UK halts £21m aid payment to Rwandan government

30 Nov 12
The UK government has announced it is withholding a £21m aid payment to the Rwandan government due to its support for rebels fighting in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

By Nick Mann | 30 November 2012

The UK government has announced it is withholding a £21m aid payment to the Rwandan government due to its support for rebels fighting in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

The £21m general budget support payment was due to be made next month. But International Development Secretary Justine Greening revealed today it had been halted as a result of ‘credible and compelling’ reports of Rwandan involvement with the M23 rebel group in DR Congo.

‘The government has already set out its concerns over credible and compelling reports of Rwandan involvement with M23 in DR Congo,’ she said.

‘This evidence constitutes a breach of the partnership principles set out in the Memorandum of Understanding, and as a result I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda.’

These partnership principles include meeting international obligations to support peace and respect human rights.

Last week, a United Nations report found that the Rwandan government was providing ‘direct military support’ to the M23 group, which has been linked to summary executions, use of child soldiers and unconfirmed cases of sexual violence. The report also noted the Ugandan government’s ‘direct involvement’ with the rebels.

The UK’s involvement in Rwanda was brought into focus in September when Greening’s predecessor, Andrew Mitchell, approved a previously suspended £16m aid allocation for Rwanda on his last day in the post in September. The aid had been halted in July after a leaked UN report linked Rwanda’s defence minister to the M23 group.

Greening today stressed that the UK was committed to finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the region, and would work with both the Rwandan and DR Congolese governments to secure a peaceful resolution to the situation in eastern DR Congo.

The UK Department for International Development also announced it will provide another £18m of support for immediate humanitarian needs in DR Congo. The money will provide 100,000 people with three months of emergency food assistance, access to clean water and essential household items, as well as offering emergency education for more than 130,000 people.

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