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The response of the international community

Influential donor governments and the United Nations, sometimes through MONUC, exerted political pressure on the combatants in North Kivu to stop fighting and, in the cases of Kanyabayonga and Nyabyondo, to fall back to their former positions – pressure that bore fruit after several weeks of negotiation.

In addition various governments and intergovernmental bodies responded quickly to the Rwandan threat to send troops into Congo. The International Committee to Accompany the Transition (CIAT) affirmed the inviolable character of Congolese territorial sovereignty and declared that the presence of foreign armed groups, i.e., Rwandan Hutu armed groups, in Congo could not justify aggression, even if those groups threatened civilians and regional stability.151  MONUC publicly condemned the Rwandan threat to invade the Congo as a serious danger to Congolese sovereignty and the transitional process.152  The United Kingdom and Sweden suspended bilateral aid to the Rwandan government to indicate their concern with Rwandan threats, but by early 2005 Rwanda appeared to have been restored to good favor with donors and received renewals of assistance from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Germany as well as the assurance of substantial debt relief.153  The African Union (A.U.), led by South Africa, also criticized the Rwandan intervention but in response to Rwandan pressure agreed to sending an A.U. force to disarm Rwandan Hutu rebel combatants in the Congo.  Important potential donors like the European Union initially welcomed the A.U. proposal in public, though there were difficulties in finding financial and logistical support for the effort.  After months of discussions in Rome with the Congolese government, the FDLR announced on March 31, 2005 they would lay down their arms and return to Rwanda thus opening the door for continued voluntary disarmament and putting on hold plans for an armed solution.   

[151] CIAT communiqués, December 1, 2004 and December 9, 2004.

[152] Statement of Patricia Tomé, MONUC Director of Public Information, November 24, 2004. 

[153] See IRIN, “Rwanda: IMF, World Bank write off Kigali’s $1.4 billion debt”, April 14, 2005 and IRIN, “Rwanda: EU grants Rwanda €52 million [approx. US$ 67 million] for budget deficit”, April 29, 2005.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>July 2005