President Kagame arrived in Addis to attend the 19th Session of the AU Assembly convening from 15-16 July 2012 under the theme "Boosting Intra African Trade."
Upon on his arrival at Addis Abbaba Airport, he was received by Amin Abdulkadir Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism along with Minister Mushikiwabo, Ambassador Nsengimana Joseph and General Karenzi Karake.
With only 10-12% of intra African trade in comparison with 40% of intra North American trade or 63% of intra Western European trade, members of the African Union have gathered in Addis to build upon the commitment of all nations to achieve integration, economic growth and development.
The 19th Session of the AU Assembly also plans to elect the African Union Chairman. The two candidates running for elections are Madam Dlamini Zuma and Jean Ping.
Rwanda has expressed its support for Jean Ping as candidate for the African Union Chairmanship making it clear that although Rwanda has worked closely with the highly qualified Madam Dlamini Zuma during her time as foreign minister of South Africa, Rwanda also values the principle of a large country not taking the top job.
The opening session was marked by speeches from Mr. Jean Ping, the newly elected Senegalese President Macky Sall and representative from Palestine and guest of honor His Royal Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait. Reflecting the spirit of the founders of the African Union, President Sall reminded the audience that Africa has all it needs to succeed and that its strength lays in its unity.
Proceeding the voting session, Kagame held a meeting on the sideline with his counterpart President Kabila before heading over to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region chaired by President Museveni.
The 11 heads of states are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the recommendation made by ICGLR foreign ministers earlier this week.
The latter committed to a renewed focus on strong and decisive action against the FDLR who remain a threat to Rwanda as well as to Rwandophone and other communities in Eastern DRC; and to reinforcing the surveillance on the border between Rwanda and the DRC, supervised by a mutually-agreed third-party.