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France Denies 'Military Responsibility' for 1994 Rwanda Genocide


France's foreign minister says his country made political mistakes in Rwanda but has no military responsibility for the 1994 genocide.

Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner spoke to reporters after a meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigali late Saturday.

He said France was at fault for not understanding what was happening in Rwanda, but that French soldiers did not take part in the genocide, in which an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed.

President Kagame has accused French troops of arming and training Rwandan Hutu extremists responsible for most of the killings.

After the meeting, President Kagame described Koucher as "a good friend" and said they want to get rid of what he called obstacles based on the mistakes of the past.

Rwanda cut ties with France in 2006 after a French judge alleged that President Kagame was involved in the April 1994 assassination of his predecessor, which triggered the genocide.

Kouchner's visit to Rwanda was aimed largely at repairing relations.

While in Kigali, Kouchner visited the Rwandan genocide memorial, where the remains of more than 250,000 victims are buried in mass graves.

Sunday, Kouchner is traveling to the west African nation of Burkina Faso, which is mediating a peace process for the Ivory Coast.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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