"Developments in eastern Congo are serious, particularly in Nord-Kivu. Sweden is one of the largest donors to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We are deeply concerned to see the situation that has arisen and are following developments very closely," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson.
"The Government now welcomes the international efforts that are being made to ensure that the fighting ends, that displaced people are able to return and that humanitarian aid reaches those in need," says Ms Carlsson.
The peace and stabilisation process in eastern Congo has severely deteriorated since August, primarily because of clashes between the government FARDC forces and the CNDP rebel group. Although the fighting has stopped in recent days, the humanitarian situation is serious. Ultimately, it is the parties on the ground that are responsible for ensuring that the ceasefire agreed on Wednesday is strengthened, that the peace and stabilisation agreements entered into are implemented and that necessary aid is able to reach those in need. The UN now has a presence in the area through the MONUC peace-keeping mission.
The Government supports the international initiatives now being taken. The French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner and UK foreign minister David Miliband visited the area at the weekend and expressed great concern about the humanitarian situation and the need for international aid to really reach those in need. The EU Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid, Louis Michel, has also visited the area. The UN and the African Union (AU) are now taking action for lasting peace and stability in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Sweden is currently a major donor to humanitarian and reconstruction operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In 2008 contributions of SEK 200 million are planned for development cooperation and SEK 185 million in humanitarian aid. Together with other EU countries Sweden is contributing both personnel and resources to help the Congolese Government with judicial, police and military reforms.
Press Secretary to Gunilla Carlsson
+46 8 405 59 39
+46 70 283 95 97