Shared values between Rwanda and the US will help the two countries continue to strengthen their ties, officials have said.
The US Ambassador to Rwanda, Erica J. Barks-Ruggles, while speaking at the event to mark the 240th Anniversary of the American Independence over the weekend, said that both the US and Rwanda find July 4, strongly significant to both countries—hence it could be meaningful coincidence.
“In the US, the 4th of July is an important day; it is symbolic of our independence as it is the day upon which Americans announced that they will no longer be ruled by the colonial power and that we will stand up for our own values, make our own decisions and forge our own future,” she said.
Similarly, July 4, has a huge significance for the people of Rwanda as it is the anniversary for the country’s liberation.
“I think it is important that we share these anniversaries, because it is embodied in our shared values; that all human beings are created equal,” She added.
She said that both countries, through hard work in a sense of shared purpose, “we can bury the ugly history towards justice…and build a better future for all of our children in a shared world of opportunity and responsibility.”
Both countries, she said, have accomplished “much” of which they can be proud of.
US is Rwanda’s largest bilateral development partner, with over $175 million spent just this year, in US-funded programmes to ensure good education, health, economic development and opportunity for Rwandans.
And, the two countries are also working together on growing regional energy, entrepreneurship and economic growth, according to the US envoy.
“This event is, therefore, a gathering of Rwandans and international friends who share our commitment to building a stable peaceful and prosperous Rwanda,” Amb. Barks-Ruggles said during the event, which was also attended by a number of diplomatic envoys accredited to Rwanda, government officials and members of civil society.
Speaking on behalf of the Rwandan government, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jeanine Kambanda, described July 4 as “a happy coincidence” despite the varying timing.
“July 4, is a happy coincidence for the people of the US and Rwanda. Our two nations achieved independence and freedom on this day, although US was more than 200 years before us.
“Although the time difference is striking, the most important thing is the similarities in the spirit of shared principles for our people, the objective of freedom fighters on both sides,” Amb Kambanda noted.
Amb. Kambanda added that, though at some point the two countries may differ in the way they view different contexts of engagements, “both countries share several fundamental values, which are values of humanity.
She noted that, Rwanda is “very grateful” for the US government’s continued support toward the country’s developmental agenda.