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Rwanda and France restore diplomatic relations

Genocide memorial site guardian, Danielle Nyirabazungu (pictured in 2004)
Some 800,000 people were killed in Rwanda's genocide in 1994

Rwanda and France have restored diplomatic relations three years after they were broken in a row over responsibility for the 1994 genocide.

Both governments said they had agreed to appoint ambassadors at the end of long negotiations.

The two nations fell out after a French judge said President Paul Kagame helped spark the genocide, and Rwanda accused France of arming the Hutu militias.

On Sunday Rwanda was also admitted to the Commonwealth.

BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says Rwanda seems to be in demand - not only with France and English-speaking nations but also with China.

It is strategically placed next to the mineral rich Democratic Republic of Congo and also has one of the best armies on the continent - a key asset considering it is located in a much troubled region, our correspondent says.

Hutus in France

Rwanda's Foreign Minister Rose Museminali told the BBC's Focus on Africa that Paris and Kigali would look at all the issues which had caused problems between the two governments.

"We have been working with the government of France to normalise our relations, that is what has culminated today," she said.

She added that France should now make an effort to arrest any suspected Hutu militia leaders living in France.

Relations between Paris and Kigali had been poor for several years but were severed in 2006 after a French judge accused Mr Kagame and several senior officials of being behind the 1994 murder of Rwanda's Hutu President Juvenal Habyaremana.

The shooting down of his plane triggered the 1994 genocide where some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered in just 100 days.

The Tutsi-led government of Mr Kagame had already accused France of backing and arming the Hutu government.

The warming of ties with France comes on the same weekend that saw Rwanda join the Commonwealth.

Rwanda, a former colony of Germany and Belgium, is just the second country to be admitted without a British colonial past or constitutional link to Britain.

Mozambique is the only other Commonwealth member without historic UK ties.



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SEE ALSO
Rwanda admitted to Commonwealth
29 Nov 09 |  Africa
Rwanda opts for English teaching
10 Oct 08 |  Africa
Rwanda seeks to join Commonwealth
21 Dec 06 |  Africa
Country profile: Rwanda
04 May 11 |  Country profiles

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