KIGALI - The commander of US Africa Command (AFRICOM), Gen. William E. Ward, yesterday said that his visit to Rwanda was aimed at reaffirming the strength of the partnership between the US and Rwanda.
Shortly after laying a wreath and touring the Genocide Memorial Centre, at Gisozi, Ward stressed that both countries were working jointly to promote peace and stability.
“The example that Rwanda sets for its neighbours and the global community, is one that we respect and are very thankful for,” Gen. Ward said.
“I come here to congratulate and thank the people of Rwanda and their defence forces for the role that they play in addressing issues of peace in the region, around the continent and the world.”
Outside the Memorial Centre, Ward reiterated the importance of remembering the dead, saying that this helps to avert the possibility of the reoccurrence of Genocide.
“And to come here to this solemn location, where the memorial is established so that all of us, the citizens of the world, can be reminded of the cruelty that mankind exhibits against fellow human beings, and do what we can do in a combined way to not have this occur once again.
After visiting the memorial, Ward headed to the Ministry of Defence where he met and held closed door discussions with Defence Minister Gen James Kabarebe, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga.
Later in the day, Gen Ward paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at Urugwiro Village.
U.S. AFRICOM is responsible for U.S. military operations and military relations with African nations, and has supported the Rwandan army in various ways, including building the capacity of Rwandan peace keepers and enhancing the general military professionalism and development.
Army and Defence Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jill Rutaremara, said that the minister assured Gen. Ward that should the need arise, Rwanda was ready to provide an additional fifth battalion to the four already serving as peacekeepers in Sudan under the AU-UN hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID).