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Volume 554: debated on Tuesday 4 December 2012

16. What recent discussions he has had with the Government of Rwanda on violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. (131115)

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I have pressed Presidents Kagame and Kabila to work together to end the crisis. When I spoke at the United Nations in September, I made it clear that external support for the M23 rebels must stop. We welcome the communiqués that were issued recently by the Presidents of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, but it is crucial that they are translated into action to achieve sustainable stability in the eastern DRC.

The final report from the United Nations group of experts on M23 and the DRC has been publicly released, and the Prime Minister himself has said that the international community cannot ignore evidence of Rwandan involvement with M23. In view of the report, does the Secretary of State think that the decision of the former Secretary of State for International Development to reinstate budget support was wise?

The hon. Gentleman is right to raise the subject of the report from the UN group of experts, which has formed part of the information that the International Development Secretary has considered in reaching a decision about the aid budget and direct support for the Rwandan Government. However, the communiqués issued by the Ugandan, Rwandan and DRC Presidents stipulate that there must be a solution to the problem in the eastern DRC, which means not just a resolution of the conflict now but longer-term measures to ensure that the cycle of conflict is broken.

In September, when the former International Development Secretary gave £21 million of aid to Rwanda, what advice did the Department offer ahead of his decision? What advice did it offer last week, when the current Secretary of State cancelled the money? Was it different from the advice that was given in September?

Before the decision made in September by the former Secretary of State and the decisions made by the current Secretary of State, the Foreign Office and other relevant Departments were consulted, and the decisions were made across Government with the full agreement of those Departments.