In a report published today, the International Development Select Committee said aid to Rwanda should go through non-government channels. The cross-party group of MPs also said they "did not understand" why Andrew Mitchell concluded that the state was no longer supporting the M23:
Mr Mitchell has assured us that he carried out extensive consultations within the UK Government and with the government of Rwanda before making his decision.
The new Secretary of State agreed that the decision-making process had been robust.
We are not privy to all the information and advice upon which he made this assessment, but, on the basis of the other evidence we received, we do not understand how he reached the conclusion that support for the M23 had ceased.
Richard Burden, a member of the committee, welcomed the halt on £21 million of general budget aid:
People in that part of Africa are desperately poor but, in the light of the evidence given to the United Nations as well as the UK Government, it is important that aid now gets to the people of Rwanda via means other than general support for Rwandan government spending.
The Prime Minister's spokesman defended the decision taken in September to reinstate aid to Rwanda. The UK suspended the last tranche of £16 million of aid in July after the UN first highlighted the links between the Rwandan government and M23 fighters in DRC.
On his last day as International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell controversially reinstated the aid; authorising £8 million as direct budgetary support to the government, and another £8 million to development programmes. The Prime Minister's spokesman said:
We stand by the decision that we made to release the last tranche of funding. This is our approach to the aid budget. We keep decisions under review.
The United Nations has accused the Government of Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels operating inside the Democratic Republic of Congo in a number of reports. The UN says the "de facto chain of command" of the group culminates in Rwanda's Minister of Defence, General James Kabarebe:
The Government of Rwanda continues to violate the arms embargo by providing direct military support to the M23 rebels, facilitating recruitment, encouraging and facilitating desertions from the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and providing arms, ammunition, intelligence and political advice.
The United Nations has also accused the Government of Uganda of supporting the M23 by providing "direct troop reinforcements" as well as weapons, training, and other assistance.