Source: AFP, http://www.monuc.org

Dutch development minister visits DRC, Rwanda

THE HAGUE, Nov 25, 2008 - Dutch Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders left Tuesday for a tour of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda to discuss aid issues and examine conditions on the ground, his office said.

In the Congo, he will hold talks in Goma with local authorities, aid workers and the UN peacekeeping force MONUC, and visit the Kibati camp that houses 67,000 refugees from fighting that erupted three months ago.

Goma, capital of eastern Nord-Kivu province, has been a focal point of the conflict between rebels led by Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese army and allied militia.

With 26 million euros (33.6 million dollars) spent since the beginning of the year, the Netherlands is one of the major humanitarian contributors to Congo.

On Thursday, Koenders is to open a donor conference in the Rwandan capital Kigali, his office added the statement.

"He will also hold talks with the Rwandan president Paul Kagame about the development relationship between the Netherlands and Rwanda, and the situation in the eastern Congo," it said.

Source: AFP, http://www.monuc.org

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