By Jane Nambi
The government of Rwanda has denied UN personnel visas into the country claiming they were among the team which compiled the report saying Rwanda and Uganda were helping Congo’s M23 rebels.
U.N. Security Council’s Group of Experts in a report last year said Rwanda’s defense minister was commanding the M23 in addition to arming the rebels. Rwanda government denied the allegations but U.N. officials said the denials were not credible.
Those who were denied the visas are Bernard Leloup of Belgium and Marie Plamadiala of Moldova. Rwanda admitted to denying them visas. “We told the DRC (Congo) sanctions committee … that no visa will issued to both of them,” Rwanda’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Olivier Nduhungirehe referring to the Security Council’s Congo sanctions committee.
The two belong to a six member team due int he country to investigate the role of Rwanda in aiding the M23. According to diplomats, four members of the expert group are already in Kigali for the discussions. Several countries have urged Rwanda to cooperate with all six members of the expert panel in the investigations.
Last year’s report by the Group of Experts caused significant grief for Rwanda. The United States, Sweden, the Netherlands, Britain and the European Union reacted to the experts’ accusations by suspending some aid to Rwanda, which relies on donors for about 40 percent of its budget.