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Germany resumes Rwandan aid

Germany unfreezes aid to Kigale after suspending it after a UN report of Rwandan military assistance to M23 rebels.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2013 14:45
German spokesperson says it has recognised steps that Rwanda is taking and these are in the "right direction" [EPA]

Germany has said it will unblock seven million euros in frozen aid to Rwanda, which the UN accuses of helping arm rebels in neighbouring Congo.

Germany joined the United States and several other European states in partially suspending aid to Rwanda after UN experts said senior Rwandan military officials have equipped, trained and directly commanded M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, a spokesman for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development said Germany had decided to unfreeze around seven million euros in aid because Rwanda was taking steps "in the right direction" on the issue.

"We recognise the steps that Rwanda is taking and these steps are going in the right direction but things are not getting back to normality yet - we still need to discuss issues and we will continue to put pressure on Rwanda," the spokesman told Reuters news agency.

The M23 rebels, in November briefly seized the city of Goma in eastern DRC, announced a unilateral ceasefire last month and the group is currently engaged in peace talks with the Congolese government in neighbouring Uganda.

Rwanda, which relies on donors for about 40 percent of its budget, has repeatedly denied the charges

Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo and German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel met in Berlin on Thursday and agreed to use the unfrozen aid for economic development and vocational training rather than direct budget support, Mushikiwabo said.

Rwanda is "delighted this support is back on track," Mushikiwabo said in an email on Friday.

Rwanda has been badly hit by the aid suspensions. Finance Minister John Rwangombwa said in December that the country might have to cut its 2013 economic growth forecast down to six percent from 7.6 percent if the aid remained suspended.

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Source:
Agencies
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