(LONDON) — Britain is blocking monetary aid to Rwanda after nearly 20 years as one of the African country’s largest foreign donors.
The decision to withhold a $33.7 million aid package came after the United Nations raised concerns that the Rwandan government was providing support to a rebel movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda,” said U.K. International Development Secretary Justine Greening, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Greening said the decision to stop the payment, due next month, was because Rwanda had breached partnership agreements conditional to the funds.
“The government has already set out its concerns over credible and compelling reports of Rwandan involvement with M23 in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Greening said, according to a Financial Times report. “This evidence constitutes a breach of the partnership prinicples 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.”
The Rwandan government maintains it is not involved with the M23 or any conflict in the Congo, and called the U.K.’s funding freeze “highly regrettable,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to the Journal‘s report, this is the second time in a year that the U.K. has suspended Rwandan aid amid the U.N. accusations.
The European Union continues to provide earmarked funds, but has no plans to send any new aid. In July, the U.S. suspended $200,000 in military funding, a portion of a $160 million package promised for long-term development in Rwanda, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN