Saturday, December 20, 2008

UN Report Leads to more Fallout against Rwanda

Pressure is building on Britain to follow the lead of the Dutch and Swedish governments and end direct budget support to Rwanda. Richard Dowden, the director of the Royal African Society, today joined The Economist in arguing that Rwanda's support of Nkunda, as revealed in the UN's just-published report by the Group of Experts on the DRC, is too serious a violation to countenance. Writing in The Independent, he says that "Kagame denies he [Nkunda] is a Rwanda proxy but the UN report shows he uses Rwandan banks and has had direct support from the army. It also shows how Nkunda's forces operate out of Rwandan territory and recruit soldiers from its army." Whatever claim Kagame makes to be protecting Congo's Tutsi minority, says Dowden, is "undermined by Nkunda's grab for the region's wealth."

The Dutch and Swedes have already announced they will no longer provide direct budget support to Rwanda. Kagame responded to their action by upping the ante: Surviving on handouts is too unreliable, he announced; it was time for Rwandans to prepare themselves for a life after aid. Rwanda's English-language daily The New Times mocked the two EU states for reducing aid even as the EU as a whole was increasing its support for Rwanda: "Now, here is the hilarious bit, both the Dutch and the Swedes, are major contributors to the overall EU budget." We'll see if the New Times' editors still think it's hilarious if Britain cuts its support.

No comments:

Post a Comment