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Volume 554: debated on Friday 30 November 2012

I have today taken a decision not to release £21 million of support to Rwanda. This aid was due to be paid in December.

This Government believe strongly that aid will be most effective when the Governments we partner meet all our four partnership principles: a strong commitment to reach the poorest people; to take strong action in tackling corruption; to be accountable and transparent to their citizens; and to live up to their international obligations to support peace and respect human rights.

I have taken this decision because I consider that the evidence that the Government of Rwanda have supported the M23 rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) appears to be credible and compelling. This constitutes a breach of these important partnership principles that underpin general budget support.

The UK wants to continue with our long-term and successful development partnership with Rwanda, and to work with the Government of Rwanda to secure a peaceful resolution to the situation in eastern DRC. Meeting the partnership principles alongside tangible improvements on the ground, and continued progress made by the Government of Rwanda in supporting peace, are key factors in any decision on general budget support next year.

I strongly welcome the progress made by Presidents Kagame of Rwanda, Kabila of Democratic Republic of Congo and Museveni of Uganda last week and at the summit on 24 November. This latest summit resulted in an important 10-point communiqué, specifying long and short-term actions to be taken by all parties, but crucially including a renewed call for the M23 to leave Goma without delay, which must happen as part of any sustainable solution to the situation in the region.

The situation in eastern DRC remains very unstable and very frightening for the communities involved. A large number of vulnerable people have had their lives disrupted yet again and are without food and shelter. I am also, therefore, announcing a further £18 million of support for immediate humanitarian needs in DRC which will provide 100,000 people with three months of emergency food assistance, as well as access to clean water, essential household items and emergency education for more than 130,000 people. I urge the Governments of Rwanda and DRC to exercise their maximum influence to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian relief.

The UK remains committed to supporting long-term solutions which bring stability and remove the causes of conflict which currently leave space for armed groups to prosper, especially in eastern DRC.

Solutions must be led by the Government of DRC and we will remain engaged with President Kabila’s Government and urge him to work with us. We will ensure that our development programme in the DRC has renewed emphasis on programmes in the east to meet the needs of the victims of conflict and promote longer-term development. In return we expect President Kabila and his Government, with the support of the international community, to show strong leadership and take on the huge challenge of ending this long-running conflict, addressing grievances and creating the right conditions for development programmes to succeed.