BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
In this June 12, 2012 file picture German development minister, Dirk Niebel, is photographed in Berlin, Germany. AP Photo
Germany has suspended millions of euros in aid to Rwanda, its development minister said at the weekend, over allegations that the central African nation is backing rebels in the neighboring DR Congo.
In November 2011, Germany pledged some 20 million euros annually in aid to Rwanda for a three-year period.
Dirk Niebel said July 28 that Germany was putting on ice some 21 million euros in aid for Kigali planned from this year until 2015 in what he said was an “unmistakable signal to the Rwandan government.” A U.N. panel said in June that Rwanda was supplying the M23 rebels, a group of Tutsi ex-rebels who have become engaged in running battles with the regular army in the volatile eastern region of Nord-Kivu.
The U.S. and The Netherlands have also suspended aid in the wake of the accusations, which Rwanda denies. “Rwanda has not used the time to address the serious allegations,” Niebel said. “It must be clear that Rwanda is not supporting illegal militias in eastern DR Congo,” Niebel demanded, calling for “complete cooperation” with the U.N.
In response, Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo deplored the “hasty decisions based on flimsy evidence” and said Kigali’s denial of support to DR Congo rebels. The U.N. refugee agency urged the protection of civilians in eastern DR Congo amid reports of indiscriminate killings of civilians and torture.