It had to consolidate its State structures, move its economy forward and resolve a territorial conflict over Karabagh.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) played a key role in finding a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, he said. It had been actively involved in defining the elements for a durable peace and stability in the Transcaucasus. It was trying to reconcile seemingly incompatible principles. At issue was the need to distinguish between stability and the forced maintenance of the status quo. Conflating the two was neither wise nor practicable in the long run, and a political status quo was neither inherently permanent nor a viable policy for stability, which required a mechanism accommodating an evolutionary, dynamic process of managing change. Those issues concerning Armenia’s affairs were among the fundamental phenomena of countries that needed the attention of a world preoccupied with immediate crises.
JEAN PING, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon, said that some nations steadily acquired prosperity and progressed while others, many of them African, seemed destined to become ever more destitute. There were 1.5 billion people around the world who lived on less than a $1 a day, 1 billion who were incapable of reading and writing, and 3 million Africans who lived on the fringes of the global village. There were also those who were reduced to slavery in modern times, at the mercy of moneylenders. It was crucial that the debt problem be analysed not only in terms of socio-economic indicators but also in terms of the measures that States must employ to combat poverty. While his Government praised the initiative by the Group of Seven industrialized countries and the Russian Federation to cancel the debt of the most heavily indebted countries, the criteria for eligibility were very restrictive. The rich North had not only a duty but an interest in making sure that its poor southern neighbours could take advantage of the opportunities presented by globalization.
The time had come to seriously tackle the unavoidable problem of poverty eradication, he said. The Organization must promote enhancement of living standards, full employment and social development. The Organization's efforts to maintain international peace had been severely put to the test, particularly in Africa. Nonetheless, there were some encouraging signs in certain African subregions. Gabon was also pleased with the resumption of the peace process in the Middle East. However, more efforts were needed in Angola due to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) lack of adherence to agreements. Somalia was also still without state institutions. The illegal circulation of small arms and light weapons hampered development, peace and security and encouraged the phenomena of child soldiers and racketeering.
Gabon was not immune to the of armed conflicts that plagued Africa, he went on. Some countries paid heavy prices for their solidarity with peoples driven from their homes and countries. Even though it had lived in peace and had never experienced war with another State, Gabon shared the burden of war. Large migratory flows into his country had led to internal disruption; it had recently accepted 50,000 refugees. His President had recently proposed the creation of an African centre for emergency humanitarian intervention.
Although Gabon was the only sub-saharan country where financial and monetary institutions were classified in the highest bracket of middle-income countries, its development indicators were similar to those of many other African countries, he said. It had opened its economy, lifted tariff and non-tariff restrictions, and set up new stable and legal institutions to encourage investment. The stage had been set but the actors had not yet made an entrance; investors had avoided Africa so far.
ALLAN CRUICKSHANK, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tourism and Information of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said that the argument that the United Nations had outlived its usefulness and now existed only as “the world’s most expensive debate club”, was the argument of big, powerful nations who could afford to take that position. For small, vulnerable developing countries, however, the United Nations and other multilateral organizations were important buffers in the interplay between finance and politics in the international arena. "The operating budgets of many transnational corporations are far greater than the national budgets of developing countries like my own”, he noted. "We are all painfully aware that the international development agenda is controlled by these corporations."
He said the benefits of globalization had not been evenly distributed, and that developing countries continued to be marginalized. While he respected the general thrust towards open markets, competition and free trade, the economic survival and social stability of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remained closely linked to the banana trade. In fact, banana exports accounted for 50 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) for the Windward Islands, but Windward Island exports accounted for only 1 per cent of the world trade in bananas. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines provided 40 per cent of the employment for the banana industry. "The imminent collapse of our major banana market demonstrates just how powerless small developing States continue to be against powerful countries and their mega- corporations." The United States’ disregard for that situation was inexplicable. The consequences of such a stance would be economic and social dislocation manifested by increased unemployment, impoverishment of farmers, crime and the erosion of basic human rights and dignity.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines was resolute in its opposition to the international drug trade, he said. The Government had moved bilaterally and with member countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to establish agreements of mutual assistance in criminal matters. His Government recognized its own limitations in confronting the enormous power and resources or drug traffickers; it had signed an agreement that allowed foreign authorities to pursue such criminals in its territorial waters. It had also enacted financing regulations to ensure against laundering of drug money.
He condemned the transshipment of hazardous material through Caribbean territorial waters, and said that implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action was imperative to his country’s survival. Finally, he called for remodelling of the Security Council along democratic lives.
YERODIA ABDOULAYE NDOMBASI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, expressed concern about the ongoing invasion of his country. Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi had invaded the Democratic Republic of the Congo on 2 August 1998 without being provoked. Since then, they had been violating the principles of Article 2 of the Charter. They claimed to defend their borders but they had turned into genocidal killers. They wanted his country’s rich cobalt and diamond resources. Those materials were now trading on the Stock Exchange and people were not refusing to buy them, although the sellers had bloody hands.
The invaders had arrived just when the Congolese were rebuilding their country, he said. Since they had crossed the Congolese borders, his people had suffered many atrocities. Many were hiding in the forests to escape massacres. Many children could not be vaccinated because Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi had destroyed vaccines sent by the United Nations. He urged the United Nations
Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, if they were his country’s “friends” should go home because "they have nothing to do with our country". He called upon the international community to intervene to stop the invasion. He stressed that countries acting against the principles of the Charter should not attend the General Assembly. Despite the ceasefire agreement signed on 10 July 1999, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi had never stopped their massacres and atrocities.
