KIGALI - French President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to arrive in the country today for a working visit expected to last half-a day.
Upon arrival, Sarkozy will visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi and thereafter, hold talks with President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village from where the two Heads of State are scheduled to hold a joint press conference.
In an interview with The New Times, Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, said that Sarkozy’s visit is an important milestone.
“President Sarkozy’s visit is an important step in the normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries. We will be more than happy to welcome him, much as we know that there are still some outstanding issues to discuss.”
Mushikiwabo noted that the visit will “not be just about normalising relations” but it will also provide Rwanda with a direct platform to discuss with France how the two countries can move forward.
“We will be more than ready to engage on various issues, including the indictments and the issue of respect and independence of the judiciary of both countries,” said Mushikiwabo.
She said that discussions will also centre on the “the direct participation” of some top French officials at the time in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
She however added that while the ‘political dialogue’ to address outstanding concerns goes on, diplomatic and other forms of France-Rwanda cooperation will continue uninterrupted.
“The political dialogue on some of these issues which stem back from 1994 will continue, but as I speak today, the cooperation is already in full throttle. We have already received people from France ready to venture into business and investment,”
“As we have said earlier, we are a forward-looking country and the past will not deter us from moving forward. President Sarkozy also came into office with a positive approach to issues and we will be more than ready to engage,” Mushikiwabo said.
She further noted that what the two countries are looking at is a new relationship that will be based on mutual understanding and respect, where the sovereignty of each is held in high esteem.