Rwanda President Paul Kagame's government says it would only
renew full diplomatic relations with France based on mutual interests. Kigali described
the recent arrest by Germany of Kagame advisor Rose Kabuye based on a
French-issued arrest warrant as a demonstration of Paris' contempt for Rwanda.
France has denied such claim. Meanwhile critics of President Kagame's
government claim the arrest of Kabuye was stage-managed to outwit the
international arrest warrants against those alleged to have been complicit in
the country's 1994 genocide. Jean Bosco Gasasira is the editor of the
Umuvugizi independent newspaper in Rwanda. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from
the capital, Kigali that the diplomatic relationship between Kigali and Paris
is currently tensed.
relationship between Rwanda and France can be described by someone as being
like a game of cat and mouse. Rwanda is accusing France of having an upper hand
in Rwanda's genocide and France is accusing Rwanda of shooting former President
Juvenal Habyarimana's plane. So, each side is accusing each other of having an
upper hand in that incident," Gasasira noted.
He said it was hard to tell
whether the relationship between the two countries could soon improve.
"I really doubt it and
depending on President Kagame's government because one of the officials said
that the release of Rose Kabuye wouldn't improve the situation. But there are
still some Rwandans who are demonstrating in front of the German Embassy even
though Rose Kabuye has been temporarily released. There are still ongoing
political demonstrations at the German Embassy, with the demonstrators accusing
Germany of collaborating with France to arrest Rose Kabuye. And they are saying
that it was just political manipulation," he said.
Gasasira quote opponents of
the government as saying that the arrest of the chief of protocol was a ploy to
outwit the international arrest warrants against those government officials
alleged to have been complicit in the 1994 genocide.
"There are speculations over
here in Kigali and they were saying that the government of Rwanda staged this
arrest of Rose Kabuye in order to overcome the indictment of nine RDF (Rwanda
Defense Forces) officers because the government have problems with official
being blacklisted, that is those who are alleged by France of being behind the
genocide so the whole point was to outwit the whole procedure," Gasasira noted.
He said Paris maintains that
the arrest of Rwanda's chief of protocol has nothing to do with any political
manipulation from the French government as being speculated.
"According to France's
foreign minister (Bernard) Kouchner, Paris' stance has always been
that they always prefer strong diplomatic relationship with Rwanda. And they
are saying that the justice stance is nowhere connected to the diplomatic
relations between the two countries. The French foreign minister was saying
that the arrest of Rose Kabuye was not political and adds that they (France)
are looking forward to an improvement in the diplomatic relationship with
Rwanda. But this is contrary to what Kigali is saying that even though Rose
Kabuye has been released, they are not going to have strong diplomatic
relations with France," he said.