Canada Welcomes Recent Developments in Democratic Republic of Congo

(No. 34 - February 6, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today commented on developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"Over the past 10 years, Canada has encouraged good relations and cooperation between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda in order to bring peace and stability to the Great Lakes Region," said the Minister.

The governments of the DRC and Rwanda have been working together to implement the 2007 Nairobi Communiqué that calls for the disarmament of the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), which has been linked to the Rwandan genocide. The number of FDLR fighters that are coming forward to be repatriated to Rwanda continues to increase daily. Their presence is one of the root causes of the conflict in eastern DRC.

"Canada supports the involvement of the international community in the demobilization of FDLR militants and the repatriation of the troops and their families," added the Minister. "Canada welcomes these events that can only lead to more peace and stability in the region."

"The Congolese people have suffered enough. Canada urges all parties involved to facilitate full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers to provide assistance to those in need.

"It is essential that all parties protect civilians and ensure that they do not suffer as a result of the joint DRC-Rwanda military operations," said the Minister.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada