UK stops £21m aid payment to Rwanda

 
M23 rebels withdraw from the town of Sake in eastern Congo Violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has drawn international condemnation

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The UK has suspended aid to Rwanda amid concerns about its role in the conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo.

The International Development Secretary Justine Greening said a payment worth £21m would not now be released.

An aid payment of £16m was paid to Rwanda in September despite questions over the country's alleged support for the M23 militia in DR Congo.

Her predecessor, Andrew Mitchell, controversially authorised the payment on his last day in the job.

Ms Greening said the money, which was due to be paid next month, would not be released because President Paul Kagame's government had breached agreements.

She pointed to fresh evidence presented by UN experts earlier this month about Rwanda's role in the conflict, describing it as "credible and compelling".

"We are committed to finding lasting solutions to the conflict in this region and will work with the governments of Rwanda and DRC to secure a peaceful resolution to the situation in eastern DRC," she said.

She said the government would give a further £18m for immediate humanitarian needs in the DR Congo.

Mr Mitchell, who had previously frozen aid to the country, had cited progress at international talks as the reason for reinstating the payment.

Half of the aid package was paid as "general budget support" and half directly to the education and agriculture sectors.

Analysis

The rebel advance in recent weeks has made tens of thousands of Congolese homeless.

Britain is increasing its aid to Congo by £18m to help them.

Although these moves will annoy the Rwandan government and please the authorities in Congo, they are unlikely to change the fundamentals of the war.

Rwanda backs one set of rebels because the weak Congolese government allows another armed group, which is opposed to the government in Rwanda, to operate from Congolese soil.

Adjusting British aid flows is unlikely to change that situation anytime soon.

In a report, the international development select committee said it "did not understand" how he had concluded the state was no longer backing the M23.

"Mr Mitchell has assured us that he carried out extensive consultations within the UK government and with the government of Rwanda before making his decision. The new secretary of state agreed that the decision-making process had been robust," the report said.

Downing Street denied this had been a mistake, saying the government "stands by the decision".

Mr Mitchell said it was made by the government, not just his department.

"It was the right decision when we made it in September just as today the Secretary of State has made the right decision because of the change in the DRC," he told BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

President Kagame has been praised for improving the economic and social conditions in the east African country since he came to power at the end of the 1994 genocide, in which some 800,000 people died.

But a UN report claims Rwanda's defence minister is effectively commanding the rebellion group in the east of the DR Congo (DRC). The BBC has uncovered evidence that Rwandan support for the rebels may be more widespread than previously believed.

'Harm Rwanda'

Rwanda's Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, claimed the decision had been made on the basis of "false, politically-motivated allegations" in the UN report.

Shadow international development secretary Ivan Lewis welcomed the "belated" decision to suspend aid, and accused Mr Mitchell of a "serious misjudgement".

He said: "It is now important that aid continues to reach the poorest and most vulnerable in Rwanda and the DRC.

"We never accused Andrew Mitchell of being a rogue minister. However, recent developments have demonstrated his decision to unilaterally reinstate budget support to the government of Rwanda was a serious misjudgement."

Pressure group the TaxPayers' Alliance said it was "appalling" that any taxpayers' money had gone "directly to a government involved in a proxy war".

Campaign manager Robert Oxley added: "This announcement leaves a huge question mark over why Dfid, and specifically Andrew Mitchell, reinstated the aid programme to the Rwandan government which was fanning the flames of conflict in DRC."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 623.

    Large part of monetary aid to poorer countries were made so they can influence and control these countries. If they really want to help these country they would expand trade with them instead of aid. They would agree to adjusting the imbalances at the WTO.
    Isn't it hypocritic of Western leaders to complain of another govt backing rebels when they've been backing rebels all over the Middle East

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 622.

    Good news, perhaps we can help some of the elderly that have paid there taxes for past 60 years yet get next to nothing for it. Leave Africa to fend for themselve we have helped out more than enough. If we needed it do you honestly reckon there would be a whip around in Kigali? NO is the answer.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 621.

    How much international aid actually goes to helping the less fortunate? It is shocking but not surprising that billions in international aid is siphoned off by corrupt officials and goes towards funding rebels and terrorists groups and actually work against development when those nations are torn apart by 'aid funded ' rebels such as M23

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 620.

