Paris, 12 September 2011
President Kagame was today received and hosted to a working Luncheon by his host, President Sarkozy of France at the Élysée Palace where the two held talks that focused on strengthening of bilateral ties between their two countries.
According to a statement released by the office of the French President, the two Heads of State reviewed diplomatic and bilateral relations between the two countries with the French government committing to increase bilateral support to Rwanda:
“The President of the Republic received today Mr. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, for a working luncheon on the occasion of the official visit that the latter is currently carrying out in France. This visit follows the one which the President of the Republic carried out in Kigali on February 25, 2010 shortly after the re-establishment of the diplomatic relations between France and Rwanda. It is a new stage in the process of standardization of relations between the two countries, founded on dialogue and mutual respect”.
President Kagame expressed appreciation to the French for showing interest in contributing to Rwanda’s geothermal projects and the exploitation of methane gas in Lake Kivu. In the area of economic cooperation, the French Agency for Development, AFD will increase its support to the country’s Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) through the local banks.
French companies have committed to support SME investments in Rwanda and the government has welcomed the initiative.The two countries also agreed to strengthen cultural ties as they form an important dimension to bilateral cooperation.
Among other things, the two countries will hold student exchange programs on a regular basis while France will continue her support for multilingualism in Rwanda.The French will commence the construction of the new multi-storeyed Franco-Rwanda Cultural Centre by 2012.
President Sarkozy reaffirmed his commitment to continue working with Rwanda on, among other things, legal concerns that exist between France and Rwanda.
During the talks, President Kagame and his French counterpart also discussed regional and international issues, in particular, the consolidation of peace and safety in the Great Lakes Region. The Heads of State also discussed regional economic integration through the East African Community and the big role the African Union has to play in the rebuilding of a new Libya.
Earlier on, President Kagame addressed a conference at the French Institute of Foreign Relations (IFRI). In line with Rwanda’s vision, both engagements were a reflection of Rwanda’s commitment to equal and mutually beneficial partnerships.
Speaking to an audience of over two hundred opinion leaders from a variety of fields at IFRI this morning, President Kagame shared his vision of Africa’s role in the context of global geopolitical changes: “Relations between nations cannot be built on accepting status quo that came at the will of some and without the consent of others…the basis of a new international order should be built on partnership and mutual respect”.