French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Rwanda on Thursday, hoping to normalize bilateral relations a quarter-century after the 1994 Tutsi genocide.
The French president said last week that he would be “eager to write a new page” between France and Rwanda, two countries whose counterpart Paul Kagame said they “now have the opportunity to establish a good relationship.”
The French presidency said the visit is meant to mark “the final step in the normalization of relations.
Macron will go directly upon his arrival to the Genocide Memorial, located in the Jizouzi district of the capital, and contains the remains of more than 250,000 victims.
He will deliver a speech specifically addressed to the “survivors” of this genocide during which 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority, were killed between April and July 1994.
Several associations are waiting for the president to express, on behalf of France, his “apology” for the role played by Paris between 1990 and 1994.
President Paul Kagame recently stated in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde that “apologies cannot be asked for. They must be sincere. Neither I nor anyone else can ask for an apology.”
To consolidate normalization, the two presidents may agree on the return of a French ambassador to Kigali, where the post has remained vacant since 2015.