KIGALI-The European Union envoy, Michel Arrion, yesterday met with the Minister of Defence, Gen. James Kabarebe, and held talks on the possible increase in financing of the peacekeeping missions.
According to Ambassador Arrion, there is a current debate on the financing of peacekeeping troops at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and an agreement is yet to be reached on whether there should be an increment in financial contributions to peacekeepers or not.
“The discussions in New York are between the group of the financing countries and the group of troops contributing countries, and clearly there is no agreement reached until now which is a major concern for everyone,” said Amb Arrion.
He however added that the deadline for reaching an agreement is today (yesterday), although there is no clear agreement reached so far on financing issues.
“Peacekeeping operations are clearly on the core of the mandate of the mission, and the lack of enough financing could jeopardise the efficiency of the operations, so we are working together to reach an agreement,” Arrion pointed out.
Kabarebe briefed Arrion on the Darfur Mission where Rwanda has deployed most of its peacekeeping troops. He informed him of the complications troops face due to the harsh conditions in Darfur.
“The actual systems of lump-sums and averages should be reviewed, more actual and based on data. We recognised that Rwanda has actually sent data to the UN substantiating the cost of the mission,” he added.
Gen. Kabarebe also told the envoy that Rwanda was making a sacrifice to send its troops to Darfur which is costly.
Arrion said that the European Union is concerned about the fact that some countries that contribute troops are actually making benefits from contributing to the peacekeeping missions.
“We should really find a solution in a way that it is not costly for the country to contribute troops but also not making benefits from the mission,” he said.
“We don’t want to cut the financing; the question is, do we increase and if we are to increase, at what rate should we increase? But clearly the rates need to be reviewed but we would like to see the actual cost of the spending”.
He pointed out that the increment should be based on data provided by the troops contributing countries and that Rwanda has supplied its data to the UN unlike other countries.
The Defence and Army spokesman, Lt Col Jill Rutaremara, said that rates that UN base on are outdated and highlighted that the conditions in Darfur are quite difficult for the troops and requires more financing and advanced equipment.
“One of the problems is that, the UN can’t pay for lost or damaged equipment that is less than US$250,000 in value, meaning if a vehicle that costs US$50,000 is stolen, the UN will not pay for that,” said Rutaremara.
“We told the envoy that the countries making benefits are known and those are the countries that are deployed to the missions, but they are not active”.