KIGALI, May 6 (Reuters) – Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday told U.N. envoys pushing for peace in Congo he wanted the Kinshasa government to help end war by taking verifiable steps to disarm anti-Rwandan rebels.
Kagame, the Congo government’s main foreign foe, said Kinshasa’s fulfilment of its pledge to stop arming Congo-based Hutu guerrillas would be in the interests of every player in the complex Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) war.
Asked by reporters if he trusted DRC President Joseph Kabila, Kagame replied: “Trust? You can begin with trust, that’s fine.
“But we always test trust in terms of tangible results, practical things that are actually put in place and in terms of how much we realise our main goals and objectives.”
Kagame was speaking after talks with U.N. Security Council envoys on the last leg of an eight-nation African tour to shore up shaky efforts to end the nearly four-year-old war.
The conflict, which has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, erupted in 1998 when Uganda and Rwanda invaded to back rebels fighting Kabila’s father and predecessor, Laurent.
The two allies later fell out, but kept backing rebels fighting over Congo’s riches as Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia sent in troops to prop up the government.
Participants at the two-hour talks between Kagame and the U.N. envoys described them as cordial.
Rwanda and its Congo guerrilla allies appear increasingly isolated as the envoys, building on a partial peace pact among other combatants, have shuttled across Africa to step up pressure on all sides for reconciliation.
Kagame said he was ready to play a full role in peace efforts and backed internal political reconciliation among Congolese, but he wanted concrete progress in reducing the Congo-based rebel threat to Rwanda.
“If they (Kinshasa) make a promise today that they are going to deliver on that, and that can be easily verified and can be seen…that will be in the best interests of Rwanda and I am sure of other parties in the Congo situation,” he said.