KIGALI - FRENCH President Nicolas Sarkozy paid homage to the victims of the genocide against Rwanda's Tutsis during a highly symbolic visit aimed at mending strained relations.
"In the name of the people of France, I pay my respects to the victims of the genocide against the Tutsis," he wrote in the visitors book of the main genocide memorial in the capital Kigali.
Accompanied by Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo yesterday, Sarkozy observed a minute of silence in front of the mass graves where the remains of 250000 victims are buried.
Sarkozy, who arrived moments earlier on the first visit to Rwanda by a French president since the 1994 genocide, then laid a wreath on one of them.
The Tutsi-dominated regime of President Paul Kagame, who has been in power since the end of the genocide, has repeatedly accused France of aiding the genocide, an allegation Paris has always denied. - Sapa-AFP