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Minister Mushikiwabo Addresses “Friends of the Syria” Conference in Istanbul

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In Turkey’s capital Istanbul, on April 2 Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation (Minaffet), Hon Louise Mushikiwabo addressed the “Friends of Syria” at the Second Conference on the war ravages Republic of Syria.

Minister Mushikiwabo received an official invitation to address the conference from the Government of the Republic of Turkey.

The First Conference, which took place in Tunis, Tunisia on February 24th 2012, saw the international community condemn the widespread and systematic human rights violations by the Syrian regime and express firm support for the Syrian people in their pursuit of peaceful regime transition.

The Syrian National Council (SNC), the main opposition to the current dictatorial Syrian Government updated the Conference on the alarming situation inside Syria where government abuses against citizens continue unabated. “Friends of Syria” at the conference demanded that the current regime put an immediate end to these practices and fully comply with its obligations under international law.

Minister Mushikiwabo told the conference that Rwanda would not stand by a Government that is practicing inhuman treatment and threats of extermination, stressing that all countries are obliged to honour the legitimate and rightful aspirations of their citizens.

“While it is true that the independence and sovereignty of States are fundamentals to international relations the fight and the right to live — the responsibility to protect — are even more critical for the survival of the community of nations”.

Minister Mushikiwabo cited President Paul Kagame’s words at the height of the Libyan conflict to sum up Rwanda’s position on humanitarian intervention:
“No country knows better than my own the cost of the international community failing to intervene to prevent a State killing its own people. Our responsibility to protect is unquestionable and this view is backed with the authority of having witnessed and suffered the terrible consequences of international inaction”.

For these reasons, Minister Mushikiwabo pledged that “Rwanda stands ready, whenever needed, to contribute to the prevention of conflict and to the maintenance of international peace”. She commended international efforts to bring about a peaceful solution in Syria.

The Conference was attended by 83 countries, mainly Arab and Western countries, together with international and regional organizations. Right Hon Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presided at the conference which was also attended by around 40 Foreign Affairs Ministers, including from France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom and United States. From Africa, the was represented by Algeria, Egypt, Guinea, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Rwanda, Sudan and Tunisia.

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