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Rwanda Urged to Negotiate with Congo Rebels

The International Crisis Group is calling for military-to-military negotiations between Hutu rebels in the eastern DRC (the FDLR) and Rwanda. The ICG is an independent group that works to resolve deadly conflict around the world.

The Nairobi-based director of its Central Africa Project is Susan Linee, who told English to Africa reporter William Eagle that her group supports the integration of the FDLR into the Rwandan military. She says this has happened at least one time before, when a leading FDLR commander and some of his men surrendered to the Rwandan government. The ICG wants Kigali to reach some type of accommodation with the FDLR military commanders. But Rwandan officials refuse to negotiate with the political arm of the FDLR until its military wing is dissolved. The ICG says the effort by the UN Mission in Congo and the Congolese army has failed to disarm the group.

The FDLR’s opponents -- the rebels of the Tutsi-led RCD – are concentrated in North and South Kivu along the border between Congo and Rwanda. Ms. Linee says there is no evidence that the RCD takes direct orders from the Rwandan government. But she says the Rwandan government is confident the RCD has similar goals as Kigali – to create a Kinyarwanda-speaking buffer between Congo and Rwanda with Tutsi-led regions along the border of the two countries.