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Rwanda Keeps Diplomatic Ties With Germany


Rwanda will maintain diplomatic ties with Germany, despite recalling its ambassador from Germany and sending the German ambassador home from Kigali this week. Thomas Rippe reports for VOA from Rwanda's capital.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Rosemary Museminali said that her country will not break ties with Germany over the arrest earlier this week of Rose Kabuye, a top aide to Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Diplomatic tensions between the two countries have been building all week, beginning with Kabuye's arrest in Germany on Sunday. Monday thousands of Rwandans began protests outside the German embassy that have continued each day.

Minister Museminali said ambassadors from both countries have returned home, but that dialogue between the countries remains open.

"We have recalled Ambassador Gasana, who is our ambassador in Germany, to come home for consultations," he said. "That is the normal process. We have also asked the German ambassador to leave until these things are cleared. That does not mean that we have broken diplomatic relations with Germany. Their embassy remains open here, our embassy remains open in Berlin, and we believe that when these issues are settled we should be able to go back to normal business," said Museminali.

The minister said that relations with Germany were very good until the arrest, and that both countries are working to repair the rift.

"We always hope to work on these things as fast as we can. But it would be difficult to give a time frame. One hopes that it does not take so long," he said.

Kabuye was arrested on a 2006 French indictment that alleges she was involved in the 1994 downing of a plane that killed then-Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana. His death sparked the genocide that killed 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

Rwanda broke diplomatic relations with France after indictments were issued against several people. Minister Museminali said Rwanda is especially upset with Germany over its treatment of the French indictments.

"Germany should have looked at these indictments and seen them for what they were," he said. These are politically motivated indictments that had a very flawed process in getting to them, that had very shaky information that was collected around Rose Kabuye and the other counterparts that the indictments accuse," the minister said.

Many Rwandans said they still resent the international community for not doing more to stop the genocide. They remain skeptical of the intentions of the international community and of ideas of international justice.

"We think they were really high-handed. They were very unfair. And we believe that our action really has expressed how unhappy we were," Museminali said.

Minister Museminali said there is still a lot of activity between Rwanda and Germany, and she expects the two countries to resume their friendship.

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