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Rwanda voted onto UN Security Council

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By Agencies

Posted  Friday, October 19  2012 at  10:29
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Rwanda has been elected to the United Nations Security Council for the next two years amidst allegations that it is supporting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The vote on Thursday came just a day after a leaked UN report said Rwanda was supporting M23 rebels who have been fighting the Kinshasa government since April this year.

Five non-permanent seats to the 15-member council were decided at the United Nations on Thursday.

Argentina, Australia, South Korea and Luxembourg have also been elected to sit on the Security Council.

According to a confidential report by the UN Security Council's Group of Experts, seen by Reuters news agency, Rwanda's defence minister, General James Kabarebe, was directly giving orders to the M23 rebel leaders.

Rwanda will take the seat currently filled by South Africa on January 1, 2013.

Clearly Rwanda's election campaign was not affected by evidence that it's supporting the rebellion in eastern Congo.

The DRC raised a formal objection to its candidacy. But Kigali, running unopposed for the Africa seat, received 148 votes, well above the two-thirds majority needed.

Rwanda denies the accusations, and presented itself as a post-conflict success story, the sixth largest contributor of troops to UN peacekeeping missions, with a good record on meeting the UN's Millennium Development Goals.

Nevertheless, the report issued by a UN panel of experts shortly before the election has contributed to mounting concern over Rwanda's behaviour, adding considerable detail to charges that it is supplying the rebels with weapons, troops and military aid.

A senior Security Council diplomat acknowledged that Rwanda's presence could complicate the Council's handling of the DRC, especially where consensus is required, and affect the work of its sanctions committee, to which the experts report.

The experts also accused Uganda of backing the rebels. Both Kampala and Kigali strenuously deny the allegations.

The DRC raised a formal objection to Rwanda's candidacy but one of Kigali's UN diplomats said voters would not be swayed by the "baseless report".

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said her government could offer a unique perspective on matters of war and peace because of the 1994 genocide in which about a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus died.

The contrast could not be sharper between now and 1993-4 "when a genocidal government occupied a prized Security Council seat," she said.

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