27 July 2012

Rwanda: Foreign Minister Reassures Development Partners

Photo: Rwanda Govt
Rwandan military.

Kigali — The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, yesterday, expressed regret at "hasty decisions based on flimsy evidence" made by donor partners on Rwandan budget support.

There have been various media reports in recent days about development partners suspending or deferring aid disbursements to Rwanda in light of the UN Group of Experts report on the crisis in the eastern DRC.

"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," Mushikiwabo said.

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

No decision yet

Media reports this week indicated that the Netherlands had cut their budget support to Rwanda worth US$ 6.15 million in the wake of the allegations. But the Dutch Ambassador to Rwanda, Albrecht Makken, says otherwise.

Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, Amb Makken clarified that his country made some requests to Rwanda and that before they receive the response from Kigali, no particular decision would be taken.

"We have asked Rwanda to come up with a descent reaction to the preliminary UN report of experts that accused them of supporting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, also we are waiting for any action proving that Rwanda is supporting or not supporting rebels," Makken said.

He hastened to add that it was not yet time for the Netherlands to disburse the budget support to Rwanda and that "it is unfortunate that the information published in the Financial Times was distorted." "We will be releasing the budget support in October depending on the findings of the UN Group of Experts after releasing their final report," added Makken

The development came after Washington's $200,000 cut in military aid last weekend. The UN Group of Experts finished their work schedule in Rwanda this week and is expected to publish their final findings in October. Currently, the Netherlands gives Rwanda about US 60 million annually of which US$6.15million is directed to budget support.

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