Belgium piles pressure on Rwanda

The Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders (Francophone liberal) has threatened to propose United Nations sanctions against Rwanda. Mr Reynders made the threat in a frank conversation with the Rwandan leader Paul Kagame at the end of his trip to Central Africa.

The Belgian Foreign Minister says that Rwanda must take action against the rebellion in eastern Congo; otherwise Belgium will ask the United Nations to impose sanctions against the former mandate territory.

Mr Reynders spoke for two hours with President Kagame and the Rwandan Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo. Afterwards the Rwandan President did not speak with the press.

At a news conference Mr Reynders called on all the countries neighbouring the DR Congo and on Rwanda in particular not to support the M23 rebel movement.

Next week Minister Louise Mushikiwabo is expected in New York to respond to allegations that Rwanda is involved in the rebellion in Congo's North Kivu Province.

Mr Reynders: “An initiative is urgently needed. Otherwise we face an escalation. If Rwanda acts in a positive fashion, then no sanctions will be needed."

Belgium is not planning to follow Sweden and the Netherlands that halted international co-operation and take unilateral action.

Rwanda denies any involvement in the rebellion.

The Belgian Foreign Minister says that both the Congolese President Joseph Kabila and the Rwandan President Paul Kagame are prepared to allow Belgium to play an active role in the (resolution of the) conflict.