Paris admits Rwanda failings

Foreign minister denies French army bears any "responsibility" for the genocide.

    Kagame  referred to Kouchner as
    "a good friend" [EPA] 
    Kigali has accused Paris of backing Rwanda's majority Hutus, who are blamed for the killings of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus at the time.
     
    The French government denies the charges.
     
    'A good friend'
     
    Kagame, who described Kouchner as "a good friend", told the press conference: "We are looking forward and we want to get rid of the obstacles based on the mistakes of the past."
     
    "We are looking forward and we want to get rid of the obstacles based on the mistakes of
    the past"


    Paul Kagame, Rwanda's president

    Kouchner, the co-founder of the Medecins Sans Frontieres, known in English as Doctors Without Borders, went to Rwanda several times during the genocide to help organise humanitarian aid corridors.
     
    "As I was there, I remember very well. I have never attacked the French army and I would never do so because [the genocide] was not its responsibility," Kouchner said.
     
    "We have to work on history," Kouchner said, speaking in English of France's role in the Rwandan massacres.
     
    "But we have to separate the legal problems and the political problems, the historical problems and the political problems."
     
    Difficult relations
     
    Rwanda severed ties with France in November 2006 when a French judge issued arrest warrants for a number of Kagame's aides over the assassination of Juvenal Habyarimana, the president whose death sparked the genocide.
     
    In October, Kouchner admitted that France had committed "mistakes" in Rwanda, although he denied any French responsibility in the genocide.
     
    Kouchner's stop in Rwanda follows a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he hailed a recent ceasefire between the government and fighters in the eastern part of the country.
     
    He also invited Joseph Kabila, the DRC's president, to Paris for talks in March.
     
    After Rwanda, Kouchner was scheduled to head for Burkina Faso, which is mediating in the peace process in divided Ivory Coast.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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