Generalsekretær Ban Ki-moon har utnevnt Rwandas president Paul Kagame og Spanias statsminister Jorge Luis Rodriguez Zapatero til formenn for en ekspertkommisjon som skal se på oppfyllesen av Millennium-målene om halvering av fattigdom innen 2015. Men Zapatero avlyste et planlagt møte med Kagame fredag.

Zapatero hadde nemlig mottatt en petisjon som ba ham ikke møte Kagame på bakgrunn av flere drap i Rwanda og Sør-Afrika, drap som noen mener viser at Kagame ikke liker opposisjon.

The Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, pulled out of a scheduled meeting with Kagame on Friday after receiving a petition alleging he had violated human rights. The meeting in Spain was the first to be held by a group of experts named last month by Ban to supervise the UN’s Millenium Development Goals, which aim to halve extreme poverty by 2015. Ban had prompted protests by naming Kagame and Zapatero as his co-chairmen.

«The prime minister yesterday received a petition from various political groups saying that they didn’t think it was appropriate for the meeting to take place,» the deputy prime minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, told Spanish television.

Rwandan government figures have strenuously denied orchestrating a campaign of violence and intimidation and offered alternative explanations for several of the attacks, including robbery and a vengeance killing related to the genocide trial.

Last week a senior opposition figure was beheaded near the southern Rwandan city of Butare, while a lawyer who had participated in genocide trials at a UN tribunal was shot dead in Dar es Salaam. Last week’s killings come hard on the heels of the attempted murder in Pretoria, South Africa, of a former senior Rwandan general who had fallen out with Kagame, and the murder in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, of a journalist investigating that shooting.

Two opposition newspapers in Rwanda have been banned from publishing, while opposition politicians and human rights organisations have been harassed by the authorities.

På den annen side: etter afrikansk standard er ikke forholdene i Rwanda ille, og Kagame har oppnådd en økonomisk utvikling som få kan måle seg med. Det er derfor underlig at Zapatero skulle velge en så demonstrativ linje.

Deadly attacks on Rwandan opposition spark warning by UN