US citizens in Rwanda, together with Rwandan government officials and members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Kigali, Tuesday evening, gathered at the US embassy in Kigali to observe the 236th American Day of Independence.
The American independence is marked annually on July 4 but the US Embassy has always marked it a day earlier because it coincides with Rwanda’s Liberation Day.
The event in Kigali was graced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, who stressed that Rwanda is currently enjoying excellent relations with the United States.
“The relations between Rwanda and US have continued to grow over the years and are characterised by mutual respect and dialogue to address existing and emerging issues of common concern and interest,” Mushikiwabo said.
She hailed the US government for its various interventions in Rwanda, especially in the areas of health, governance, poverty reduction programmes as well as direct support to the national budget.
“The United States’ support to the health sector through the Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, the malaria initiatives, and the Intra-Health programme have all greatly increased the life expectancy of Rwandan citizens. We are very grateful for that.”
Mushikiwabo also talked of the US support on the international arena both on the political and economic front.
“The United States has not kept a blind eye to the developments in the Great Lakes region. I appreciate her invaluable role in conflict resolution, peace building, and humanitarian support in the whole peace process in the region and beyond.”
She commended the US for the support rendered to resolve conflicts in the Great Lakes region, especially the assistance provided to the Rwandan peacekeeping contingent in Darfur, Sudan.
Donald W. Koran, the US ambassador to Rwanda, said: “As we celebrate this day, we know that Rwandans share these same ideals that we hold so dear, and with this in common, we are able to come together to do great things.”
“Our presence here in Rwanda is a reflection of the very real value we place on our relationship, and of our mutual desire to collaborate in Rwanda’s continued progress away from the scars of its past into a bright future.”
In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
By Frank Kanyesigye, The New Times