Rwanda has said it is committed to deepen its relations with the United States days ahead of Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s scheduled visit to the east African nation. Kigali is particularly looking forward to working more closely with the US in the areas of peacekeeping, global health, global food and energy security, trade and investment, counterterrorism, and climate action, according to a statement released Thursday, August 4. The top US diplomat, who’ll be on a three-nation Africa tour, is due to arrive in Rwanda for a two-day visit on August 9. The Rwandan government pointed out the importance of talks on Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment, which according to Global Fund, is an “opportunity to take bold action to protect everyone, everywhere from the deadliest infectious diseases.” The Global Fund is looking to raise at least US$18 billion during the seventh replenishment. “Rwanda looks forward to a robust exchange of views on governance and human rights as has always been the case in the Rwanda-US bilateral relations,” the statement, released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, reads in part, in apparent response to some of the issues raised in a recent US State Department statement. Rwanda is pleased to welcome U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit next week. pic.twitter.com/Vv9onlfDsa — Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Intl Cooperation (@RwandaMFA) August 4, 2022 It adds, “Addressing security challenges in the Great Lakes region is a key priority and Rwanda remains committed to the various regional mechanisms in place to find durable solutions.” In what appears to be a response to State Department’s comments that Blinken would raise the issue of ‘the wrongful detention of U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident Paul Rusesabagina’ with the Rwandan authorities, Kigali says Rusesabagina and others with whom he was tried and sentenced are legally serving their time. “On the case of Rwandan citizen Paul Rusesabagina, on which we had engaged with the United States for more than a decade, Rwanda welcomes the opportunity to once again make clear that the arrest and conviction for serious crimes against Rwandan citizen (alongside 20 other accomplices in the same trial) while residing in the United States, were lawful under both the Rwandan and international law,” the statement says. Blinken is also expected to visit South Africa and DR Congo.