Mushikiwabo pays tribute to Queen
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Louise Mushikiwabo, Thursday, paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom saying her reign had been influential in developing strong ties between East Africa and the United Kingdom,
She made the homage during celebrations to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The celebrations which were hosted at the residence of the British High Commissioner to Rwanda, Benedict Llewellyn-Jones, attracted the British community working in the country, several senior government officials, business leaders, as well as members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Rwanda.
“Her Majesty has reigned over the UK and her dominions far longer than my lifetime; I am aware that Her Majesty has always had affinity and interest in Africa, and indeed became Queen in 1952 while in our East African region, specifically in Kenya, upon receiving the news of the unfortunate demise of King George. This brings the Diamond Jubilee close to us in Rwanda,” Mushikiwabo told the celebrants.
“Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of the Commonwealth, a family of nations held together by common commitment to principles of democracy, human rights and development. Rwanda is profoundly proud to be part of the August Club,” she pointed out.
Mushikiwabo recognised the UK’s role in the reconstruction of the country after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, particularly support in strategic sectors such as education, poverty reduction, governance and public financial management.
“UK was among the first countries to recognise that the government of Rwanda can effectively manage financial and technical assistance extended to it, and through such recognition, became the first nation to channel a large part of its assistance through direct budget support,” she noted.
“Rwanda assures the UK and other development partners that there will be no regrets for taking that option; we will always appreciate any support that presupposes that Rwandans are capable of determining their own development agenda and priorities.”
In his speech, the High Commissioner, Llewellyn-Jones, paid tribute to the Queen for the positive impact she has had on the world.
“The Diamond Jubilee is a testament not simply to Her Majesty’s longevity but also her public service. From her accession to the throne in 1952 until the present day, she has worked tirelessly for the citizens of Britain and of the Commonwealth, of which Rwanda is the youngest member,” Llewellyn-Jones observed.
“UK is very proud of its relationship with Rwanda. Rwanda sets its development goals and we support them. Strong direction from the Rwandan government and in particular, President Paul Kagame, is important in ensuring Rwandans owns and manages its own development agenda.”
The High Commissioner also paid tribute to Rwandan troops and police officers in Darfur, South Sudan and Haiti for “risking their lives to keep peace”.
Queen Elizabeth II’s reign of six decades is the second longest for a British monarch after Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years.
Contact email: ivan.mugisha[at]newtimes.co.rw