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Kigali Restores Diplomatic Relations With Paris

  • Peter Clottey

Rwanda map

Rwanda map

Rwanda’s foreign minister said Kigali has restored relations with Paris after President Paul Kagame and French President Nicholas Sarkozy agreed to end years of diplomatic spat.

Rwanda’s foreign minister said Kigali has restored relations with Paris after President Paul Kagame and French President Nicholas Sarkozy agreed to end years of diplomatic spat.

Rosemary Museminali said the agreement puts the formally testy relations between Rwanda and France on a normal footing.

Rwanda President Paul Kagame

Rwanda President Paul Kagame

“The meeting which they had with our president culminated into Rwanda together with France deciding that we reopen the process of normalizing relations, which will include among other things reopening our embassies both in Paris and in Kigali,” she said.

Museminali said the reopening of embassies will be beneficial for both countries.

“Basically what we can say is that what remains is logistical. Today, the agreement was that we moved forward and we normalized our relation. But as you know the process of reopening embassies involves looking and reopening buildings that have been so long without being inhabited. It means that ambassadors will be nominated and presented to capitals and agreed upon,” Museminali said.

Rwanda severed diplomatic ties with France in 2006 after a French judge accused President Kagame and several government officials of involvement in the assassination of former President Juvenal Habyarimana.

Habyarimana’s assassinations is blamed for Rwanda’s 1994 genocide in which hundreds of thousands of mostly ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed over a 100-day period.

Rwanda has often accused French soldiers of complicity in the genocide -- a charge France denies.

Museminali said Rwanda will cooperate with France in pursuing the perpetrators of the genocide.

“I really want to emphasize that the agreement to restart our normalization process does not mean the end of all these issues of contention. Rather, it creates a framework to be able to look at these more credibly, to look at them together and we believe that this framework is going to help in moving this process forward,” Museminali said.

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