The development announced yesterday through joint statement following discussions between Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta and his counterpart of South Africa Dr. Naledi Pandor comes after seven years of tensions.
Rwanda and South Africa have been hit by diplomatic tensions where Rwanda accused South Africa to grant refuge to fugitives intending to threaten Rwanda’s security like Kayumba Nyamwasa who escaped justice and currently heading RNC terror outfit.
In March 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the problem of Rwandans being denied visas to South Africa would soon become history after holding talks with President Paul Kagame. However, up to now, Rwandans still struggle to get visa to travel to South Africa.
Rwanda has at different times explained that actions of convicted people or fugitives should not blur bilateral relations.
During discussions with Dr. Biruta who was on working visit in South Africa, both ministers committed to restore bilateral relations to normal following discussions between President Paul Kagame and Cyril Ramaphosa held at different times.
The statement released yesterday by South Africa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reads that the two ministers met to assess the current state of bilateral relations and iron out challenges.
They recalled good bilateral relations that existed between the two countries prior to events that led to the straining of relations in 2013 and reiterated commitment to bring the situation to normalcy.
“In open and frank discussions, both ministers confirmed their determination and commitment to normalize diplomatic relations as expressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and President Paul Kagame, following bilateral meetings,” reads the statement in part.
The ministers agreed that full cooperation between the two countries in a number of areas and sectors will support increased socio-economic development.
It was agreed that mutual actors and measures would be taken to direct bilaral relations along a new path for the benefit of the Government and people of South Africa and Rwanda.
The ministers agreed on a roadmap that will support the normalization process, predicated on agreed timelines whereby both countries must value and respect international laws and regulations that govern relations between countries including territorial integrity and international sovereignty.
Among others, the meeting agreed on the establishment of a Joint Mechanism led by minister Pando and Biruta, to guide and manage the normalization process.
It is expected that senior officials from both countries will serve as the Technical Committee of the Mechanism. The latter will be required to engage the entire spectrum of issues affecting bilateral relations and report to ministers.
The move follows discussions between both heads of state on 18th May 2021 in France ahead of the Summit on Financing African Economies.