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Rwanda Minister Says Dutch Aid Cut Is A “Distraction”

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There have been various media reports in recent days about development partners suspending or deferring aid disbursements to Rwanda in light of the Group of Experts report that Kigali was giving arms and recruits to M23 rebels in Eastern DRC.

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“We have just concluded discussions with the Group of Experts and comprehensively rebutted every one of the allegations with conclusive documentary evidence. 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,” said Mushikiwabo.

A spokeswoman for the Dutch government said it was cutting 5 million euros ($6.15 million) in aid that had been intended to help improve Rwanda’s judicial system, reports the Global Post.

However, she said Dutch support for NGOs in Rwanda would continue.

The move came hours after Kigali described the US suspension of $200,000 in military aid over the weekend as “regrettable.”

Mushikiwabo a few days ago promised to debunk “line by line” a report by UN experts that accuses it of backing eastern Congolese rebels, including those from the M23 movement, which has seized parts of the North Kivu province.

The UN report – which was distributed to the Security Council, but not made public – accuses the Rwandan government of playing a pivotal role in creating the DRC army mutiny, and then supplying fighters with weapons, ammunitions and young Rwandan recruits.

“Rwanda is impatient in pursuit of poverty reduction, economic development and self-sufficiency. Our people cannot afford this kind of distraction.”

The Netherlands has followed the United States in suspending aid to Rwanda, amid increasing evidence the country is supporting rebels in the eastern Democratic republic of Congo, Reuters reported.

More than 200,000 residents have fled their homes since April, when the rebels mutinied from the Congolese army.

The Netherlands said it would discuss the possibility of future aid to Rwanda with other European Union governments, adding that this would require Rwanda to immediately end its support for Congolese rebels.

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