France says hopes for ‘Irreversible’ reconciliation with Rwanda

Kigali Genocide Memorial. A room that shows photos of the victims,PHOTO/Getty

France said on Friday it hoped the publication of a report about its failings in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 would lead to improved relations with the African country, which have been fraught for decades.

FILE PHOTO: Kigali Genocide Memorial. A room that shows photos of the victims. PHOTO/Getty

“We hope that the report might lead to new developments in our relations with Rwanda (and that) this time the process of rapprochement can be irreversible,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said.

The report said France bore overwhelming responsibilities in the genocide and was “blind” to preparations for the massacres, while adding there was no evidence Paris was complicit in the killings.

The historical commission set up by Macron concluded there had been a “failure” on the part of France under former leader Francois Mitterrand over the genocide that saw around 800,000 people slaughtered, mainly from the ethnic Tutsi minority.

A statement from the French presidency said Macron welcomed the report as marking “considerable progress in the understanding and description of France’s involvement in Rwanda”.

“France will at the same time continue its efforts in the fight against the impunity of those responsible for crimes of genocide,” it added.

Several suspected participants in the massacres including Rwandan officials later fled to France, though only a handful of cases have gone to trial.

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