Obama urged to cut aid to Rwanda as DR Congo conflict gets renewed attention in Congress

“We call on you to appoint a Presidential Envoy to lead a coordinated U.S. response to the crisis, to support the appointment of a U.N. Envoy to the Great Lakes, to support the imposition of sanctions against violators of the United Nations arms embargo on DRC, and, finally, to cut all military assistance and suspend other non-humanitarian aid to the government of Rwanda for its support of the M23 insurgency,” the letter states.

The administration has come under intensifying criticism for trying to shield its ally Rwanda from U.N. investigations linking the country to a rebel group, known as M23, that has taken over eastern parts of the country. The administration has already cut about $200,000 in military funding for the group in response to the reports, but the groups want to see all military and other non-humanitarian aid suspended.

The conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo carries added political significance on Capitol Hill because Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations whose potential nomination to be secretary of State has come under attack by Republicans, is seen as a close ally of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Rice's role during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, when she was the top Africa expert at the State Department during former President Clinton's administration and opted not to intervene, has also come under fire.