Smear against Rwanda unfounded - Spanish official

KIGALI - The visiting Secretary of State of Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Angel Lossada, has said that Rwanda is not a terrorist country, contrary to allegations by Spanish judge Fernando Andreu Merelles, when he issued indictments against Rwandan officials.

KIGALI - The visiting Secretary of State of Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Angel Lossada, has said that Rwanda is not a terrorist country, contrary to allegations by Spanish judge Fernando Andreu Merelles, when he issued indictments against Rwandan officials.

Lossada pronounced this yesterday shortly after a touring and laying a wreath at the Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre.

“I don’t believe that this is a terrorist country. I don’t believe that this is a terrorist government. I am here to work with Rwandan authorities to keep the best possible relations with this country,” Lossada said.

The Spanish delegation of four arrived in the country Thursday for a two-day visit.

Earlier in the morning, Lossada and his delegation held closed door talks with Rwandan officials, including Foreign Minister Rosemary Museminali and Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.

Addressing a joint press conference at Serena, Museminali said they discussed the two countries’ bilateral relations, especially the controversial indictments.

“Of course as you would expect, we discussed the issue of the indictments. We agreed on a way forward on how to work together and on how to deal with this problem which is a huge problem on the government of Rwanda, on the people of Rwanda and on the leadership of Rwanda.”

Pressed on the main litigious issue – the indictments, Lossada said he had come with a purpose of working on the bilateral relations between Spain and Rwanda, but declined comment on the central issue.

“I think that it is important that I will not comment because it is not in our (Spanish government) practice to comment on particular actions by the judiciary.”

On the way forward however, the Spanish official said he had invited Rwanda’s Minister of Justice to come to Spain and iron out issues with his Spanish counterpart.

The Spanish minister emphasized that his country has always recognised and condemned the Genocide and his visit to Gisozi genocide Memorial yesterday was to pay homage to the victims

Museminali told reporters that Merelles’ indictments are politically motivated.

“He mentioned that they do not comment on judicial processes, but we emphasize the fact that these are politically motivated indictments. The forty officials who were indicted cannot be able to travel and do their businesses,” said Museminali.

“It is important that the Spanish government pronounces itself on this dossier because it clearly points out that this is not a terrorist government made by a terrorist organization called RPF,” she emphasized.

“The dossier also attempts to overturn our history, by calling the people who stopped the genocide, actually the genocidaires.”

She said that during the visit by the justice minister to Spain, he will clearly demonstrate how Merelles’ indictments are politically motivated.

Museminali stressed that Rwanda and Spain enjoyed good relations in the past and, Rwanda is “still open to work with Spain” to improve relations.

Merelles last year issued indictments against 40 senior government officials, formerly members of the Rwanda Patriotic Army, allegedly over the death of some Spanish clerics during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

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