"We are a small country but not small people" - Kagame
Ambassador Eugène-Richard Gasana, Rwanda's UN envoy has sworn in on Friday as the new State Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, a new portfolio in the government.
President Paul Kagame who officiated the ceremony, wished him success in his new and continued success at the UN where he will remain Rwanda's permanent representative.
The President took the opportunity to underline that the Rwanda which will in January take a rotating seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC), is a new one, very different from the time when the country was in that position the last time, which was in 1994. "Rwanda's position on UNSC is an opportunity to stand for justice, for what is right and show we are a different," Kagame said.
He stressed that Rwandans are not the villains of the Great Lakes region and cannot be made a scapegoat. "It doesn't matter how many times you repeat lies about us, it doesn't make it the truth. We will not accept it. I will not stop speaking the truth because some don't want to hear it."
Kagame said that in the world we live in, facts don't matter, it is the perception that does. "We want to be people who can deal with both. This new Rwanda will not accept to be told what to do by those who believe they are superior to us. We will not be led around like cows; we are not cows, we own cows. We can be poor materially but we are not spiritually and intellectually," the President stressed. "We are a small country but we are not small people."
He further urged Rwandans in general to exercise their responsibility towards the continent, and in the global community, without fear or favor. "Where we can't change things, we will speak up, we must speak up. The truth matters to us," the President remarked.
Kagame concluded that, in his role both at the UN and in Rwanda, Ambassador Eugene Gasana will represent what Rwanda stands for: truth and dignity.
The new Minister of has been in diplomatic service for 18 years; he has served previously as Chargé d'Affaires of the Rwanda embassy in Bonn, Germany (1994-1995) and in Bern, Switzerland the two following years.
Ambassador Gasana was also appointed extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, with concurrent accreditation to Austria, Bulgaria, Russian Federation, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania.
He also served as permanent representative for Rwanda to the UN in Geneva and other multilateral organizations, including the World Trade Organization, WIPO, UNHCR, ITU, WHO.
In July 2009, he was appointed Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a post he holds to date.
Gasana was born on July 2, 1962 in Bujumbura, Burundi. The father of three is a graduate of the University of Applied Sciences of Cologne, where he studied banking and business studies. He holds a masters degree in Business Application from the European Business School in Maastricht, the Netherlands.