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Rwanda Accuses South Africa of Flouting Relations

by Dan Ngabonziza
3:41 pm

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa during the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Kigali. Together with President Paul Kagame, the two leaders ordered Foreign Affairs Ministers of both countries to work on the normalisation of relations.

Rwanda has accused South Africa of derailing normalization of the current sour relations between the two countries.

In a statement released on Wednesday, December 12, 2018, Rwanda says South Africa’s department of International Relations has remained adamant to cooperate with the Rwandan side, and bent their ear to the country’s detractors.

In March this year on the sidelines of the Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Kigali, Presidents President Paul Kagame and his South African counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered Foreign Affairs Ministers to work on normalization of relations between the two countries.

However, Rwanda says it is still concerned by the way South Africa is handling the process – despite several communication.

“The Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has communicated, through diplomatic channels, serious concerns about consistent attempts by the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation to delay or derail the course of normalization,” part of the statement reads.

In the statement, Rwanda accuses South African department of International relations of among others, “unfounded allegations made against Rwanda in public statements and the media, based on rumours and distortions propagated by Rwandan detractors based in Canada and South Africa, and media platforms associated with them.”

“It is a cause for concern that the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation chooses to believe these groups over the assurances provided by the Government of Rwanda,” the statement adds.

Rwanda and South Africa have had sour relations after South Africa expelled in 2014 three Rwandan diplomats to which Rwanda retaliated by expelling six South African envoys.

In November this year, media reports in South Africa quoted International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s claims that South Africa was in talks with Rwanda to extradite renegade General Kayumba Nyamwasa who lives there.

In a press conference in October this year, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Richard Sezibera denied such talks ever happened.

“There has never been such discussions. Only, presidents of our countries met and agreed that their foreign affairs ministers should meet for normalization of relations. We shall do that, we shall meet, otherwise I don’t know anything about Kayumba Nyamwasa and other people on the run,” Sezibera said.

“There are a number of issues we shall raise with them when we meet. There are issues to discuss between governments, rather than the media.”

Early this week, South Africa’s High Commissioner to Rwanda George Twala was recalled in what South African media reported was a reciprocal of alleged insult on Minister Sisulu.

Meanwhile, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to South Africa Vincent Karega has been summoned to Pretoria, which Rwanda protested.

“The Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also objects to the repeated summons of the Rwandan High Commissioner in Pretoria for reasons unknown to the Government of Rwanda, including articles by obscure tabloids.”

“Relations between the governments and people of the two countries supersede individual likes and dislikes. Bilateral relations between states cannot be contingent to suggested negotiations with subversive and criminal movements led by individuals who have either been convicted of, or are wanted for, criminal activities,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“The Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, reiterates its willingness to continue working with the Government of South Africa on the rapid normalisation of relations through normal diplomatic channels, as agreed by the Heads of State of our respective countries.”