World Bulletin/News Desk
France said on Saturday it had cancelled plans to attend a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide following accusations of French involvement in the massacre by Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
The African weekly Jeune Afrique quoted Kagame last month as saying in an interview that both France and Belgium had played a "direct role ... in the political preparation of genocide and participation in its execution".
The French Foreign Ministry said France was "surprised by the recent accusations made by the Rwandan president", and that French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, who had been due to travel to the Rwandan capital Kigali on Monday, would no longer attend the commemoration.
"These accusations are in contradiction with the process of dialogue and reconciliation that has gone on for several years between our two countries," the ministry's statement said.
The armed forces of Kagame's Rwandan Patriotic Front defeated government troops in 1994, stopping a three-month wave of bloodletting by ethnic Hutu extremists in which more than 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus were killed.
Before the genocide, France was Rwanda's main Western backer. But in its aftermath, their relations collapsed as Kagame accused France of training and arming the Hutu militias who were the main force behind the slaughter - an accusation Paris always denied.
Latterly he had appeared to drop the issue, however, as France acknowledged mistakes and created a genocide investigation unit as the two countries began to rebuild their relationship.
Last month, a Paris court sentenced a former Rwandan soldier to 25 years in jail for his role in the genocide in the first such trial to be held in France.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini speaks with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov
Russian lawmakers' move came only a day after the Turkish air force shot down a Russian fighter jet for violating its airspace
EU budget for 2016 has more than doubled funding for migration-related measures within 28-member bloc
A bomb killing 12 exploded in the capital of Tunisia on Tuesday near a police car belonging to the Tunisian presidency
Ukraine has banned all Russian airlines from transiting its airspace
Several countries and bodies condemned Tuesday’s deadly attack in Tunis
Pope Francis landed in Kenya's capital Nairobi on the first leg of a landmark trip to Africa
According to eyewitnesses, the embassy premises were hurled with stones, eggs and can of paint
Russian FM reassured that Russia does not plan to 'go to war' with Turkey
Total of 147 heads of state and government will attend the climate summit in Paris next week
Russia has also decided to send a cruiser equipped with air defense system to the shore zone of Latakia, Russian Armed Forces general says
Washington and Paris have both stepped up their fight against ISIL in Syria, with calling for more international cooperation against the extremists
'Europe must say that it can no longer accommodate so many refugees, it is not possible,' PM Valls says
A deadly blast comes days after 21 people died in attack in Malian capital
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has issued a travel warning advising Russians not to visit Turkey in wake of the downing of the Russian jet yesterday.