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Newsline: EU backs DRC commissioner

The EU was set to step up pressure on the Democratic Republic of Congo after Kinshasa declared the bloc’s top aid official persona non grata for raising doubts about its use of aid money. At the European Parliament last month, Development Commissioner Karel De Gucht had questioned whether aid provided to Kinshasa by EU nations was being put to good use as a humanitarian crisis raged in parts of the country. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton was set to call in DR Congo’s ambassador to express the bloc’s support for De Gucht. On Thursday, DR Congo government spokesperson Lambert Mende said: “We note that here is a character who is incapable of having normal, dignified relations with our country. “Without wanting to damage our good relations with the EU, we want nothing to do with this character,” Mende added. The EU is a major aid donor to DR Congo, sending some 300m euros ($430m) since 2003, including around 50m euros annually in humanitarian assistance in 2008 and last year.



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