Rwandan Foreign Minister to pay rare visit to South Africa in June

Naledi Pandor (Brendan Croft, Gauteng Foto24)

  • Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta is expected soon in South Africa for an official visit.
  • This follows a meeting between South Africa and the heads of state of Rwanda.
  • Relations between the two countries have been strained.

Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta is expected to visit South Africa for the first time next month, a further step towards the “normalization” of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, told News24 “we are very enthusiastic” about this visit because “we have not had a lot of official contacts at this level”.

She said President Cyril Ramaphosa and Rwandan President Paul Kagame had a one-on-one meeting on the sidelines of this week’s summit on Africa’s recovery from Covid-19 in Paris, and that she had not yet been informed of what they had discussed.

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A video posted to social media of the meeting showed the two heads of state talking and smiling but carefully keeping their distance in accordance with Covid-19 protocols.

Relations between South Africa and Rwanda have been frosty due to the number of Rwandan opposition leaders seeking refuge in South Africa.

Rwanda considers them to be militant dissidents.

The assassination of Rwandan Patriotic Front member Patrick Karegeya in 2013, apparently to the knowledge of the Rwandan government, and the subsequent investigation into his death in South Africa have caused tensions between the two governments.

Ramaphosa, however, began striving to reach Rwanda a month after assuming the presidency in 2018 during a visit to Kigali to attend a special African Union summit.

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