Macron gives speech in Rwanda,kickstart a new chapter of friendship

Macron gives speech in Rwanda in effort to kickstart a new chapter of friendship

Emmanuel Macron, French President has arrived in Rwanda to kickstart new chapter of friendly relationship after it was shattered by France’s role in Tutsi genocide in 1994. This is said to be a crucial step to normalize relationship between France and Rwanda by addressing Paris role. Macron is first French president to visit Rwanda since 2010. Kigali has accused Paris of being accomplice in massacre of around 800,000 Rwandans, mostly Tutsi. 

Thursday morning President Macron gave the long anticipated speech at the genocide memorial in Kigali, east African country’s capital. Speaking at the memorial site where 25,000 victims of massacre are buried, Macron said though France was not complicit in the grave tragedy, it did make judgmental errors that had drastic consequences. Macron said, “By engaging … in a conflict in which it had no prior experience, France failed to heed the warnings and overestimated its strength.” 

“France did not understand that, in its efforts to prevent a regional conflict or a civil war, it was in fact standing by a genocidal regime. By ignoring the warnings of the most lucid observers, France assumed a terrible responsibility in a chain of events that resulted in the worst possible outcome, even though that was exactly what [France] hoped to avoid,” he added. 

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Between June and August 1994, French troops had led Operation Turquoise, a military-humanitarian intervention. The operation was launched by France under a UN mandate. But experts say that it was actually carried out to support Hutu government that was responsible for the genocide.

In 2010, former French president Nicholas Sarkozy had visited Rwanda and admitted “error of judgement” by France during genocide but fell short of an apology. 

Elysee Palace officials said that Macron’s visit marks “the final stage in the normalization of relations between France and Rwanda”. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda has long accused France for being responsible for the genocide. However, earlier this year he indicated that relations between the two nations are on path of improvement.