Written Answers. - Great Lakes Region.

Bernard J. Durkan


95 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the extent to which the situation in Rwanda is being monitored; his views on whether the current situation is satisfactory; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22314/98]

The Government remain seriously concerned about the situation in Rwanda which is still recovering from the impact of the appalling 1994 genocide, the subsequent return of over 1.2 million refugees and insurgency by Hutu militias in the north-west. We are particularly concerned about the impact on Rwanda of the conflict in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo which has serious ethnic and security implications. Along with our EU partners, we attach great importance to the success of current efforts by regional leaders to resolve that conflict which has embroiled a number of neighbouring states and threatens the stability of the entire Great Lakes Region. This conflict also has the propensity to undo any progress which has been made towards national reintegration and reconciliation in Rwanda with the support of Ireland and other members of the international donor community.

In my reply to an oral question on a related issue today, I outlined how full human rights observance and the rule of law continue to be a core objective of the Government's policy in relation to Rwanda and, by extension, the other countries of the Great Lakes Region. We fully recognise that the situation in these countries is far from satisfactory. This recognition is reflected in the Union's ongoing contacts with the Government of Rwanda and the continuing efforts of the EU Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region, Mr. Aldo Ajello, to resolve the current crisis. Because of the shared ethnicity of the countries concerned and the legacy of genocide which pervades Rwanda and the other countries of the Great Lakes Region, continued focus must be maintained on the reform of both national and regional structures. Progress in Rwanda will have a direct impact on the potential for real progress at regional level as will failure in that country.
The Government and our EU and UN partners will continue our efforts to resolve the current situation in Rwanda. These will continue to focusinter alia on full human rights observance and the creation of improved and transparent mechanisms for human rights accountability.