NEW YORK – The foreign ministers of France and Rwanda have met for the first time since relations broke off in 2006.
France’s Bernard Kouchner and his Rwandan counterpart Charles Murigande met for talks at a hotel on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Rwanda severed relations after a French judge implicated top leaders of the ruling Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) in the 1994 assassination of former president Juvenal Habyarimana.
Rwanda has repeatedly accused France of supporting the Hutu extremists who perpetrated the 1994 Genocide and of dragging its feet to cooperate with the investigations that followed the massacres.
In July, France briefly detained two Rwandans - Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a 49-year-old Catholic priest, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, 62, a former government official - sought by the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) for their alleged roles in the 1994 Genocide.
Kigali had welcomed the arrests as a sign that France was willing to cooperate more actively with the tribunal since President Nicolas Sarkozy was elected and a new government was sworn in.
Munyeshyaka is accused by the ICTR of murdering Tutsis in his Holy Family parish in Kigali, of raping four young Tutsi women between April and June 1994 and of calling on the extremist Interahamwe militia to commit rape.
The ICTR has accused Bucyibaruta of “direct and public incitement to commit Genocide”.