Kigali, 13 June 2013

President Kagame today received in his office the Belgian Minister for Public Enterprises and Development Cooperation, Jean Pascal Labille who has been in the country for a three-day visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations between Rwanda and Belgium.

After the meeting, the Belgian Minister said he was in the country to look at how to boost relations between Belgium and Rwanda because his country considers Rwanda a key partner in the region:

“During my meeting with the President we talked about regional problems and possible solutions and many other things related to our partnership. We consider Rwanda our main partner in development cooperation in the region and we are impressed by what Rwanda is doing and as it is, Rwanda is one of a few countries that will achieve most of the MDGs.”

Commenting on the issue of Congo and President Kikwete’s suggestion that Rwanda should consider negotiating with FDLR, the Belgian Minister for Public Enterprises and Development Cooperation said:

“We have to be careful when dealing with the crisis in Congo if we have to find a solution. I am not quite sure about the context in which the President made the comments about negotiations with FDLR, but I believe that we cannot demand Rwanda to negotiate with genocidaires when the country is still recovering from genocide. It’s a provocation more than it is a suggestion for a solution.”

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mary Baine said:

“Rwanda considers Belgium a strategic partner and they are involved in different development projects, most of which are key to our development. In principal, Belgium is fulfilling their cooperation partnership agreement especially in the areas of health, decentralization and capacity building.”

During his stay in the country, Minister Jean Pascal Labille also visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi, as well as Gatenga health center which is being constructed in Kicukiro with the support of the Belgian cooperation. With the Rwanda Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Claver Gatete, the Belgian Minister of Cooperation signed an agreement of €15 million support in a direct bilateral cooperation.