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Last Updated: Monday, 24 September 2007, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Thaw in Franco-Rwandan relations
Bernard Kouchner, French Foreign Minister
France seems keen to repair relations with Rwanda
The foreign ministers of France and Rwanda have met for the first time since relations broke off in 2006.

France's Bernard Kouchner and his Rwandan counterpart Charles Murigande met for talks at a hotel on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Rwanda severed relations after a French judge implicated President Paul Kagame in the 1994 assassination of Hutu president Juvenal Habyarimana.

The shooting down of Mr Habyarimana's plane sparked the genocide.

Rwanda has repeatedly accused France of supporting the Hutu extremists who perpetrated the genocide and of dragging its feet to cooperate with the investigations that followed the massacres.

In July, France detained two Rwandans - Wenceslas Munyeshyaka, a 49-year-old Catholic priest, and Laurent Bucyibaruta, 62, a former government official - sought by the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda (ICTR) for their alleged roles in the 1994 genocide.

Kigali welcomed the arrests as a sign that France was willing to cooperate more actively with the tribunal since President Nicolas Sarkozy was elected and a new government was sworn in.

Father Munyeshyaka is accused by the ICTR of murdering three young Tutsis in his Holy Family parish in Kigali, of raping four young Tutsi women between April and June 1994 and of calling on the extremist Hutu Interahamwe militia to commit rape.

The ICTR has accused Mr Bucyibaruta of "direct and public incitement to commit genocide".

However last week, a Paris appeals court ordered the release of the two Rwandan suspects, saying the warrants issued by the international tribunal were "invalid".




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