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Rwandan leader visits France to mend ties

Paul Kagame is in Paris for a two-day visit that aims to rebuild relations damaged by accusations of France's complicity in the 1994 genocide.

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The Rwandan President Paul Kagame arrived in Paris late Sunday on his first visit to France since the 1994 genocide.

He met with President Nicolas Sarkozy Monday morning and, over the course of his visit, is due to meet French business leaders and academics.

During the genocide, about 800,000 Rwandans, mostly members of Kagame's Tutsi ethnic group, were slaughtered by Hutu militias.

In 2008, a Rwandan report concluded France had trained the militias that carried out killings and French troops had taken part in massacres.

It accused 13 politicians and 20 officers by name. Rwanda also accused France of helping Hutu leaders escape justice.

Agence France-Presse said relations two countries have been improving since 2009, when Sarkozy visited the Rwandan capital Kigali to start a reconciliation process.

(Read more on GlobalPost: UN convicts first woman in Rwandan genocide)

Sarkozy acknowledged what he called "a form of blindness" on the part of France for not recognizing what was happening during the genocide.

A group of French MPs is calling on Sarkozy to demand that Rwanda withdraw the accusation.

The French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who was found complicit in the genocide by a Rwandan inquiry, will not be present for the visit.

Juppe, who was also foreign minister in 1994, said he would not shake hands with Kagame until Rwanda withdraws the report, reported Radio France Internationale.

France Turquoise, which represents the French military contingent that intervened in Rwanda in 1994, said Kagame's visit was an insult to the French military.