Rwanda bars France from genocide ceremony
French ambassador to Rwanda banned from attending event amid diplomatic row over France’s role in the 1994 genocide.
The French ambassador to Rwanda has been barred from attending events marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, amid a major diplomatic row surrounding France’s controversial role in the events of 1994.
“Yesterday night the Rwandan foreign ministry telephoned to inform me that I was no longer accredited for the ceremonies,” the French ambassador, Michel Flesch, said on Monday.
The French government initially announced that it was pulling out of the events after President Paul Kagame again accused France, an ally of the Hutu nationalist government prior to the 1994 killings, of aiding the murder of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis.
At the ceremony on Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined Kagame in lighting a torch at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in memory of those killed.
In his speech, Kagame said that 20 years after the genocide, Rwanda continues “to seek the most complete explanation” of the atrocities.
Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations, attended and said genocide is a “devastating reminder that nightmares seemingly beyond imagination can in fact take place.”