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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea to ink cooperation agreement

Presidents Paul Kagame and his visiting Equatorial Guinean counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo will today witness the signing by their respective foreign affairs ministers of a general cooperation agreement, which will mark the beginning of extensive bilateral ties.

President Obiang arrived in Kigali for a two-day state visit yesterday as the two countries look to boost trade, a major step towards enhancing South-South cooperation, officials say.

The agreement will cover a number of sectors, including economy, investment, security, transport, and mutual support in global affairs, according to foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo. A key component of the agreement is set to include frequent flights from Rwanda to Equatorial Guinea operated by RwandAir.

In recent years, RwandAir has increased its presence in West African skies, with flights to such destinations as Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Republic of Congo.

Obiang’s visit comes just weeks after Kagame’s visit to Malabo during which the two leaders agreed to work together more closely to foster bilateral and intra- African ties.

Both Rwanda and Equatorial Guinea are members of the Economic Community of Central African States (Eccas), with the former having rejoined the regional bloc recently.

Minister Mushikiwabo said both countries have mutual benefits in working together both at a bilateral level and on the international scene.

The presidential visit, Minister Mushikiwabo said, is also part of a broader agenda by African leaders to enhance closer ties among their countries, a decision reiterated during last month’s African Union Summit in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.

In particular, the African leaders agreed to spearhead the integration agenda.

Shortly after his arrival, President Obiang visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Gisozi, where he paid tribute to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and condemned the genocidal regime for slaughtering its own people.

“It is a shame that those who were supposed to protect people turned out to be the ones killing them. What happened in this land was inhuman and should be a lesson to everyone in pursuit to fight impunity. Whoever took part in this should face justice,” he said.

The Equatorial Guinean leader also visited the Kigali Special Economic Zone as a way of better understanding Rwanda’s recovery and development efforts.

The two presidents will address a joint news conference at Village Urugwiro today as President Obiang wraps up his visit.

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