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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Excerpts: Kagame marks genocide
The following are excerpts from a speech by Rwandan President Paul Kagame at a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the genocide which killed about 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus .

He was speaking at the packed national stadium in the capital, Kigali.

Today we mark the 10th anniversary of genocide in our country.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame (L) and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (R)
Kagame repeated his accusation that France trained Hutu militias
Ten long agonising years now separate us from those days which turned day into night, life into death.

It is a day we remember systematic slaughter of over a million of our innocent fellow Rwandans, an orgy of bloodletting unprecedented in the history of our nation...

Ten years on, the survivors of these gruesome crimes still suffer in silence.

There has been dual survival. Survival of the ordeal and survival of the aftermath of the genocide.

A decade has done little to alleviate the anguish.

'Primary responsibility'

I want to pay tribute to the survivors, for they are the real heroes, not the so-called peacekeepers, who fled when their duty called them to act.

We cannot turn the clock back nor can we undo the harm caused, but we have the power to determine the future and to ensure that what happened never happens again...

I wish to make it abundantly clear that we Rwandans take primary responsibility for what happened 10 years ago.

And I stand here in the name of the Rwandan government and the people of this country and apologise in their name...

International role

The UK sponsored the resolution at the UN Security Council to withdraw the small UN peacekeeping force that was here.

Then you had the Belgians withdrawing their forces at the peak of the killings, leaving the victims to be slaughtered.

Nonetheless, these people I have mentioned who failed, should not have failed, and have had the decency to apologise and we accepted their apologies...

As for the French, their role in what happened in Rwanda is self-evident...

They knowingly trained and paid government soldiers and militia who were going to commit genocide and they knew they would commit genocide...

French warning

In 1992, I was invited to go to France, I was told this was in efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the problems here in Rwanda.

And officials that I met were senior officials, who told me very clearly, very openly, that if the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) did not stop fighting, if we continue making advances into Rwanda, that we should bear in mind that we shall find none of our relatives alive...

There are people who hide behind diplomacy.

I am not going to use diplomacy on this issue myself.

I have heard friends, very good friends of Rwanda come to me and advise me, I know they mean well, to advise me that when I am talking about powerful countries, I should be careful.

I am not going to be careful...

I said to them when I am looking in their faces, I will tell them that what happened here 10 years ago is not going to happen again come what may.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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