Mr President, allow me to once again, welcome you and your delegation to Rwanda.

We are pleased to host you, and we hope that your visit has so far been enjoyable.

Rwanda and Congo enjoy strong bonds of friendship and cooperation.

For the past three years, global shocks have been a constant reminder that we are interconnected.

In this context, the purpose of this visit is to renew our commitment to work as one team, to build our resilience, and recover strongly.

Tonight, we also celebrate the remarkable achievements of our big brother, President Sassou Nguesso, whom I am privileged to award the National Order of Honour.

That honour is known as Agaciro, here in Rwanda.

The same honour recognizes your exceptional leadership and dedication to build a more stable and prosperous Africa.

As Chairperson of the African Union High-Level Committee on Libya, you have carried the burden of attempting to restore peace and security for the people of Libya, to this day.

Your stewardship of this committee, including your numerous engagements as a mediator on the continent, is proof that, with the right mindset, Africa is capable of addressing its own problems.

Your resolve also signals your determination to end the plight of countless Africans, who cross the Mediterranean, under dangerous conditions, to find a new life.

In Rwanda, we know too well the psychological impact of losing everything you own, including your loved ones, and not having a country you can call home.

Mr President, I have to say that all of us leaders, on this continent, must work together and cannot afford to entertain, sometimes, the self-inflicted miseries, just because we can’t do the right things, at the right times, and the right place.

If you look around the continent, you find some crisis that should not be there in the first place. Sometimes, they are also driven by division, hatred. Or sometimes also self-hate becomes part of these crises, also driven by sometimes, what I would call primitive ideologies in modern times.

We’re supposed to be in a modern era, but some practices do not fit the times we are in. So the challenge comes back to us, as the leaders, that we need first and foremost, try to do the best for ourselves, in our country, in our settings, and also do our best together, as brothers and sisters, sometimes as neighbours, but across the continent.

If we did and tried our best, there is no reason we cannot succeed.

Lastly, Mr President, I applaud your tireless efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change on our continent, mainly through your work to protect and preserve the Congo Rainforest Basin.

Mr President, dear brother, this award represents our deepest appreciation, for always putting Africa first, which by extension, advances Rwanda’s priorities.

On behalf of the Government and people of Rwanda, I congratulate you on all your accomplishments.

In that spirit, allow me to offer a toast:

À la bonne santé de Son Excellence le Président  Denis Sassou Nguesso, and to the continued friendship between the people of Rwanda and Congo. And to add, I learnt a bit of French as the music was going on, and it was that: la guerre ce n’est pas bon.