Addis Ababa, 29 January 2013
This morning, President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame attended the African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa. The opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly began with the handover of the chairmanship from Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz of Mauritania.
In the remarks concluding his chairmanship, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn thanked all African Union members for their support and urged them to work towards a dignified Africa:
“Let us strive to achieve our collective vision of a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa.”
The opening session was marked by an award ceremony, which saw Rwanda receive the African Leaders Malaria Alliance award.
The session was followed by Heads of State discussion and presentation of various reports including the report of the Peace and Security Council.
Commenting on the report, President Kagame emphasized the need for Africa to solve its peace and security issues across the continent:
“There is increasing evidence of Africa’s genuine commitment to manage our own security crises. But a lot more could be done, if together, we redoubled our efforts to confront instability; the single biggest obstacle to the prosperity we all aspire to.”
President Kagame urged those present to end the continuous impunity of the FDLR in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo:
“Despite the welcome agreement signed between the government of DRC and M23, an armed group behind the 1994 genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda, the FDLR, remains untackled, even though it is the bedrock of instability in our region. Rwanda requests this gathering to urge and follow up the end of the FDLR threat to Rwanda and the region.”
President Kagame ended his intervention by urging all member states to keep in mind the central purpose of peacekeeping missions:
“Whatever the stated mandate, the protection of civilians should always be at the heart of our interventions. In Rwanda, we learned the hard way that this seemingly evident principle does not always translate into corresponding behavior on the ground. The 1994 Genocide that we commemorate this year for the 20th time is one important reminder of this reality.”
President Kagame ended the day with bilateral meetings followed by a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.