Britain defends aid to Rwanda

Nov. 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A former member of the British government denied allegations of acting without authority by giving aid to Rwanda despite concerns over DRC conflict.

Former Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell was questioned by a development committee on aid distributed to Rwanda during his tenure, which lasted from 2010 to this September.

Mitchell said a decision to distribute $25 million in aid, half of Britain's yearly aid contributions, to Rwanda was made in coordination with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Aid was withheld from Rwanda in part because the government was accused of backing rebel forces in Democratic Republic of Congo. Some aid was released after British conditions were "partially met," the BBC reports.

Rwanda denies allegations of backing the March 23 Movement in DRC, which rebelled against the government early this year. Its leader, Bosco Ntaganda, is wanted on war crimes charges.

Mitchell said the rest of the aid was withheld because Rwanda hadn't issued an explicit condemnation of the M23 rebellion, the BBC reports.

Mitchell told the committee he was offended by allegations he was acting as a "rogue minister" during his tenure in the Cameron administration.

"It is very insulting," he was quoted as saying. "I take deep offense at the suggestion that I would ever behave in that way."

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