Rwandan President To Visit France

Posted August 17th, 2011 at 6:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Rwanda's government says President Paul Kagame will make an official visit to France next month, the first by a Rwandan head of state since 1990.

A government statement said President Kagame will travel to France September 12-13 at the invitation of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

It said the visit follows President Sarkozy's trip to Rwanda in 2010 which it said “marked a major step forward” in diplomatic relations with France.

Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said the upcoming visit is a “significant milestone in closer relations” between the two countries.

Rwanda had cut ties with France in 2006 after a French judge accused President Kagame of ordering the April 1994 assassination of his predecessor, President Juvenal Habyarimana. The death of President Habyarimana is widely considered the trigger for Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

For its part, Rwanda has accused France of aiding the perpetrators of the genocide, in which some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates were killed. France denies the charge.

France and Rwanda restored ties in late 2009 after a three-year break.

Rwanda's government says in addition to meeting with President Sarkozy in Paris, President Kagame will meet with the French business community and Rwandans living in France.