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Kigali Displeased With Paris


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.

"The 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.

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