(AFP) – Jul 27, 2012
THE HAGUE — The Netherlands has suspended part of its development aid to Rwanda because of Kigali's alleged support for rebels in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, an official said Friday.
The amount concerns "payments of sectorial budget support for improvement of the Rwandan justice system," worth five million euros ($6.2 million) this year, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP.
The suspension, which does not impact aid for relief programmes carried out by non-governmental organisations, is temporary, the spokesman said.
A more definitive position on development cooperation with Kigali will be determined by "an assessment of Rwanda's formal reaction on the findings of the UN Group of experts and developments in the field, (including) an immediate end to support to rebels in DRC from Rwandan territory."
Rwanda has persistently denied reports that it is in any way backing a rebel movement formed by ethnic Tutsi mutinous soldiers in the DR Congo'seastern Nord-Kivu province and named M23.
A report by the UN Group of Experts published at the end of June said M23 has been receiving direct aid from top Rwandan officials, including weapons, ammunition and recruits.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo deplored the "hasty decisions based on flimsy evidence" and repeated Kigali's denial of support to DR Congo rebels.
"We have just concluded discussions with the (UN) Group of Experts and comprehensively rebutted every one of the allegations with conclusive documentary evidence," Mushikiwabo said in a statement.
"Once we share this with development partners, we believe this will provide them the reassurance they seek in light of an orchestrated media and political campaign to blame Rwanda for this crisis," she added.
M23 emerged from a former rebel force in Nord-Kivu, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). These insurgents were integrated into the DR Congo army under an accord signed on March 23, 2009, but M23 claims that Congolese President Joseph Kabila has reneged on the deal.
The mutineers have been fighting the Congolese army from their bases near the border with Rwanda and Uganda since May.
The decision by the Netherlands comes after the United States announced on Sunday that it was suspending all military aid to the Kigali government, also basing its decision on the UN Group of Experts report.
Washington cut $200,000 allocated to a Rwandan military academy, but said that Rwanda would still receive assistance for its work in peacekeeping programmes.
Rwanda's 1994 genocide claimed some 800,000 lives> It has since been accused on several occasions of aiding Tutsi forces in DR Congo to combat Hutu rebels active on its western border.
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