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UN chief meets Rwandan president

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has flown to Rwanda to discuss the country's threat to withdraw its UN peacekeepers from Sudan if the United Nations publishes a report accusing Rwanda's army of possible genocide in the 1990s.

The joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur is commanded by a Rwandan, Lieutenant General Patrick Nyamvumba, and the country has over 3,200 troops and 86 police in the nearly 22,000-strong force.

UN officials and diplomats said a Rwandan pullout from Darfur would be a major blow at a time of increasing violence and fresh efforts to end the seven-year conflict.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Mr Ban made the unannounced trip to the capital Kigali to speak directly with Rwanda's leaders about their concerns. He was scheduled to meet President Paul Kagame on Wednesday morning.

A draft of the UN report leaked in late August accuses Rwandan troops and allies tied to Mr Kagame of slaughtering tens of thousands of Hutus in Congo.

The alleged attacks came two years after those troops stopped Rwanda's 1994 genocide that killed more than 500,000 Tutsis and some moderate Hutus.

Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo described the report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as "fatally flawed" and "incredibly irresponsible" in a letter to the UN.

Last week, Rwanda Defence Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jill Rutaremara said the country finalised a contingency withdrawal plan from Darfur and Southern Sudan if the UN publishes its "outrageous and damaging report".

Rwanda also has nearly 300 troops and police serving in the more than 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in semi-autonomous southern Sudan to enforce a 2005 agreement with the government which ended Africa's longest civil war - a key mission ahead of a January referendum on independence for south Sudan.

In addition, it has small contingents in UN peacekeeping missions in Chad, Haiti and Liberia.


From Belfast Telegraph