UN's Ban arrives in Rwanda amid leaked report row

by reuters | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 7 September 2010 19:24 GMT

(Adds details, background)

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived on Tuesday in Rwanda, the United Nations said, following a dispute with the African nation over a leaked U.N. report saying its troops may have committed genocide.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Ban flew into the Rwandan capital Kigali on the unannounced visit. He would meet later on Tuesday with Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo and would see President Paul Kagame on Wednesday, Haq said.

Mushikiwabo said last week Rwanda was considering pulling out all its troops from U.N. peacekeeping missions, starting with Darfur in Sudan, because of its anger over the draft report.

The withdrawal of Rwanda's nearly 3,500 troops from the 20,000-strong joint U.N./African Union force in Darfur would be a serious blow to its peacekeeping efforts there.

The report, whose publication the United Nations has delayed until Oct. 1, said in the leaked draft that Rwandan troops may have committed genocide in the 1990s against Rwandan Hutus who had been driven into the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Rwanda has described that charge as malicious and ridiculous.

Haq said Ban, who had been visiting Austria, "decided to visit Kigali to speak directly with the Rwandan President and other government officials about their concern" over the report.

Ban was accompanied by his special envoy to Congo, Roger Meece, U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy and Ivan Simonovic, U.N. assistant secretary-general for human rights.

The U.N. report covers more than 600 serious crimes committed by various forces in Congo during the period 1993-2003 in which tens of thousands of people were killed, U.N. officials say.

The period saw the fall of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and a five-year conflict involving six foreign armies, including Rwanda's Tutsi-led force.

After quashing the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda, Kigali's army invaded Congo, ostensibly to hunt down Hutu fighters who had taken part in the killings and fled to the east of the vast mineral-rich country.

(Reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Eric Beech)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.