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British minister pledges US $38 million to help peace process

The British Secretary of State for International Development, Hilary Benn, on Tuesday pledged US $38 million to support the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). "We are committed alongside the efforts of the international community to reducing poverty," Benn told a news conference in the capital, Kinshasa, at the end of a two-day visit to the country. He said the peace process was an opportunity for the UK to involve itself more fully in the fight against poverty in the country and the Great Lakes region. The aid will go towards the development of a strategic document on poverty reduction, the fight against HIV/AIDS and social service benefits. The process of disarming, demobilising and reintegrating former armed combatants would also receive financial help, as would the police and justice departments. Benn also said the UK wished to encourage good relations between the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, after a war in which the latter two countries supported rebel Congolese groups.
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