ALGIDRAS SAUDARGAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, said that Member States should be able to find common ground in Charter principles and the defence of humanity. Just last year, Angola, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and East Timor had posed new challenges to the United Nations and made the international community re-evaluate its actions in conflict prevention, the role of the Security Council and its interaction with regional organizations.
The reform of the Council was urgently needed; too often had it been accused of failures in the maintenance of international peace and security, he said. Its efficiency could be enhanced by improving its representativity, legitimacy and credibility, which could promote wider acceptance of its decisions. There were two most qualified industrialized countries which could become permanent members of the Security Council. Developing nations deserved additional seats in both permanent and non-permanent categories.
The United Nations needed resources and cooperation to fulfil its mandate to maintain international peace and security, he continued. Lithuania had signed the Stand-by Agreement at the beginning of 1998. A substantial part of its contribution was comprised of well-trained civilian police, who would serve in Kosovo. A comprehensive set of political measures would have to be elaborated to be approved at the Millennium Summit. New instruments were needed to ensure accountability for gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity.
Weaponry and armaments could be reduced by common actions, regardless of borders, he said. Although there was a consensus that weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated, nuclear disarmament was unacceptably unstable. Conventional arms also destroyed lives. Europe was blessed with good regional security instruments. The proposed European security charter would further build on the ideals of democracy, peace and unity.
PATRICK ALBERT LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda) said globalization could severely reduce the sovereignty of the weakest States. There had been a sad lack of attention to the pace, direction and content of liberalization, taking into account different levels of development and the need to build up national capabilities. Protectionist devices such as subsidies, guaranteed markets, and production-ratio and price-level controls were provided for farmers in the dominant economies. But when former colonial countries provided preferences to their previous colonies of exploitation, they were challenged in the World Trade Organization by multinational enterprises. There was no more blatant example of that than the actions of Chiquita in regard to the Caribbean banana producers. The United Nations should stand up to the encroachment of multinational enterprises that attempt to stifle the lifeblood of legitimate and sovereign countries.
His Government had been surprised that a member of the Security Council had challenged his country's first country cooperation framework, on the basis of Antigua and Barbuda’s per capita income in 1998 and its rank in the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report. But there had been no mention of the fact that Antigua and Barbuda ranked extremely high in the vulnerability index, due in part to the damage inflicted upon the islands by frequent hurricanes. To narrowly base the environmental, economic and developmental health of the twin island State on per capita income and to ignore the persistent problems confronted by most Caribbean small island developing States was unfair and unjust.
He said that there was an urgent need for the World Trade Organization to apply special and differential treatment to small island States, as it did to least developed countries. There was also a need to set up a disaster fund. "Whereas the existing mechanisms address the purpose of relieving immediate suffering and agony, they are woefully insufficient for reconstruction and rehabilitation.
Statements in Right of Reply
JOSEPH MUTABOBA (Rwanda) said that after hearing the baseless allegations by the Foreign Minister from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he felt compelled to set the record straight. The international community was well aware of the tragedy endured by his country. It would take too long, however, to respond to the Congolese Minister's long and confusing speech. The first aggression had been against Rwanda. Armies had been allowed to re-group and re-train from refugee camps located along the border between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Those armies had been fed and granted refugee status in violation of the Charter. In addition, large numbers of Rwandans were held hostage, with the support of the ex-President of the former Zaire, Sese Mobutu.
He said the Congolese leadership could not deny the assistance against Mr. Mobutu which they had sought and received from Rwanda and other countries. They had even acknowledged this in writing, accepting assistance from several friendly countries. There was a need to distinguish between fact and fiction, perception and reality. President Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo had to answer in a court. The Congolese speaker had referred to Rwandans today in vile terms. The last time he had heard such an inflammatory speech was in a market in Ethiopia.
He said the cycle of impunity was still taking place. He asked the Assembly to continue efforts to resolve the crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as the problem of disarming the criminals who were responsible for the genocide still remained
HAROLD ACEMAH (Uganda) said his country’s position on the internal conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was well known. It had been clearly enunciated in the General Assembly, the Security Council and other forums. Ugandan troops were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as a result of the agreement between the two countries, an issue which had been discussed as recently as last week before the General Assembly. "I shall not waste any more time on that issue."
He categorically denied the false, malicious and gratuitous statements made against Uganda by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He reiterated that Uganda abided by all the principles of the Lusaka Accords.
He also reminded the Congolese speaker that, without the gallant efforts of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo would still be Zaire, "ruled by Mobutu and his cronies". And the Minister himself would most likely be "hiding somewhere in the jungles of the Congo".
Finally, he said that the "unnecessary diatribe" by the speaker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo was in violation of the letter and spirit of the Lusaka Accords, which had been signed by the speaker's own President. ANDRE MWAMBA KAPANGA (Democratic Republic of the Congo) said that there had been genocide in Rwanda in which 500,000 had died in 1994. However, that genocide had been perpetrated by Rwandans against Rwandans on Rwandan soil. Not a single Congolese had gone there to kill Rwandans. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had received Rwandan refugees who had created desolation and extreme poverty in his country. The genocide did not mean that Congolese should tolerate Rwandan soldiers in the Congo perpetrating further death and genocide. The underlying reason for the presence of Rwandans and Ugandans in the Congo was the resources that were available.
He said his country had committed itself to respecting the Lusaka Accords and would see that its terms were applied. It was not the Democratic Republic of the Congo that was guilty of holding up implementation. Today, Uganda and Rwanda were amassing troops, bringing in weapons and occupying other parts of his country, even after signing the Lusaka Accords. That showed that they were not committed to peace. After signing the Accords, his Government had requested the Council and the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force as soon as possible so that peace could prevail in his country and the rest of the region.
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