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Kigali expels German ambassador

Article published on the 2008-11-11 Latest update 2008-11-12 11:22 TU

 Kagame holds a press conference in Frankfurt(Credit: Reuters)

Kagame holds a press conference in Frankfurt
(Credit: Reuters)

The Rwandan government expelled Germany's ambassador in Kigali on Tuesday and recalled its own ambassador from Berlin, sparking a diplomatic row over Germany's arrest of Rwanda's Protocol Minister, Rose Kabuye, for her role in the 1994 genocide. The African Union also issued a statement on Tuesday, noting its "dismay and concern" regarding Kabuye's arrest, as she was in Germany preparing a state visit, and should have been entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Rosemary Museminali, told RFI that the move to expel the German ambassador does not mean diplomatic ties between the two countries have been cut.

“We asked the German ambassador to leave until these issues are dealt with,” she said. “The embassy is going to remain open. Diplomatic activities between the two countries are going to go on. But indeed, what has happened is a setback in our relations.”

Interview: Rosemary Museminali, Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister

11/11/2008 by Zeenat Hansrod

Relations between the two countries are tense. About 1,000 people gathered in the streets of Kigali on Tuesday for a second day of demonstrations to protest the arrest.

Museminali says that Rwandan President Paul Kagame is disappointed that Germany “could act so arbitrarily about [Kabuye]. The German government should have been able to look at those indictments, been able to see that they hold no value, and therefore not go into that whole business of arresting her. These are politically motivated indictments.”

After Kabuye’s arrest, officials announced that Kigali is considering issuing arrest warrants against 23 French nationals over their role in the country's 1994 genocide.

The Rwandan Justice Ministry released a report in August accusing a number of French officials and military of playing a part in the massacres. It named Prime Minister Edouard Balladur and the late president, Francois Mitterrand, who governed France during the time of the genocide, along with 20 military officials.

Former Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and his then-top aide, Dominique de Villepin, who later became Prime Minister were also named.

In 1994 France launched Operation Turquoise, a mission that Kigali claims was used to aid Hutus who murdered 800,000 minority Tutsis and Hutus who opposed slaughter.

The report alleges that France knew about preparations for the genocide, contributed to the planning, and took part in the killings, a charge the French government has declared "unacceptable".