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Membe: Kikwete won’t apologise to Rwanda

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Waziri wa Mambo ya Nje na Ushirikiano wa Kimataifa,Bernard Membe, 

By Samuel Kamndaya The Citizen Reporter

Posted  Saturday, June 1  2013 at  21:16

In Summary

The proposal was made in good faith, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe told Parliament yesterday.

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Dodoma. President Jakaya Kikwete will not apologise to Rwanda or change his stand that the Rwandan government should negotiate with rebels.

The proposal was made in good faith, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe told Parliament yesterday.

Mr Membe said there was no way the Head of State could apologise for saying the truth and stating a fact.

He reiterated Tanzania’s position that Rwanda had no option but to get into peace talks with rebels most of whom are fighting President Paul Kagame’s regime from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) forests.

He said fighting the rebels unsuccessfully for 17 years necessitated the need to negotiate with them.

According to Mr Membe, Tanzania sees the presence of such rebels in the DRC forests as a setback in the region’s peace process.

“Rwanda has opposed President Kikwete’s statement but the President will not apologise because his statement was based on facts….Rwanda should take this advice….Our President cannot apologise for saying the truth,” Mr Membe said shortly after Parliament endorsed the ministry’s Sh138.36 billion budget for 2013/14 fiscal year.

During last week’s 50th anniversary of the African Union in Addis Ababa, President Kikwete called on Rwanda to hold talks with Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels because the military option had failed to end the war with them.

Kigali has strongly opposed the proposal, with Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister, Ms Louise Mushikiwabo, quoted by Radio France Internationale (RFI) as describing Mr Kikwete’s remarks as “aberrant” and “shocking”.

She told RFI on Monday that Rwanda would not consider negotiating with people who were responsible for the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.

“Those who think that Rwanda today should sit down at the negotiating table with FDLR simply don’t know what they are talking about,” she said.

She said it was unfortunate that the rebel group had sympathisers in the region, including President Kikwete.

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