Rwanda - Foreign Relations
Rwanda plays a growing role in international affairs, including important contributions to international peacekeeping missions. In 2011, Rwanda deployed approximately 3,500 RDF peacekeepers to Sudan and South Sudan in support of UNAMID, UNMIS, and UNMISS. As of September 2011, Rwanda was training its 28th peacekeeping battalion since 2006. Rwanda National Police (RNP) has approximately 375 peacekeeping officers serving in UN missions in Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, Liberia, and Sudan. Rwanda is among the top 10 troop-contributing countries for UN operations.
Some 24 nations--including Belgium, Canada, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo (D.R.C.), Egypt, France, Germany, the Holy See, Japan, Libya, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and all members of the EAC (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi)--maintain diplomatic missions in Kigali, as does the European Union.
In December 2008, after months of bilateral discussions, Rwanda and the D.R.C. announced rapprochement and a joint military operation against a root cause of instability in the Great Lakes Region--the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). The two nations’ forces also cooperated in reintegrating renegade general Laurent Nkunda’s CNDP rebel force into the Congolese armed forces (FARDC); Nkunda was detained by Rwandan authorities.
Relations between the central African nations of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo improved after successful collaboration against a common foe in Congolese territory. The Congolese and Rwandan governments took steps to re-establish official diplomatic ties, after more than a decade of icy relations. Congo approved a diplomatic envoy to Kigali in Nocember 2009. Rwanda named an envoy to Kinshasa two months earlier. The two nations have been on rocky terms since a 1998 Rwandan excursion into eastern Congo to attack Hutu rebels, most of which had fled to eastern Congo following the 1994 genocide that killed hundreds of thousands of Rwandan Tutsi. But the two countries' successful joint military operation against the Hutu rebel forces in 2009 helped thaw the strained relationship.
In the fall of 2006, Rwanda broke diplomatic relations with France following a French judge's indictment of senior Rwandan officials on charges of having participated in the shooting down of the presidential jet in 1994. Rwanda rejected those charges. In January 2010, Rwanda and France renewed their diplomatic relations after France indicated it had reopened its investigation of the 2006 charges. Rwanda, along with Burundi, joined the EAC in 2007, and it acceded to the Commonwealth in 2009.
Rwanda is a proud member of the 125 million persons strong East African Community (EAC). The residents of Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi include a blend of both nationals as well as a vibrant expatriate resident population. Many of these neighbours are curious and in search of short getaways they can access with ease for weekends and holidays. Rwanda is becoming an ideal option with its high level of safety, excellent travel infrastructure, friendly local hosts and a variety of attractions to keep visitors entertained for days.
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