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Rwanda

Rwanda Tipped For UN Security Council Seat, Despite Claims It Is Helping Congo Rebels

THE NEW TIMES (Rwanda), LE MONDE (France), BBC (UK),REUTERS

Worldcrunch

Rwanda is tipped to take one of five UN Security Council seats today, despite mounting pressure on the country over the allegations that it is backing an armed rebellion in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A confidential UN report, leaked to Reuters on Tuesday, accused Rwanda and Uganda of supporting the M23 rebels, guilty of numerous human rights abuses and resulting in thousands of displaced persons in the Great Lakes region of Africa.

DR Congo demanded Wednesday that sanctions should be instated against the two countries backing the rebels, reports Le Monde.

Both the Ugandan government and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame have denied the claims. Rwandan daily the New Times reports that Uganda's military spokesperson, Felix Kulayigye, said, “Where’s their authentic facts to back those claims? Those accusations are absolute rubbish, hogwash.”

The accusations have dampened Rwanda's efforts to occupy the non-permanent African seat on the UN Security Council, which is currently held by South Africa and would have been uncontested. If elected, Rwanda would represent eastern and southern Africa for a two-year term, beginning January 1, 2013.

The United Kingdom is also facing pressure to withdraw development aid to Rwanda and Uganda.

Prior to his departure as international development secretary, Andrew Mitchell restored aid to Rwanda in September, paying the country £16 million ($26 million). Rwanda's Paul Kagame has often been praised for the success of the country's economy, following the devastating genocide of 1994.

During Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons Wednesday, David Cameron was forced to defend the government's development aid following the accusations: "I'm clear Rwanda has been, and continues to be, a success story of a country that has moved from genocide and disaster to become a role model for development and lifting people out of poverty in Africa," reports the BBC.

"I will raise this issue presently with the president, but I continue to believe that investing in Rwanda's success as one of those countries in Africa that's showing you can break the cycle of poverty, you can improve conditions for people, is something that we are right to do," Cameron said.

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