Macron apologises for France not heeding warning of Rwandan genocide
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Cape Town - French President Emmanuel Macron honoured the victims of the Rwandan genocide at the Kigali Genocide Memorial on Thursday and asked for forgiveness, but stated that France was not complicit in the atrocities committed in 1994.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame received Macron at the start of a two-day official visit aimed at mending diplomatic ties that have soured between the two nations for the past 20 years, the BBC reported.
Macron reflected on social media on Wednesday that he felt a “deep conviction” that his visit would be a new page in the relationship between France, Rwanda and Africa.
Au moment de décoller pour Kigali, j’ai une conviction profonde : au cours des prochaines heures, nous allons écrire ensemble une page nouvelle de notre relation avec le Rwanda et l’Afrique.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 26, 2021
The first item on the French president’s agenda was to pay his respects to the millions of lives lost during the 1994 Rwandan genocide at the official memorial in the landlocked country’s capital, Kigali.
“France has a role, a history, a political responsibility in Rwanda. She has a duty: to look history in the face and recognise the share of suffering it has inflicted on the Rwandan people by making silence prevail over the examination of the truth for too long,” Macron said in his speech posted to his social media account.
La France a un rôle, une histoire, une responsabilité politique au Rwanda. Elle a un devoir : celui de regarder l’Histoire en face et de reconnaître la part de souffrance qu’elle a infligée au peuple rwandais en faisant trop longtemps prévaloir le silence sur l’examen de vérité. pic.twitter.com/78YU5P6o9X— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) May 27, 2021
Macron denied French complicity in the genocide. However, he still asked for forgiveness from the Rwandan people for not listening to those who flagged of the probability of genocide before the atrocities occurred, the BBC reported.
A report commissioned by the Rwandan government which was released in April 2021 alleges that the French government enabled a foreseeable genocide, Al Jazeera reported at the time.
The 600-page report’s objective was to document France’s involvement in the period of the genocide, as well as prior and after the atrocities.
“The French government was neither blind nor unconscious about the foreseeable genocide,” the report stated, further alleging that the French government attempted to cover up its role and offered protection to the perpetrators of the crimes against humanity.
African News Agency (ANA)