Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Allegations on Secret Deal between France and Rwanda

So Antoine Glaser reports in the latest La Lettre du Continent that Sarkozy and Kagame are engaged in a well-orchestrated diplomatic ballet in an effort to head off a direct confrontation regarding each other's responsibility for the 1994 genocide. As part of that effort, France has essentially signed off on a deal to let Rwanda siphon off a portion of eastern Congo's mineral wealth.

According to Glaser, the ballet began on 26 July 2007, when Kouchner took a call from Kagame to discuss how the two countries could resume diplomatic relations. According to Glaser, the report of the Rwandan Justice Jean de Dieu Mucyo and the report by French judge Louis Bruguière established a "balance of terror" between the two countries. Mucyo's report claimed that French forces participated directly in the genocide and specifically accused 33 civil and military French leaders, including Edouard Balladur, Alain Juppé, Dominique de Villepin, Hubert Védrine and Bruno Delaye. Bruguiere's report called for the arrest of a dozen of Kagame's closest associates, whom it accused of shooting down the plane of President Juvénal Habyarimana, the event that precipitated the genocide.

Whatever the merits of either report, they clearly have the capacity to give the other's government considerable embarrassment. Obviously, it would be in both countries' interests to make them go away. To allow France to save face, Rwanda allowed one of Bruguiere's accused, Rose Kabuye, to be arrested on November 9 in Frankfurt and be transferred to Paris for trial.

France responded by orchestrating a deal giving Kagame access to Congolese coltan and tin. In return for putting an end to the depredations of Laurent Nkunda, Congo would enter into a free trade deal giving Rwanda access to the Congo's mineral wealth: "Arrêtez d'agresser votre voisin et de lui piquer ses pommes, et il vous en donnera la moitié." Thus, at a stroke, Rwanda's illegal exploitation of the Congo's mineral wealth, condemned in one UN report after another, would cease to be illegal, and its problems with the international community, which were threatening to come to a head, would be defused.

That's Glaser's story. Whether it's true or partially true or not true at all, I can't say. But I do know this: Ain't no Congolese not going to believe it.

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