Rwanda’s government says it will only restore normal diplomatic relations with France, if France addresses concerns raised by Rwanda before ties between the two countries went sour. This comes after France reportedly said Monday it was in exploratory talks with Kigali on restoring diplomatic links. Rwanda severed ties with France in November, last year, after a French judge called for Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame to stand trial for alleged complicity in the death of his predecessor in April 1994, which spiraled an event that unleashed the country's genocide. Scores of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus lost their lives in the fighting.
From the capital, Kigali, Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande tells reporter Peter Clottey that Rwanda wants to live in peace and harmony with all nations on earth.
“I think we’ve been saying repetitively, that there are reasons that led Rwanda to sever relationship with France. And we shall have to sit down and go through all these reasons and see what France is ready to do to address those pending issues,” Murigande explained.
He reiterated Rwanda’s position on the rationale behind the move in cutting diplomatic ties with France.
“We believe unless they (France) address that past baggage, we wouldn’t be building a strong relationship for the future. So that is why we shall have to look back critically at what the relationship between France and Rwanda has been, and what went wrong. And there should be a commitment to avoid such past mistakes,” he noted.
Murigande explained some of the conditions set by the Kigali government for restoring diplomatic ties with Paris.
“We stated clearly when we cut off relationship that Rwanda was willing to have normal relationship with France on condition that the attitude of France vis-à-vis Rwanda exhibited in the past change. And if that is to happen, we wouldn’t have any problem to have excellent relationship with France. That is our desire. We desire to live in excellent relationship with every country on this planet,” Murigande said.
He said he recently had a very positive meeting with the French foreign minister at the United Nations.
“We had an excellent meeting, very cordial, and they know what is our bottom line. And they are looking at ways of addressing these issues when their mission came here to meet with us (some time ago),” he said.