    Charity does or should begin at home! It is OUR money! I'd rather it was spent here at home, in this country. Give it to the NHS, where we have our own sick and dying.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 619.

    t amazing how local authorities, schools, NHS, have to account for every last penny and then they get their budgets cut by the Tories. Millions of tax payers money is handed out each year to unscrupulus governments and leaders with out even having to show it is being used a way that benefits thier country. It all gets re exported back to the country that donated it. It is just plane mad.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 618.

    "UK stops £21m aid payment to Rwanda...UK govt would give a further £18m for .. needs in DR Congo." - Don't dream of £M for us in UK. Just shifting from Rwanda to DRC. I lived in Rwanda for 2 YEARS; know the background: ousted Hutu govt now in DRC; Tutsis now in power in Rwanda. We're just changing sides. Btw Rwanda is not mineral rich except for bananas. UN Mineral Project proved that.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 617.

    Britain can no longer afford the luxury of Foreign Aid. Many people are now against this, as we are struggling to look after our own people now. The foreign poor do not benefit from either this money or services provided. We know it is spent on weapons or luxuries for the dictators of these regimes. Stop all this foreign aid now! Spend money on flood defences, elderly care or the NHS.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 616.

    Africa is not short of natural wealth. Oil, Gold, Silver, Platinum, Diamonds other presious stones are there for the taking. And African leaders do take them, siphon them all off abroad to leave the rest living in these countries poverty striken. Aid should on,y be handed over if there is no war and the government matches like with like. Alas EU governments just like to get their hands dirty.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 615.

    Does anyone know the total the UK is providing to all these foreign countries and how much to each. We are still giving money to India despite the fact they are one of the fastest growing economies in the World and have developed their own nuclear weapons. Charity starts at home in my opinion and there are 1000's upon 1000's of needy people in the UK and child poverty is at an all time high.

  • Comment number 614.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 613.

    If it's "theft" when someone picks your pocket and then spends the money on people "in need", then why is it not "theft" when when the government does the exact same thing?

    Too many people sanction "theft" so long as the government does it, and moreso when it's being done for people "in need". Charity as theft. The sheer immorality of it. There is no consideration for property rights.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 612.

    Quite unbelievable that we dish out millions to these governments to line their own pockets and make them rich. So pointless because those that need it never get it. Sorry its time charity stayed at home!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 611.

    Problem is they give the money to corrupt politicians whom they think will benefit them eventually (the givers).
    The aid should go to the poor and needy to help elevate them from a brutal life under their current corrupt regimes and allow them to build a sustainable future.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 610.

    I don't see why we should give our money to other countries anyway, it's not really our problem - the money should be used for the NHS, provide housing for the homeless and improve services for the elderly for a start.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 609.

    The money isn't the government's to give away in the first place, no matter what foreign nation it is. I don't pay taxes for the benefit of other people in other countries - I pay taxes so that I benefit from being defended from force. Others are NOT my concern. Yes, I'm selfish. It's called the pursuit of happiness, you know. So long as I don't use force against others, it's fine to be like that.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 608.

    @Aduphanel

    The Democratic Republic of Congo was actually in Belgium's empire and they famously left "overnight". The hospitals, schools, shops etc were abandoned. It was not as so much there choice, because of this, they have been the victim of civil war for 50+ years, it has nothing to do with their independence.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 607.

    just had a call total order cancelled thanks 5000 Kalashnikov now cancelled no presidential plane what about the 8 million into account 425367357 us! ok deal but has to happen tonight this sounds like a typo error and i should not have got iot

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 606.

    I'm pleased our Government has finally taken a stand against the Rwandan Government's wickedness. For too long we've favoured the Kagame regime for our own regional political interests despite overwhelming evidence of opposition mistreatment. It's a shame the British press have generally followed the British/USA pro Tutsi narrative and lacked journalistic insight.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 605.

    Overseas aid has nothing to do with humanitarianism. It has everything to do with securing mineral rights, business for UK companies (and hence UK jobs) and long term political/business influence and to do that it doesn't matter where the money goes. To think otherwise shows a staggering naivety.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 604.

    603..we gave money to china the othet year..oh yes ..the lunatics have got the asylum...

 

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