On September 19, 2023, Rwandan President Paul Kagame gave an exclusive interview to the French publication Jeune Afrique, specifically addressing the deteriorating relations between Rwanda and Belgium. François Soudan, the Editor-in-Chief of Jeune Afrique, conducted the interview.
Kagame spoke at length about the contentious issue surrounding the nomination of Vincent Karega as Rwanda’s ambassador to Belgium. After a prolonged wait, the Belgian authorities suggested Rwanda propose another candidate for the ambassadorial role. Kagame indicated that the reasons provided by Belgium for this rejection were “far from satisfactory,” citing unsubstantiated arguments that lacked any firm basis.
Rwanda insisted on a more detailed explanation and declined to nominate another ambassador. Kagame suspected that the rejection was influenced more by Kinshasa—the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—than by any issues the Belgians had with Karega himself. He pointed out that Karega had previously served as Rwanda’s ambassador to the DRC but was declared persona non grata not because of his own actions, but due to Rwanda’s troubled relationship with the DRC.
In the interview, Kagame confirmed that Rwanda had no intentions of sending another ambassador to Belgium, stating that the issue was not with Karega personally but with Rwanda as a nation. This diplomatic tension seemed to underline the already complex relationship between Rwanda and Belgium, casting a cloud over future interactions between the two countries.