Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rwandan troops most respected in Darfur - say that Darfur is not a genocide


Rwanda: Rwandan Troops Most Respected in Darfur- Envoy

The New Times (Kigali)

George Kagame

Recently President Kagame invited all foreign heads of missions and ambassadors for an end of year get together meeting. The New Times' George Kagame managed to have an exclusive interview with Hassan Ibrahim Gadkarim the Sudanese ambassador to Rwanda, the relationship between Rwanda and Sudan, the conduct of Rwandan peace keepers in Darfur being the most prominent issues that were discussed.

TNT: What is your mission here in Rwanda?

Hassan: My mission is to act as a bridge between Rwanda and Sudan, in all sectors where the leaders and peoples can interact for mutual benefit. Ambassadors are conduits of communication between nations, individuals and sectors. Left to themselves they cannot do anything.

What projects are you coordinating between Rwanda and Sudan?

I'm trying to connect technical cooperation in irrigation from Sudan to Rwanda, but am also trying to link the health, agricultural and educational sectors between the two countries.

What lessons have you learnt from Rwanda's recovery to help develop the relations between the Arab dominated North and Christian dominated South Sudan?

The Government of Sudan reached a comprehensive peace settlement with Southern Sudan two years ago, so we learn from the Rwandan experience after 1994, we want to learn lessons from Rwanda and apply to the Sudanese case. Also we are very happy about the presence of Rwandese peace keeping troops in Darfur and the conduct they are exhibiting. As Africans, Rwanda and Sudan share a common experience and a vision for a great future.

Do you target specific projects between Rwanda and Sudan?

Agriculture and irrigation are my biggest concern.

I will establish contact between several sectors in health and education from Sudan and Rwanda.
Then the technocrats will see more avenues for practical work. Sudan has sufficient experience in managing a national budget without foreign supplement.
I believe we can share that knowledge with Rwanda as the country intensifies its fight against poverty.

On 9th Jan, the Comprehensive Peace Treaty between the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the Southern government in Juba was signed. How is the progress so far?

The implementation of the CPT (Comprehensive Peace Treaty) is going on very well, especially in the South. Of course there are problems, but you can understand the progress only if you look at certain indicators, the SPLM (Sudanese People's Liberation Movement) is a liberation movement from the jungle and now it came from the jungle directly into government without being transformed in a political movement or a party.

The government machinery system in the South was starting from scratch, there was no ministry, no institution, no civil service, no transport or sewage system, no electricity or water service. But now if you go to Juba, at least there's some form of government there, there's a parliament and accountability, an army transformed from guerrillas and jungle warriors to an established army that undergoes training. Also in place are budgetary mechanisms. The most important thing is that there's no getting back to war.

What is the situation in Darfur? Is it Genocide or not?
Concerning Darfur, I'm not only speaking as ambassador but I also come from there, so I understand the issue clearly. The problem in Darfur is not religious, because the people in Darfur are mostly Muslims, it is not an ethnic war between black or Arabs, it is a problem of imbalanced development.

The government in Khartoum has not developed the region at the same level as other regions, and this was the same problem with the Southern Sudan provinces. Some people have given it a different interpretation as a war between Arabs and blacks. This is not true; it is an issue of development being shared out differently.(MORE)

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