Rwanda - Foreign policy



International aid and support are necessary components for the rebuilding of Rwanda. Kagame has traveled widely to European and African capitals, seeking material and financial support for repairing Rwanda's infrastructure. He also worked closely with the United Nations (UN) in efforts to resettle refugees and to maintain peace in the country. In collaboration with the international community, war crimes tribunals were created to find and prosecute the perpetrators of the 1994 massacres. He has been critical of the inadequate international response to the Rwanda crisis and the limited financial resources made available to his government. He even has accused certain organizations of complicity in the Rwanda tragedy. As an English-speaking Tutsi with some U.S. training, his administration can be expected to continue the maintenance of close ties with the governments of Belgium and the United States. Relations with France, which actively supported Habyarimana, are quite chilly. Since the mid-1990s, Rwanda has received military support from the United States in the form of military training of the Rwandan army within Rwanda itself, including combat, military management, disaster relief, soldier team development, land-mine removal, and military and civilian justice.

Rwanda is intrinsically involved in a series of civil wars within the Great Lakes region of Central Africa. First, Rwanda had been an active part of the Great Lakes alliance of Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi, which supported the Congolese rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC) civil war, beginning in 1998. Their opposition includes the governments of Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia, all of whom support the Congolese government. Differences, however, over how to conduct the Congolese war led to division within the alliance, which splintered into two factions, one backed by Rwanda, the other by Uganda. Fighting between the Ugandan and the Rwandan armies began in 1999 at the Kisangani airport and spread to the rest of Kisangani, a town that had been held jointly by the Ugandan and Rwandan forces. A 1999 ceasefire was relatively ineffective.

Two additional battles occurred in March and May 2000, causing the extensive destruction and the deaths of over 600 Congolese civilians. The unraveling of the Uganda-Rwanda alliance seemed to leave little chance that the war in Congo, which has displaced one million people and put another ten million at risk of starvation, would end any time soon, despite an international pledge to install a UN force. By the end of 2002, however, the situation seemed more optimistic. A series of accords signed in 2002, including the Pretoria Agreements of 30 July 2002 and 17 December 2002, led to the withdrawal of Rwandan troops from the DROC late in 2002, and provided for the disarming of Hutu former soldiers operating within the DROC. President Kagame described these agreements as providing a hopeful framework for peace.

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