- The Swedish government has suspended 80 million kronor in aid to Rwanda following the United Nations report accusing the country of supporting armed rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, International Development Cooperation Minister Ms Gunilla Carlsson said.
The 127 paged UN report has accused the Kigali and Kinshasa administrations for channeling funds to warring rebels in the eastern DRC. However, Rwandan government has rejected the UN allegations of its involvement and contribution to the conflict in eastern DRC.
Rwandan News Agency quoted Ms Carlsson saying: "Sweden is taking the UN report very seriously and has stopped the payment of budget support to Rwanda."
However, the Minister also added that she hoped to engage in a constructive dialogue with Rwanda about working together to find a peace solution to the conflict in eastern Congo, and in also mending long standing relations.
According to the agency, Sweden currently gives Rwanda around 140 million kronor annually, half of which goes to support the country's annual budget.
President Paul Kagame in responding to the halt, said it was an indication that it was about time Rwandans doubled their efforts to stop depending on handouts. "Africa must wake up to the continued arrogance of the rich nations," he charged.
"The people of Rwanda should be ready to survive in any circumstance including the absence of aid. These people who cut aid like the Dutch and the Swedes are just supporting my argument," he said.
The Netherlands has already ended its allocation to Rwanda. The Dutch aid in 2008 tops some 26 million Euros, of which 3.5 million Euros has been suspended. The planned budget for 2009 is 27 million Euros, with four million reserved for general budget support.
Overseas development aid accounted for more than a quarter of Rwanda's gross domestic product in 2005, making it one of the world's 10 most aid-dependent nations, according to the UN data.
The widespread violence in eastern DRC started in August between government forces and General Laurent Nkunda's rebels. More than 250,000 people were forced to flee their homes as conflict intensified in the eastern region.
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