Top British diplomat roots for closer Rwanda-UK relations

A top British diplomat, Sir Simon McDonald, has said that if countries are to progress and make things better for their people, it is important that they work closely together. Sir McDonald, the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the UK’s Diplomatic Service, was speaking yesterday during his visit to Rwanda.
Sir McDonald lays a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. / Courtesy
Sir McDonald lays a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. / Courtesy

A top British diplomat, Sir Simon McDonald, has said that if countries are to progress and make things better for their people, it is important that they work closely together.

Sir McDonald, the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Head of the UK’s Diplomatic Service, was speaking yesterday during his visit to Rwanda.

“I believe in progress, I believe that we can learn from the past and I believe that the countries of the world have to work closely with each other to make things better, that is what the governments of the United Kingdom and Rwanda are doing right now,” McDonald said.

He added that: “The United Kingdom has worked very closely with Rwanda since 1994 as a partner to help rebuild Rwanda,” he said.

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McDonald made the remarks while visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Gisozi, home to the remains of over 250,000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

“Visiting the memorial for the first time, it is a shocking but also very moving and dignified place. All that happened must be remembered and clearly the people of Rwanda are making sure that the people of the world remember what happened in 1994,” he said.

The diplomat emphasised that he was shocked by what human beings are capable of doing to each other.

“This happened in the middle of my life, it is not something from history; this is something from current affairs and I find that especially shocking,” he said.

However, McDonald commended the progress the country has been able to make in recent years.

“This is my second visit to Kigali, I first came in 2002 and I see that, in the last fifteen years, Rwanda has made very big progress. Life looks much better in Rwanda today.”

 

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