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Rwanda seeks more development aid from Switzerland

Joseph Deiss (left) meets André Bumaya in Bern on Friday Keystone

The Rwandan foreign minister, André Bumaya, has called on Switzerland to increase development aid to his country.

During bilateral talks in Bern with the Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, Bumaya appealed for a return to the level of aid provided by Switzerland prior to the 1994 genocide.

Seven years ago, extremist Hutus massacred an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Rwanda.

“The situation in our country is now stable and secure,” Bumaya told Deiss at a meeting in the Swiss capital, Bern, on Friday.

At a press conference following the meeting, Deiss said Switzerland’s development aid programme to Rwanda would remain transitory until the end of 2004 because of the continued presence of Rwandan troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Responding to Deiss’s comments, Bumaya pledged the order to withdraw from Congo would be given “as soon as national security is no longer threatened by the group in Congo responsible for the genocide”.

“We hope that after the period of transition, the [Swiss government’s] programme of development and cooperation will go back to normal,” he added.

In September, the Swiss government unfroze a SFr15 million aid package to Rwanda.

Deiss told his Rwandan counterpart the package was designed to help with the process of democratisation and the battle against poverty in Rwanda.

Bumaya said his country had already made “enormous political and social progress” and that a constitution was in the process of being drafted.

Parliamentary and presidential elections are due to be contested in Rwanda by 2003.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR