News24

EU suspends new aid to Rwanda over DRC

2012-09-25 14:36

Brussels - The European Union is suspending new aid to Rwanda following allegations that the country is backing rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, an EU spokesperson said on Tuesday.

"The EU is not interrupting ongoing projects, which are there to help the poor," said Michael Mann, spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

"But [it] is delaying decisions on additional budget support in the pipeline pending clarification of Rwanda's role and its constructive engagement in search of solutions."

The decision follows a report by experts of the UN Security Council's sanctions committee alleging Rwandan support for M23 rebels, who launched an uprising in April. The DR Congo government also accuses its neighbour of involvement.

Rwanda however has denied the charge and in turn accuses Kinshasa of backing a group of Hutu rebels who also operate in eastern DR Congo.

The M23 is led by Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, and was formed by former fighters in an ethnic Tutsi rebel group integrated into the Congolese military in a 2009 peace deal.

Nearly half a million civilians have been displaced by the new conflict and there is growing pressure for progress to be made at a UN summit on the crisis to be held in New York on 27 September.

Mann said Ashton had told Rwanda in talks this month "that we expect Rwanda to act constructively - in words and actions - for a lasting peace solution in the eastern DRC".

EU President Herman Van Rompuy will represent the 27-nation bloc at talks on the crisis in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.