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France vows to open “new page of history” in diplomatic relations with Rwanda

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Rwanda earlier Thursday for an official visit with the ambition to normalize relations that…

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Rwanda earlier Thursday for an official visit with the ambition to normalize relations that had been poisoned for more than a quarter of a century by France’s role in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.Gabriel Attal French government spokesperson said shortly before this official visit that, President Macron’s trip to Kigali, “is proof that the will of the President of the Republic to look at our history, our past, face to face and in complete transparency is the best way to move forward.”

At the Kigali Genocide Memorial – the final resting place for more than 280,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi – French President left a message and then proceeded to lay a wreath and honour Genocide victims.

“”Ndibuka (I remember). I will remember. These names, these faces, these lives that a genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi deprived of a future,” Macron said.

According to him, the time has come to reconcile our memories, to recognize the past, to bow to the victims and listen to the pain of the survivors.

“It is France’s honor to face its history. It is up to us to build the future for all these children,” he said.

The visit comes after French historian Vincent Duclert in April released findings of an inquiry commissioned in 2019 by Macron to examine archives related to the role of France in the days leading to and during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The 1,200-page report concluded that France “bears heavy and overwhelming responsibilities” over the Genocide but indicated there was evidence of French complicity.

President Macron’s visit is a major milestone development being watched by the world and seen as the final step for Rwanda and France to normalize relations which have been characterised by tensions and misunderstandings over the last 27 years.

During the visit to Rwanda, it is expected that Mr Macron will have talks with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame, focusing on a number of issues of political and socio-economic interest for the two countries, including full restoration of diplomatic ties.

The two leaders will also share a working lunch, an official statement issued by the President’s Office in Kigali said.

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