EU €20M to Rwanda raises brows

Brussels 09.12.2022 The Member of the European parliament(MEP) Marc Botenga stood out on November 23 in Strasbourg, during the plenary debate on the forced displacement of people due to the escalation of the conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Image above: European Parliament, Strasbourg, France).

“Mr. President, it has been proven now, for years, even by the United Nations, that the Rwandan government supports the M23 rebels in Rwanda. Rebels who sow terror and death in the Democratic Republic of Congo, especially in the east, where this conflict has already claimed millions of lives. We therefore know the full responsibility of the Rwandan government”, underlined this member of the left group in the European Parliament (GUE / NGL).

This member of the Labor Party of Belgium particularly was challenging the EU decision: “So what does the European Union do? What are European countries doing? We would expect sanctions. This is the response that the European Union often has when we see this kind of action from one country against another. But no, no. European governments are now deciding to strengthen their military cooperation with Rwanda. France, in particular, announces a strengthening of its military cooperation”.

The MEP criticism broke out in the context of the Council of the European Union announcement of the adopted five support measures under the European Peace Facility (EFF). Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Lebanon, Mauritania and Rwanda, which has deployed its forces in Mozambique, are beneficiaries of these funds.

“The European Union will give €20 million to Rwanda for its participation in Mozambique. And the United States, as you have known for a long time, is a very important partner of Rwanda. Whereas you know that today, if a State wants to sell arms to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it must notify the United Nations, which obviously slows down or even prevents the delivery of arms to a country too often and if often assaulted,” Marc Botenga continued.

“This policy – where we say in words, in words that we respect Congolese sovereignty, but in reality, our policy hinders and undermines it – is unacceptable. We have to stop this immediately because we need, and the Congolese need, peace today”.

Meanwhile in Kinshasa, the Catholic episcopate also denounced this “hypocrisy”.

The decision is also disapproved by Denis Mukwege. The Nobel Peace Prize winner said he was outraged.

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