During the press conference during which journalists asked a range of questions, Dr. Biruta underscored Rwanda’s unwavering commitment towards keeping good relations with Uganda.
“We have shown, countless times, that Ugandan citizens are the most welcome in Rwanda and we will do our part to solve the conflict as agreed in the Luanda agreements. Uganda has started showing goodwill as well and released 9 of our citizens but more needs to be done including putting a stop to their support of anti-Rwanda terrorist groups like FDLR and RNC.”
On relations with DRC where recently its former Prime Minister, Adolphe Muzito asked the Congolese government to wage war against Rwanda saying the latter is perpetrating militia violence and using DRC territory as a rear base for attacks, Biruta said the DRC government has distanced itself from the wild allegations and blind utterances.
“DRC government will not be held accountable for that threat since it has denied being in any way affiliated to Muzito. We will maintain our good relations with DRC.”
On Rwanda-South Africa relations, the Minister said that South Africa has expressed willingness to stop Rwanda anti-government groups operating on South African territory.
Major international events highlighted by the Minister
The Minister highlighted major events transcending education, peace-keeping, hosting refugees, economic performance and tracking of genocide fugitives.
In education, the Minister said, Carnegie Mellon University inaugurated its campus in Rwanda in November 2019 and will contribute to addressing the critical shortage of high-quality engineering talent required to accelerate development in Africa as per its objective since its creation in 2011.
On tracking the genocide fugitives, the minister said in December 2019, the Brussels Court of Assize held a hearing for Neretse Fabien, one of the prominent planners of the 1994 genocide against Tutsi, who was found guilty of genocide and war crimes. He was sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment. Minister Biruta commended countries that are constantly combating genocide denial and ensuring tougher sanctions are imposed on genocide criminals.
- From the 25th to the 27th November, 2019, Rwanda hosted the Global Gender Summit organized by the African Development Bank under the theme “Unpacking constraints to gender equality”. The objective of the summit was sharing best practices and catalyze investment to accelerate progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment in Africa and around the world.
- From December 2nd to December 7th, 2019, Rwanda hosted the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (ICASA) which brought together leaders, activists, scientists, researchers, community members, and key populations from across the globe to discuss the role of political leadership, collaboration, and scientific innovation in advancing efforts to end AIDS by 2030.
- On the economic part, Minister Biruta said that Rwanda is on a great economic path and that more strides will be achieved throughout 2020. “Rwanda’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 11.9% due to improvement in the services, industry and construction sectors among others.”
- On November 24th, 2019, a group of 117 Libyan refugees landed in Kigali after the Government of Rwanda accepted to provide them refuge due to political unrest in Libya. Minister Biruta said “We will continue to cater for Libyan refugees. The government of Rwanda in partnership with UNHCR provides them with life-saving assistance, including food, water, medical care, psycho-social support, and accommodation. However, a couple of countries have expressed interest in hosting some of the refugees including Norway which will take in 500 of them and Sweden which already took in charge 7 last December.”
- Recently, IBUKA, the umbrella organization of Genocide survivors’ associations issued a notice to sue Larousse publications about an article in Larousse Junior edition 2020 in which they referred to the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi as a ‘civil war’. About this genocide denial crime, Minister Biruta said that Larousse will respond to the accusations and that France will not be held accountable. “This should be blamed on Larousse and not France.”
Dr. Biruta put emphasis on Rwanda’s commitment on maintaining good relations with other countries despite fallouts that might have occurred in the past. “We are doing well in terms of diplomatic relations. Currently, Rwanda has 36 diplomatic missions, covering more than 147 countries and in 2019, we opened new embassies in Morocco, Qatar, and Ghana.”
The major upcoming event the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will be hosted by Kigali On June 22nd, 2020. It will be held under the theme ‘Delivering A Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’.