The Obama administration has broken with its own history of support to the Paul Kagame regime of Rwanda and joined other Western nations in an effort to cut off military aid to Kigali.
This move comes following a United Nations report that supplied evidence of Rwanda’s involvement in rebel-led violence in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In a rare public statement hinting at a possible shift in the U.S. administration’s position, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland described the U.N. report as “quite comprehensive and quite concerning”, adding that following its publication Washington had “deep concerns about Rwanda’s support to the Congolese rebel group that goes by the name M23.”
According to the report and other human rights organisations there is now material evidence of Rwanda “providing fighters and military equipment to rebels in the eastern DRC where 18 years of conflict have cost the lives of several million people.”
However, the apparent turnaround in the U.S. position on Rwanda was not without controversy as some members of the U.S. administration, reportedly including the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, resisted allowing some parts of the reports being published.
That effort nevertheless was said to have failed when leaked private communications revealed that Ms. Rice — who also faced criticism for being slow to recognise what happened in 1994 in Rwanda as “genocide” — tried to block “a crucial annex detailing evidence of Rwandan support for the DRC rebels from being attached to the main report and made public”.