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Nicolas Sarkozy Visits Rwanda   
 
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25-Feb-2010  
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French President Nicolas Sarkozy is visiting Rwanda in the first visit of its kind since the 1994 genocide.

The visit is intended to symbolise a commitment by both countries to move on after years of acrimony. Rwanda accuses France of training and arming the Hutu extremists who killed some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus charges denied in Paris.

Mr Sarkozy and Rwandan President Paul Kagame are due to visit a memorial for the victims of the genocide. The two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 2006 over accusations by a French judge that Mr Kagame was involved in the shooting down of the plane carrying former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana the incident that triggered the genocide.
Mr Kagame led the Tutsi rebels who took power and ended the genocide.

He says the plane was shot down by Hutu extremists in order to justify the killings. Ties between France and Rwanda were restored last November, although BBC East Africa correspondent Will Ross says beneath the surface, the rift is likely to continue.

He says it is difficult to patch up such a deep rift, which prompted all French institutions in Rwanda to be shut down, including schools and cultural organisations.Some of these are now being reopened.
Rwanda's official language has even been switched from French to English.

Late last year Rwanda joined the Commonwealth a group almost exclusively made up of former British colonies. Mr Sarkozy will only be in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, for a few hours. It comes amid his tour of French-speaking Africa countries.
 
 
Source: BBC
 
 

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