July 20, 2024
EU suspends €20 million military aid to Kigali over involvement in DRC conflict

EU suspends €20 million military aid to Kigali over involvement in DRC conflict

The European Union has halted the approval of its €20 million military aid package to Rwanda, intended to support Rwandan military operations in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.

During the meeting of the Africa Working Group (COAFR) on Wednesday, July 3rd, member states failed to reach a consensus on unlocking this financial assistance.

Kigali had submitted a request to receive a second €20 million tranche through the European Peace Facility (EPF).

This aid was meant to fund units of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) deployed since July 2021 to combat jihadist insurgency in northern Mozambique.

Despite strong backing from Portugal and France, this new aid package received mixed reactions among EU member states.

Countries like the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden expressed reservations, emphasizing the need for conditions to be met.

Several diplomats pointed out Rwanda’s military support for the M23 rebellion in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The latest report from the UN experts group, published on June 19, 2024, highlighted extensive RDF presence alongside M23 rebels.

In light of this information, the EU now appears reluctant to separate the issues of eastern Congo from those in Cabo Delgado.

COAFR, requiring unanimous agreement to unlock the €20 million aid, opted to indefinitely postpone its decision, likely until after summer.

Additionally, COAFR members agreed on the necessity to expand EU sanctions against Rwandan officials involved in the M23 conflict.

Currently, only Captain Jean-Pierre Niragire, alias Gasasira, of the RDF, faces these sanctions imposed since July 2023. Further deliberations are needed to identify additional names for inclusion on this sanctions list.

This decision marks a shift in EU policy towards Rwanda, signaling a firmer stance regarding the Rwandan government’s involvement in regional conflicts.

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