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Rwanda's poor face the consequences of aid withdrawal

After almost twenty years of close diplomatic relations, the UK's decision to withhold £21 million of aid to Rwanda signals a new direction in the relationship between the two countries.

A Rwandan minister has called the decision a "mockery", and the country's poor will be the ones likely to suffer most, with many public services previously paid for by aid.

ITV News Africa Correspondent Rohit Kachroo reports:

Read Rohit's analysis on the two sides of Rwanda and why the move will have a significant impact on the country.

UK decision on aid is 'a mockery' says Rwanda minister

The Rwanda minister of finance and economic planning has called the UK's decision to withhold £21 million of aid from the country "a mockery of aid principles."

John Rwangombwa tweeted earlier this evening:

Jr_normal

If the #UK had cut aid over corruption & weak governance that would make sense but cutting it over #DRC rumors is mockery of aid principles"

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Britain stops aid to Rwanda, cancelling £21 million

Britain has cancelled £21 million of aid to Rwanda, due to President Paul Kagame's support for rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Traditionally Rwanda has had close ties with Downing Street, but the decision comes after the United Nations asserted that Rwanda were helping fund the "M23" insurgents who have captured the city of Goma.

ITV News Africa Correspondent Rohit Kachroo reports:

Report says aid should go to Rwanda through non-government channels

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.

PM defends approving aid to Rwanda in September

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.

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UN: Rwanda provides 'direct military support' to M23

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.

Read the full report by the United Nations linking the government of Rwanda to M23 rebel fighters.

Rwandan aid withheld amid 'links with Congo rebels'

Britain will withhold £21 million of aid to Rwanda amid concerns that the state is supporting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the money was being withheld due to "creditable and compelling reports" President Paul Kagame had breeched aid agreements.

The Government has already set out its concerns over credible and compelling reports of Rwandan involvement with M23 in DRC. This evidence constitutes a breach of the partnership principles set out in the Memorandum of Understanding and, as a result, I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda.

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