Rwandan President Makes First Visit to France Since 1994 Genocide

Posted September 11th, 2011 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Rwandan President Paul Kagame has begun a visit to France, striving to rebuild ties that were shattered by accusations related to Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

Mr. Kagame was scheduled to meet with Rwandan expatriates, French business leaders and French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his three-day visit.

This is Mr. Kagame's first trip to France since the genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 800,000 people.

A French judge has accused President Kagame's aides of assassinating then-Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana in April 1994, the event considered the trigger for the genocide.

In 2008, Rwanda's government issued a report alleging that a number of French officials were aware of and participated in the killings.

France and Rwanda cut diplomatic relations in 2006 before re-establishing them in November 2009.

Mr. Kagame, whose Tutsi rebel force toppled the Hutu extremist government, has ruled Rwanda for 17 years since the genocide. Critics accuse him of become more authoritarian over the years.