URUGWIRO VILLAGE - The new US Ambassador to Rwanda, Stuart Symington, yesterday presented his credentials to President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village. He replaces Michael Arietti who was recalled a few months ago after four years in Kigali.
“I will definitely build on what my predecessor started… I want to leave Rwanda at the end of my tenure with strong cooperation between the American people and the people of Rwanda,” said Symington during an interview shortly after presenting his credentials.
He said that he will also work with the different stakeholders in strengthening the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission (TPJC), a regional security platform that was championed by the US.
The TPJC brings together Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I want to leave the country and the region a better place not only in security but also with a vibrant economy because this is a region with vast wealth in both human and natural resources,” the envoy said. He emphasised that there is commitment by the Rwandan government to make the country and its people prosperous.
“I, together with other players, will play a role of linking Rwanda to the rest of the world,” he remarked.
Other Ambassadors who presented credentials to the President are Apichit Asatthawasa and Kevin Kelly of Thailand and Ireland respectively.
In an interview, Asatthawasa--who will be based in Nairobi, Kenya--, said that he will aim at fostering the existing relations between Rwanda and his country.
“There are bilateral relations between Rwanda and my country especially in agriculture, public health, rural development and culture,” said Asatthawasa.
He gave an example of a team of experts that recently travelled to Thailand on a study tour saying that it was the outcome of the already existing cooperation.
“I will work on strengthening that and we shall explore more areas where my country can provide expertise to Rwanda,” he said.
The new Irish envoy said that he was flattered to be the first diplomat accredited to Kigali. Kelly, who will be based in the Ugandan capital Kampala, is the first Irish ambassador to Rwanda.
“Our two countries share much in common, with Ireland having evolved from being one of the poorest nations in Europe to the prosperous one it is today…there is no doubt that Rwanda will achieve the same because they are using the same tools as my country,” Kelly said. He described such tools as transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy.