Thursday, October 11, 2012

Francois Hollande says boo to DR Congo

Reuters reports

(Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande called the state of human rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo "totally unacceptable" on Tuesday, just days before he heads to the country for a summit of French-speaking nations.

Hollande, who travels to Kinshasa on Saturday, has promised a clean break from the murky ties that bound France to former African colonies. He has vowed not to interfere in internal politics as countries make transitions through the ballot box.

But on Tuesday, speaking to reporters in a joint press conference with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, he said he had "worries" about the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

I guess the French have a right to claim some sort of leadership in the French speaking world but really how significant are they in a global perspective. Sure they have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council but should they ? That Hollande has " worries " amounts to sweet FA. In a global context I would be more afraid of Australia having worries if I was in the DR Congo. Australia has the ability to actually hurt the Congo unlike the French. On the other hand Australia is to nice to actually try and hurt anyone.

"The situation in the country is totally unacceptable with regards to rights, democracy and the recognition of the opposition," Hollande said.

Africa's second-largest copper producer lies at the bottom of the U.N.'s development index, a measure of wealth, health and education, after decades of corruption and conflict.

Yeah but as I point out Hollande you have a seat on the Security Council and haven't been able to achieve very much with that influence.

"It's hard, it's unjust and it doesn't conform to the reality in Congo. President Hollande is misinformed," Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said.

There are none so blind as those who won't see. At least Hollande isn't blind unlike Mende.

He added, however, that the comments would cause "no problems" between Hollande and President Joseph Kabila, who was re-elected in November in elections broadly criticized by observers for fraud and organizational chaos.

Hollande is making his first trip to Africa since his May election and travels to Senegal before arriving in the DRC.

He had debated whether to go to this Friday's summit, a diplomatic source said, because of Congo's human rights situation. In the end, he opted to attend to send a "strong message" rather than leave an empty chair, the source said.

A strong message. The message is clear, we are financially bankrupt in France and desperately trying to shore up any remaining influence we have in the world in the hope of some future relevance. 

For years, France gave political and military support to African leaders who backed its economic plans, even if that meant ignoring rigged elections or, in the opinion of some critics, influencing them.

Trust me that hasn't changed. It is cultural.


Hollande also warned that the DRC and especially its eastern Kivu province were facing attacks "coming from outside" where a rebellion of army defectors called the M23 has deepened political fissures in Kinshasa. The government and opposition accuse each other of fanning the flames of the distant war.

Well I guess if nothing else he is aware of it.

A grenade explosion in the eastern city of Goma killed one person and injured more than 20, officials said on Tuesday, the latest of a string of deadly attacks.

Congo has accused neighboring Rwanda of aiding rebels in DRC, allegations Rwandan President Paul Kagame has denied.

The worsening political chaos threatens to undermine Kabila's ability to push through political and economic reforms in Congo, a potential mining and oil giant.

Yup potentially a mining and oil giant... but watch Australia. Even better learn from them.

M23 rebels, who have ties to a warlord wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, Bosco Ntaganda, have been fighting government soldiers since April. Some 320,000 civilians have been displaced.

The United Nations said it was working with east and central African states on their proposal for a neutral force to tackle the M23 and other armed groups in eastern Congo.

Hollande said he backed the U.N. plan to strengthen the DRC's frontiers.

So many plans for the DR Congo.

Congo and Rwanda have been uneasy neighbors and have previously gone to war against each other. In the past 20 years, Rwanda has backed armed movements in the DRC, citing a need to tackle Rwandan rebels operating out of Congo's eastern hills.
Hat Tip Alex

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