Mushikiwabo: We knew it would be hard getting along with France

Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has said the French government was exhibiting “diplomatic malaise” for denying its role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Artistes dramatise ‘Shadows of Memory’, a skit depicting the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. (Timothy Kisambira)
Artistes dramatise ‘Shadows of Memory’, a skit depicting the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. (Timothy Kisambira)

Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has said the French government was exhibiting “diplomatic malaise” for denying its role in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Mushikiwabo was briefing the media yesterday shortly after the main event to mark the 20th anniversary of the Genocide.

France cancelled its participation in the event after Kigali after again accused the former colonial power of culpability in the Genocide.

“When Rwanda decided to normalise relations with France back in 2009, we knew that it would be difficult because what had stood between Rwanda and France after all was the Genocide,” she said.

“We thought it would be a much better proposition to move forward and remain in the same logic. However, on the French side, perhaps through differences in their leaders, some people felt that reconciliation between our two countries is not necessary.”

Mushikiwabo challenged Paris to accept that “serious mistakes” were made on its part and called on the French leaders to seek to mend bilateral relations with Rwanda by not covering up their role in the Genocide.

“What you sometimes see can only be described as diplomatic malaise, and it will probably remain like this unless France accepts where it erred or until France recognises that this country will not ignore history just to have a relationship with Paris,” the minister said.

Hope remains

She added that her office remained hopeful that France’s leaders, especially in its military establishment who are often behind Genocide denial, will realise that it is “much better off moving forward.”

“I am talking especially about the French military and politicians who decided to actively support the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. These are facts of history; books have been written, documentaries and films have been made about these facts,” she said.

“It is not the first time that this is being said; many French writers have said it, so it is not an issue of who says it, because it is a fact. The important thing is that we cannot change history. So we cannot change the laws just to please the French. If they are not here with us, it is their loss”.

 

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