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DRC Official Lauds Outcome of Francophone Summit

French President Francois Hollande and DRC President Joseph Kabila stand during the opening session of the Francophone Summit, in Kinshasa, DRC, Oct. 13, 2012.
Democratic Republic of Congo Information Minister Lambert Mende said his government is pleased with the outcome of the just-concluded summit of French-speaking nations in the Congolese capital, Kinshasa.

French President Francois Hollande declared his willingness to renew his country’s relationship with Africa.

The leaders also called for an overhaul of the U.N. Security Council to give Africa a better representation.

DRC Communication minister and government spokesman, Lambert Mende (file photo)
DRC Communication minister and government spokesman, Lambert Mende (file photo)
Information Minister Mende said his government is pleased with the summit’s position on the situation in eastern Congo where Kinshasa has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels.

“First of all, they made a very clear statement of solidarity with the Congolese people about the war that is destroying the eastern part of our country from Rwanda. They decided to work to have sanctions against those M23 people, who are killing our people in the eastern part of the country,” he said.

Hollande said he was thinking about the civilian population in North Kivu region who, he said, were being massacred, and the women who he said were being raped.

Mende said his government has asked France to put pressure on Rwanda to stop supporting the M23 rebels.

“Of course, we expressed our gratitude to the French president for having brought to the table the issue of Rwanda security. So, we told him that it is better to point out those who spreading this insecurity, namely Rwanda, not only pointing it out, but putting pressure so that Rwanda can stop interfering in Congo affairs,” he said.

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Some leaders, like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said the DRC, with its poor human rights record, was the wrong choice to host the summit.

Hollande said the Francophone countries must carry “democracy, human rights, pluralism and respect for freedom of expression.”

Some say Hollande was hinting at the re-election of DRC President Joseph Kabila that was marred by some irregularities.

Mende said Kabila told the French president that DRC is not the only country where election irregularities had been reported.

“We have had elections, but they are not worse than those we have witnessed in other countries around us. So, as President Kabila told President Hollande, he should not only blame the DRC and leave other countries where worse irregularities are seen indicating silence,” Mende said.

Mende welcome the French leader’s declaration to renew the relationship between France and Africa on mutuality.

But, he said successive French leaders had made similar declarations and failed to bring about a partnership with Africa.

“Let us hope that this will be done. But, we saw that, since arriving from Dakar, President Hollande started something like giving directives to African states like a master. We said, ‘No you should be abiding by your own commitment that we are partners without a master,’” Mende said.

Mende welcomed the summit resolution calling for an overhaul of the U.N. Security Council to give Africa a better representation. He said, soon, the powerful countries in the United Nations will realize that they cannot continue pushing other countries to institute democratic principles while at the same time refusing to democratize the United Nations.

"I think that it will happen because all those big countries with more influence who are keeping more pressure all over the world about democratizing, they are the ones who are putting in the Security Council a non-democratic organization,” Mende said.