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Macron seeks forgiveness over Rwanda genocide

Rwandan President Paul Kagame waits for the arrival of the French President Emmanuel Macron, to the Presidential Palace in Kigali, on May 27.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame waits for the arrival of the French President Emmanuel Macron, to the Presidential Palace in Kigali, on May 27.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he recognised his country’s role in the Rwandan genocide and hoped for forgiveness at a memorial in Kigali on Thursday, seeking to reset relations after years of Rwandan accusations that France was complicit in the 1994 atrocities.

“Only those who went through that night can perhaps forgive, and in doing so give the gift of forgiveness,” Mr. Macron said at the Gisozi genocide memorial, where more than 2,50,000 victims are buried. Rows of skulls lie there in a mass tomb and the names of the victims are inscribed on a black wall.

“I hereby humbly and with respect stand by your side today, I come to recognise the extent of our responsibilities,” he said.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame welcomed Mr. Macron’s speech, saying at a joint press conference later that “his words were more powerful than an apology”.

Mr. Macron agreed in April to open the Rwanda archives of former President Francois Mitterrand, in office during the genocide.

Later, Rwanda released its own report that found France was aware a genocide was being prepared and bore responsibility for enabling it, continuing in its unwavering support for Rwanda's then President, Juvenal Habyarimana.French President Emmanuel Macron said he recognised his country’s role in the Rwandan genocide and hoped for forgiveness at a memorial in Kigali on Thursday, seeking to reset relations after years of Rwandan accusations that France was complicit in the 1994 atrocities.

“Only those who went through that night can perhaps forgive, and in doing so give the gift of forgiveness,” Mr. Macron said at the Gisozi genocide memorial, where more than 2,50,000 victims are buried. Rows of skulls lie there in a mass tomb and the names of the victims are inscribed on a black wall.

“I hereby humbly and with respect stand by your side today, I come to recognise the extent of our responsibilities,” he said.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame welcomed Mr. Macron’s speech, saying at a joint press conference later that “his words were more powerful than an apology”.

Mr. Macron agreed in April to open the Rwanda archives of former President Francois Mitterrand, in office during the genocide.

Later, Rwanda released its own report that found France was aware a genocide was being prepared and bore responsibility for enabling it, continuing in its unwavering support for Rwanda's then President, Juvenal Habyarimana.


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Printable version | Oct 2, 2022 7:24:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/frances-macron-visits-rwanda-as-relations-improve/article34655809.ece