Rwanda : We can and should do better – Kagame tells UN
The Rwandan President made the appeal while addressing a gathering of heads of states and governments at the 67th United Nations General Assembly currently underway in New York.
In an articulate and moving speech, the President made it clear that the continual loss of life and destruction perpetrated by conflict is simply unacceptable, and more need to be done to first and foremost prevent conflict from ever taking root, and also managing those that are already in existence.
“While it may seem that conflict is perennial and its forms increasingly destructive, we have the urgent task of seeking more effective ways to prevent, manage and solve it. The loss we witness or experience on a daily basis – in terms of human life and devastation – is unacceptable” emphasized Kagame.
According to him, “The history of how conflicts have been handled in Rwanda, and indeed in our region shows that improvement is needed. It is our obligation to point this out – not to be critical – but because we subscribe to the ideals and principles on which the United Nations was founded. We can and should do better.”
“Additionally, at a time when wide scale poverty robs too many people of realizing their full potential in life, conflict also detracts us from development”, President Kagame stated.
He had some hard facts to back up his sentiments, pointing out that conflict can have devastating consequences not only for the host country but also her neighbours.
“The stakes are high – a civil conflict costs the average developing country about 30 years of GDP growth and violence can easily spill over borders threatening hard-won progress.”
With Rwanda having come under intense international scrutiny over the last few months after being accused of festering unrest in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, President Kagame also seized the opportunity to drive home his belief that deep analysis of specific political and cultural contexts of any given conflict is the key to finding lasting solutions, as opposed to broad measures that at times do not apply to the specific issue at hand.
“Too often, the inclination is to parachute into a situation with ready-made answers based on superficial examination of the conflict’s dynamics, doing considerably more harm than good, despite the intentions.”
“There is no one-size-fits-all remedy; these issues are complex and should be approached as such for the best possible outcome.”
Rwanda is currently vying for one of the ten rotating seats at the UN Security Council, which it last held in 1994.
President Paul Kagame also in his keynote speech stressed that regional bodies should be allowed to take the forefront in conflict resolution, since they are the ones best placed to understand the root cause of the conflict and correspondingly the best solution.
“It is increasingly obvious that local or regional initiatives aimed at resolving conflicts yield more positive results because those involved have a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. Their proximity to the conflict makes them more invested in a comprehensive resolution, and enables the necessary support for whatever process is agreed upon. We need to see these initiatives strengthened. We should be highlighting root causes as we address conflicts.” He stressed.
Most world leaders speaking at the event, most noteworthy being US President Barack Obama; have so far come out in condemnation of the outbreak of violence in various Middle-Eastern countries as Muslims protest an anti-Islam film released on social media site YouTube, which resulted in US Embassies in predominantly Muslim countries such as Syria and Egypt being attacked, culminating in the killing of a top US envoy in Libya.
More than 120 world leaders and envoys are gathered in New York, where the UN is headquartered, for the 67th regular session of its General Assembly.