French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday made a key visit to Rwanda as his country tries to mend relations with the Central African country 27 years after the genocide.
President Macron arrived in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, early on Thursday and is due to hold talks with Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Macro’s visit was important and symbolic, aimed at making “the final step” in the normalisation of Franco-Rwandan relations by finally addressing Paris’s role in the slaughter.
He will visit a memorial to the frenzied 1994 slaughter that left an estimated 800,000 people dead, mainly minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus who tried to protect them from Hutu extremists
Two reports completed in March and in April “re-examined” France’s role in the genocide and helped clear a path for Macron’s visit, the first by a French President in 11 years.
The previous visit, by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010, was the first by a French leader after the 1994 massacre sent relations into a tailspin. Rwanda’s government and genocide survivor organizations often accused France of training and arming militias and former government troops who led the genocide.
France is keen to revive its influence in the East African country.