US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken met Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Kigalia.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced U.S. human rights concerns in Rwanda on Thursday, during talks with President Paul Kagame in Kigali, the latest stop on his African tour aimed at thwarting terrorism. x27;Russian influence.
He particularly addressed the fate of the hero of Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, who has been serving a 25-year prison sentence for terrorism and has permanent resident status in the United States.
Antony Blinken was speaking during a brief visit to Rwanda, the third and final leg of his African tour after South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This mini-tour, his second in sub-Saharan Africa since taking office, comes shortly after that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who visited Congo-Brazzaville in July, in Egypt, Ethiopia and Uganda.
At a press conference in Kigali on Thursday, Mr. Blinken voiced Washington's serious human rights concerns in Rwanda.
“As I said to President Kagame, we believe that people in all countries should be able to express their opinions without fear of intimidation, imprisonment, violence or any other form of repression.
—Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State
Paul Rusesabagina was arrested in 2020 in Kigali by the Rwandan police who accused him “of having financed and created terrorist groups” determined to overthrow the power in place.
He also underlined the American concerns regarding the lack of fair trial guarantees provided to Paul Rusesabagina.
The family of the latter had precisely indicated in a press release that they hoped that Mr. Blinken would help to put an end to their nightmare and that of their loved one, whose health is deteriorating.
Paul Rusesabagina, 68, was made famous by the movie Hotel Rwanda, released in 2004, which tells how this moderate Hutu who ran the Hôtel des Mille Collines in the Rwandan capital saved more than 1000 people during the genocide of the Tutsis in 1994. In May, Washington estimated that he was unjustly detained by Rwandan justice.
Before the arrival of the Secretary of State, civil society and NGOs had asked for an American position on human rights issue, with Human Rights Watch calling on Mr. Blinken to urgently send a message [in Kigali] that there will be consequences for government repression and abuses in Rwanda and elsewhere. beyond.
Echoing Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire said Mr Blinken must raise the issue of journalists and politicians imprisoned for opposing the government of Paul Kagame .
The US Secretary of State also indicated that he had discussed with Mr. Kagame the issue of alleged support for a rebel group in the DRC, the M23 , a subject he had raised the day before in Kinshasa.
Any support or cooperation with any armed group in eastern DRC endangers local communities and regional stability, and each country in the region must respect the territorial integrity of others, Mr. Blinken.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took the opportunity to visit the Kigali genocide memorial.
According to a report by experts commissioned by the United Nations, and consulted in early August by According to AFP, the Rwandan army has launched military interventions against Congolese armed groups and Congolese Armed Forces positions since November 2021 and until June 2022. Kigali has categorically denied.
The M23 is a former Tutsi-dominated rebellion defeated in 2013, which took up arms again at the end of last year, accusing Kinshasa of not having respected agreements on the demobilization and reintegration of its combatants.
Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting this rebellion, which Rwanda denies.
On Monday, the United United have unveiled an all-out overhaul of their policy in sub-Saharan Africa where they intend to counter the Russian and Chinese presence, and develop including non-military approaches to terrorism.