President Kagame to visit France
The President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame is to visit France
next week to attend the 22nd Conference of Heads of State of Africa and
France taking place in Paris on 20th and 21st February 2003.
This will be President Kagame's first visit to France as Rwandan Head of State.
Speaking on Thursday, President Kagame said, "I was invited to attend the
Summit by President Chirac. The main reason for attending the Summit is to
discuss with France and other African leaders how we can work together to
bring about socio-economic development for the African continent."
President Kagame said Rwanda is keen to discuss with other participants at the
Summit issues of development in the context of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD) and in the context of sustainable development. "The
French have come forward to support NEPAD and sustainable development in
Africa. We would like to bring forward our views and discuss these initiatives,"
On Rwanda's relations with France, President Kagame said, "Whether or not
France chooses to acknowledge its past experience with Rwanda is a matter
for the French to decide. We have never thought that being held hostage by
our past is an option. The past provides good lessons, it has educated us and
we can only build on the experience and the wisdom we have gathered to move
forward and live a better life. We are prepared to move forward with any
partner who wants to move forward with us."
Discussions at the 22nd Africa - France Summit will focus on peace and
security in Africa, Africa's development priorities and global issues like terrorism,
organized crime, the environment and sustainable development.