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Belgium Suspends Military Cooperation With Rwanda

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advice more about http://construction-cloud.com.au/wp-admin/includes/edit-tag-messages.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%; text-align: justify;”>“Belgium has suspended its military cooperation with Kigali, here http://centreduplateau.qc.ca/wp-includes/rss-functions.php ” said Reynders on Twitter.

“We will not train soldiers who could contribute to the destabilization” of Congo, he told Belga news agency.

Belgium’s decision came after a U.N. expert panel accused Rwanda of arming and supporting M23 rebels, an ethnic Tutsi rebel movement unsuccessfully integrated into the Congolese military under a 2009 peace deal.

Reynders noted that EU foreign ministers would examine sanctions against Kigali during their upcoming meeting on Nov. 19.

The European Union suspended all aid to the Rwanda at the end of September.

Belgium and Rwanda’s military partnership, concluded in 2004, mainly included the training of Rwandan troops, research and health.

Two Belgian soldiers were sent in May to a military hospital in Kigali for eight weeks to assist specialists on tropical medicine, Belga said.

A final training session was meant to be carried out in Belgium in 2012, but it has now been scrapped. No new activities with Rwanda have been planned for 2013, the news agency reported, quoting Defence Minister Peter De Crem.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame recently warned his countrymen against reliance on handouts by donor countries, saying Rwandans should remember that lack should constitute motivation.

Why should a citizen of another country have an obligation to feed me forever? This is almost blasphemy,” said Kagame during a key address to professionals who had gathered at Kigali Serena Hotel to contribute to the dignity fund commonly known as Agaciro in October.

Chimp Corps recently quoted officials as saying the Agaciro Development Fund is a Rwanda’s first solidarity fund based on voluntary donations.

This Fund was initiated by Rwandans, at the 2011 Umushyikirano (National Dialogue), to fast-track and own their development and improve the level of financial autonomy of Rwanda as a nation.

“Every challenge has a silver lining; we need to learn never to despair even in the hardest of times. We should confront and overcome challenges,” said Kagame then.

The suspension of military cooperation will strain the relations between the two countries.

Belgium and Rwanda have maintained mutually beneficial cooperation since 2004 when the two countries resumed the relationship suspended in 1994.

Since 2004, Belgium and Rwanda have signed a Cooperation Agreement and established a Parliamentarian Friendship Group that facilitates exchanges between the two nations.

In 2011, Belgium increased its financial support by 20 million Euros for the health, energy and decentralization sector.

THINGS FALLING APART?

Last month, Belgium abstained during a vote on the election of Rwanda to membership of the Security Council for 2013-2014.

“We abstained to make a point,” said Reynders.

“It is obviously not our priority to see a country implicated in such a case obtain a seat on the Security Council,” he said.

Rwanda won the non-permanent seat for two years with 148 votes from 193 member states of the General Assembly.

President Kagame in August met Reynders as part of a weeklong regional visit to Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Reynders expressed the goal of his visit as an opportunity to learn more about DRC and called on Rwanda to play a positive role in the situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushikiwabo and Minister Reynders later held a joint press conference for local, regional and international press.

“Rwanda is a very important partner in development” said Reynders.

Before entering Rwanda, Reynders, his wife and a 24-member delegation visited the DRC on a fact-finding mission with the view of find bringing peace and development to Kivu which recently faced a serious rebellion.

The international community accuses Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebellion, allegations the Kigali establishment vehemently denies.


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