Macron to pay official visit to Kigali

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Paul Kagame and Emmanuel Macron at the VivaTech trade fair, in Paris, in May 2018 © Michel Euler / AP / SIPA

French President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit Rwanda in the coming weeks.

French President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to pay an official visit to Kigali between April and May, during the highly symbolic period commemorating the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda. However, this trip remains dependent on the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Diplomatic rapprochement

Since taking office in May 2017, the French president has started a diplomatic rapprochement with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame. A thaw began after several years of tension, in part due to an investigation into the attack on President Juvénal Habyarimana’s plane for which French judges issued a dismissal decision in July 2019. France did not no ambassador in Kigali since Michel Flesch’s resignation in 2015 The post is currently occupied by President Macron’s charge d’affaires, Jérémie Blin.

The French president is expected to pay his visit before May 18, when Paris plans to hold its summit on investment in Africa. Around ten heads of state were invited, including President Kagame, who actively participated in the organization of this event.

A report in early April

Macron will therefore be the first French head of state to visit Rwanda since Visit of Nicolas Sarkozy in February 2010 and first – if he travels as planned between April and May – to visit Kigali during the period of commemoration of the Tutsi genocide.

Invited by the Rwandan authorities in April 2019, Macron had sent deputy Hervé Berville to represent him. The French president nevertheless announced that a commission would be created to investigate the controversial role of France during the genocide.

Led by historian Vincent Duclert, the commission is due to submit its final report in early April. According to our sources at the Élysée, its conclusions are not likely to call into question this official trip.


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