Regional Stability Is Important to Rwanda – UK Envoy

Rwanda’s foreign policy objective is to have excellent relationship with all her neighbours, the Rwandan High Commissioner to the UK, Ernest Rwamucyo has said.

He was addressing diplomats, journalists, academics and policy researchers at Chatham House in London yesterday.

“Stability in the region is very important for us. We know very well the consequences of instability and the danger and tragedy of conflict,” he said.

The High Commissioner was speaking about Rwanda’s national interests and how these contextualise its regional policies.

He pointed out that Rwanda benefits most when there is peace and stability in the region and has suffered most the consequences of war and instability.

“The whole basis of economic transformation of Rwanda is premised on tourism, financial services, regional trade, ICT services and joint regional infrastructure projects. All these rely heavily on stability, peace and security,” he reiterated.

“For instance, most of our vital tourism infrastructure is located on our frontier with DRC. This makes the stability of DRC vital for Rwanda’s progress”.

He said Rwanda’s pursuit of regional integration is a deliberate strategy to open up the country and the people to a larger and more engaging world instead of remaining insular and inward looking as in the past.

“It is also a means to widen the frontiers for trade, business and market access,” he added.

The High Commissioner noted that Rwanda was currently playing a key role in the regional efforts to find a lasting solution to the DRC conflict through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

He also responded to questions about the recent controversy regarding aid suspension by donors, saying Rwanda is one of the countries where aid delivers the best value for money.

“Rwanda is among the few countries on track to achieve the MDG’s by 2015,’he said.

Citing immunisation, education and health, he said by suspending aid, these services are denied to those who need them.

The basis for suspending aid to Rwanda, he said, is not justified particularly because the aid goes to development and has nothing to do with the allegations of fuelling conflict in Congo.

“There is a moral question there around the rationale and the raison d’être for aid”.

Rwamucyo also said that Rwanda put a very comprehensive response to the accusations levelled by the UN report.

“Our response was very clear where the facts were wrong, and also the fact that the report was submitted without allowing Rwanda to respond to the allegations”. He encouraged the audience to look carefully at the response of Rwanda to the allegations by the UN report.

The High Commissioner also talked about Rwanda Peace Keeping and Support Operations in other parts of the world. Rwandan peace keepers are deployed in Darfur, South Sudan, Haiti, Chad, and Liberia and were involved in stabilising the Comoro’s.

“This is a conscience and deliberate decision Rwanda took because of our immediate history of the genocide and suffering, that we feel others shouldn’t endure if conflict can be mitigated,” the envoy continued to explain.

Today, Rwanda is the 6th largest contributor of UN Peace Keepers in the world.

Chatham House was founded in 1920 and is a world-leading source of independent analysis, informed debate and influential ideas on how to build a prosperous and secure world for all.

The Chatham House Rule, famous throughout the world for facilitating free speech and confidentiality at meetings, originated at Chatham house.

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