First, I wish to thank my brother, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, for his gracious toast and for the invitation for this State Visit.

I am greatly honoured by the award of the Grand Croix de la Reconnaissance. I sincerely thank the President and the Government for this distinction. I am also grateful to the Mayor for the key of the City of Bangui and am very happy to be known as an honorary resident of this city.

This occasion marks a new chapter in the bilateral relationship between Rwanda and the Central African Republic. Today, we signed a number of important agreements which put our joint endeavours on solid footing.

This is just the beginning. These agreements should be diligently implemented so we can build on them to achieve even more together in the years ahead.

I also wish to thank the people of Bangui for the very warm welcome that my delegation and I have received. The mindset of hospitality and openness that was felt so strongly today is a precious asset.

Both our countries have endured difficult histories. There is no doubt about it. However, no nation is forever hostage to its past.  There is always a choice that can be made, collectively, to build a future in which every citizen has a sense of dignity and belonging.

For Rwanda, the key factor in our peacebuilding process was a firm commitment to national unity. We endeavour to find solutions to our problems through dialogue and consensus. Politics should bring people together to promote the well-being of everyone, not create divisions.

In Rwanda, we still have much work to do to get our country where we want it to be. National transformation is a long-term process. You just have to stay together and stick with it.

We believe deeply in the effectiveness of intra-African cooperation. The ideas and resources we need can be found right here on our continent. Rwandans were supported on our journey by our brothers and sisters in Africa and beyond.

It is therefore an honour for our country to be able to share our experiences, wherever useful. We also seek to learn from the efforts of others, including the Central African Republic.

In a small but significant way, this kind of practical cooperation gives meaning to the tragedy we went through. Rwanda stands ready to continue accompanying the people of the Central African Republic as you move forward.

I close by commending the President and the people of the Central African Republic for the steps taken thus far toward peace and reconciliation. Africa has a stake in the success of this important country in the very heart of our continent. I therefore ask that you stay the course and meet the important milestones on the road ahead.

May I now ask that you join me in a toast to the health of His Excellency the President and to the prosperity of the peoples of our two countries and our continent.

I thank you.