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Rwanda and Spain discuss genocide warrants

KIGALI, Oct 17 – A senior Spanish diplomat travelled to Kigali to discuss arrest warrants that were issued last year by the Spanish judiciary against Rwandan officials and soured bilateral relations, radio said on Saturday.

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Angel Lossada met Friday with Rwandan Prime Minister Bernard Mazuka to discuss the warrants issued by a Spanish judge against 40 Rwandan army officers for genocide and crimes against humanity.

"It’s a political case and we cannot accept that. The judge has never carried out any investigation in Rwanda," Makuza told state-run Radio Rwanda.

The New Times newspaper also said that Lossada had held talks on the issue with Foreign Minister Rosemary Museminali and Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama.

"I will not comment because it is not in our practice to comment on particular actions by the judiciary," the daily quoted him as saying.

Museminali said nevertheless that her government was prepared to continue attempts at improving ties between Rwanda and Spain, which have been frosty since the February 2008 warrants.

"It is important that the Spanish government pronounces itself on this dossier," she told the newspaper. "We are still open to work with Spain."

Spain had announced last year it would prosecute 40 Rwandan army officers for genocide, crimes against humanity and terrorism related to events that took place between 1994 and 2000, including under the current President Paul Kagame.

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Kagame’s then rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front in July 1994 put an end to the 100-day slaughter of at least 800,000 people, mostly from the Tutsi minority, by Hutu extremist militias and government troops.

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