Good afternoon and welcome.

Now that the formal part of this historic State Visit is being successfully concluded, we have a moment to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

I also want to say a few words from the heart.

The growing relationship with China is based as much on mutual respect, as on mutual interests. That is evident, first of all, in your personal commitment to our continent, Mr President.

More generally, China relates to Africa as an equal. We see ourselves as a people on the road to prosperity. China’s actions demonstrate that, Mr President, you see us in the same way.

This is a revolutionary posture in world affairs and it is more precious than money.

Mr President, in your moving letter to Rwandans, published a few days ago, you quoted a Chinese poem about how friends recognise each other, no matter how great the distance.

I was struck by the parallel you drew between the historical suffering our countries have endured, and how those experiences have shaped our respective national characters, and our determination to protect and extend the gains we have made.

If we are able to recognise ourselves in each other, even in our most tragic chapters, it means that we will be firm friends and partners in the best of times as well.

On that note, Mr President and First Lady, and your distinguished delegation, please find the closest glass, preferably filled with a liquid of your choice, and join me in a toast:

To the health of His Excellency, Xi Jinping, and the First Lady and delegation, and to the enduring friendship between the peoples of China, Rwanda, and Africa as a whole.

Thank you and, once again you are most welcome, and please come back in the nearest future.