French officials arrive to re-open embassy

A delegation of French Government officials is in the country to reopen their diplomatic mission with the hope that it will be operational in January.
REDUNDANT: The French Cultural Centre is set to reopen soon. (Photo/ J. Mbanda)
REDUNDANT: The French Cultural Centre is set to reopen soon. (Photo/ J. Mbanda)

A delegation of French Government officials is in the country to reopen their diplomatic mission with the hope that it will be operational in January.

Stephane Romatet, a Director General in the French Foreign Affairs Ministry is accompanied by ten other officials.

“I came to Kigali to re-open our embassy in the context of the decision taken by Presidents Kagame and Sarkozy to re-establish diplomatic ties between our two countries,” Romatet told The New Times shortly after touring Gisozi Genocide Memorial Centre.

“I came here with a French delegation to see, together with the Rwandan government, the way we will reopen our embassy, when we will reopen, and all the other practical measures”.

The decision to reinstate relations was announced by both governments in November.

Asked when exactly the embassy will be operational, Romatet pointed to the ‘very beginning’ of next year.

“As soon as the French Ambassador comes, we hope in the very beginning of next year. We presented the new Ambassador to the authorities of the government of Rwanda and we hope he can arrive as soon as possible. Our wish is to open the embassy as soon as possible.”

The identity of the new envoy was not revealed.

“I can’t give you the name right now because —due to the Geneva Convention— the new Ambassador has to be approved first by the Rwandese authorities,” Romatet said.

Meanwhile, a cabinet meeting on Wednesday proposed Jacques Kabare as Rwanda’s envoy to France.

Romatet also told The New Times that their projects, like the French Cultural Centre, will probably take some months to re-open, after the initial opening of the embassy.

“We now want to have fully fledged relations with Rwanda. We know that the French Cultural Centre is something very important in Kigali, the French school too,” he said.

“You know, after three years of suspended relations, there is a lot of work to do to reshape our facilities here. It will probably take some months before all the facilities can reopen”.

The last French Ambassador to Rwanda was Dominique Decherf.

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