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FACTBOX-Key political risks to watch in Rwanda

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Jenny Clover

KIGALI, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Rwanda has warned it will not tolerate attempts to blame it for a rebel insurgency in eastern Congo but vowed to use its two-year U.N. Security Council stint to seek an end to the conflict that has destabilised its much larger neighbour.

Western donors, including the European Union, suspended some financial support in the wake of a U.N .-commissioned report that accused Kigali of backing the M23 rebels. Germany, however, has now unblocked its aid, signalling the aid freeze may end soon.

Kigali has repeatedly rejected the allegations that senior Rwandan military officials have created, equipped, trained and directly commanded M23.

INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE

A delayed U.N. mediated regional peace deal aimed at end a two-decade long cycle of violence in eastern Congo could be ready for signing later this month. The deal is expected to pave the way for the deployment of a regional intervention force.

Meanwhile, in Uganda talks between the Kinshasa government and M23 rebels continue at a snail pace.

What to watch:

- Will Rwanda use its position at the U.N. Security Council to defuse the crisis? Kigali has backed down in its opposition to a U.N. proposal to use drones in eastern Congo.

- Will a U.N. peace deal put an end to foreign involvement in eastern Congo?

- Will the intervention brigade be able to "neutralise" eastern Congo's armed groups?

ECONOMIC HARDSHIP AHEAD?

Rwanda may have to slash its 2013 economic growth forecast if $240 million in international aid remains delayed or suspended.

Finance Minister John Rwangombwa said the aid suspensions might cost the economy about 1.5 percentage points. Late last year he said Rwanda had put on hold plans to issue a Eurobond.

What to watch:

- Will other donor countries follow Germany and unblock suspended funds?

- An official GDP revision downwards.

POLITICAL OPPONENTS, INTERNAL RIFTS

Critics have accused President Paul Kagame of being authoritarian and stifling media and political freedoms. He rejects the accusations, and points to his record of leading his country's recovery from the 1994 genocide.

A Rwandan court last year jailed opposition politician Victoire Ingabire to eight years in prison in a case linked to the genocide. Ingabire was accused of transferring money to FDLR Hutu rebels. Both Ingabire and the prosecution are appealing.

What to watch:

- Will the Ingabire appeals be successful?

- Will the West pressure Kagame to open up Rwanda's political space? If they do, how will the president react? (Editing by Richard Lough and Toby Chopra)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130208/factbox-key-political-risks-to-watch-in-rwanda