French President Emmanuel Macron has asked Rwandans to forgive France for its role in the 1994 Rwandan genocide
Macron was speaking at the genocide memorial in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on Thursday
He is the first French leader since 2010 to visit the East African nation which has long accused France of complicity in the killing of some 800,000 mostly Tutsi Rwandans.
In a statement, Macron said France “was not complicit” in the genocide.
“But France has a role, a story and a political responsibility to Rwanda. She has a duty: to face history head-on and recognise the suffering she has inflicted on the Rwandan people by too long valuing silence over the examination of the truth”.
While some had been hoping for a full apology, Macron’s comments went further than his predecessors and he said that only those who had survived the horrors “can maybe forgive, give us the gift of forgiveness.”
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Macron’s words were something more valuable than an apology calling it “an act of tremendous courage”.