Europe’s ‘air chaos’ delays C’wealth visit

KIGALI - Several experts from the Commonwealth Secretariat who were expected in the country over the weekend could not make it to Kigali as planned because flights from the UK had been canceled due to the volcanic cloud that has disrupted air transport in Europe.

KIGALI - Several experts from the Commonwealth Secretariat who were expected in the country over the weekend could not make it to Kigali as planned because flights from the UK had been canceled due to the volcanic cloud that has disrupted air transport in Europe.

The group led by the Commonwealth deputy Secretary General, Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, was scheduled to visit the country to identify areas in which the 54-member state organization can work, assist and share good practices.

“The Commonwealth Secretariat’s multi disciplinary Mission to Rwanda, headed by Deputy Secretary General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba, has been postponed due to the volcanic ash from Iceland that has led to the closure of European airspace,” Julius Mucunguzi, the Commonwealth’s assistant spokesperson for Africa  said in an e-mail Monday.

Millions of passengers around the world have been affected by the crisis which will head into its sixth day this Tuesday and, prospects of a return to normal air travel remain uncertain.

“When the dates for the renewed mission have been decided, a further announcement will be made,” Mucunguzi said.

The team comprises of experts in media, democracy, electoral assistance, human rights and the judiciary and, while in Kigali are expected to engage government officials and other stakeholders on how the two sides can benefit from each other.

In a Friday communiqué, Masire-Mwamba had noted that she was looking forward to the visit and was hopeful that by its end, “we will have a very clear idea of the ways in which the Commonwealth and Rwanda can work together to promote both Rwanda’s national objectives and shared Commonwealth goals.”

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