Pope hosts Rwandan president

Pope Francis (L) poses with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame ahead of a meeting at the Vatican March 20, 2017. PHOTO | AFP 

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has held talks with the head of the Catholic Church in the world, Pope Francis, at the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City.

A Rwanda government press release said the two discussed several aspects of the relationship between Kigali and the Holy See.

"The President commended the church’s contributions to Rwanda’s socio-economic development, particularly in the education and health sectors," read the press release.

Spirit of openness

President Kagame is accompanied by Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

"Today’s meeting was characterised by a spirit of openness and mutual respect,'' the press release quoted Ms Mushikiwabo saying.

"It is a positive step forward in the relationship between Rwanda and the Holy See, based on a frank and shared understanding of Rwanda’s history and the imperative to combat genocide ideology.

Devastating genocide

"It allows us to build a stronger base for restoring harmony between Rwandans and the Catholic Church."

Rwanda has made remarkable recovery and progress since it suffered a devastating genocide in 1994.

The genocide targeting Tutsi and moderate Hutus, claimed an estimated one million lives.

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