German envoy leaves Rwanda over 'abusive' comments


 Peter Woeste

Former German Ambassador to Rwanda Peter Woeste (left) shakes hands with President Kagame in Kigali on October 11, 2016 after presenting his credentials. Berlin has recalled the envoy over “inappropriate and abusive” remarks towards Rwanda. PHOTO | URUGWIRO 

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Rwanda says Germany has recalled its envoy to Kigali over “inappropriate and abusive” remarks he made towards the country and President Paul Kagame last year.

Dr Peter Woeste left the country on March 30, three months after the Rwandan government had written to Berlin saying it would no longer work with him.

“He made inappropriate remarks about Rwanda and about our President. We wrote to Germany showing why we could no longer work with him and they decided to recall him. Our relationship with Germany remains strong,” Olivier Nduhungirehe, State Minister for EAC Affairs told The EastAfrican.

Dr Woeste had served for slightly over two years since presenting his credentials in October 2016.

The particular comments that Mr Woeste made could not be substantiated by the time of publishing this story.

However, sources say the comments were made late last year while he was addressing a group of other diplomats and later communicated to the government—which deemed them offensive.

This is the second time a German ambassador to Rwanda has been expelled.

In 2008, Rwanda ordered the then German representative to leave after the arrest of its former chief of protocol, Rose Kabuye at an airport in Frankfurt.

Mrs Kabuye and eight other Rwandan officials had been detained following a 2006 international warrant issued by France for the downing of a plane carrying former President Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994 and his Burundi counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira.

The assassination of the president—a Hutu— is believed to be the flashpoint for the genocide against the Tutsi.

Rwanda on Sunday commemorates the 25th anniversary of the genocide in which at least 800,000 people died.

It is expected to draw several heads of state and dignitaries around the world.

Germany is expected to be represented by its former President, Horst Kohler, while France will be represented by Herve Berville—a Rwandan-born member of parliament in the French National Assembly.

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