Rwanda receives Chinese military; eyes Russian missiles

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A Chinese military delegation has visited Rwanda to enhance military cooperation while Rwanda is discussing with Russia the delivery of air defence systems.

According to TASS, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with his Rwandan counterpart Louise Mushikiwabo on 3 June during which the two sides discussed improving military cooperation.
“We indeed have fairly good cooperation in the military and technical sphere. The Rwandan security forces, army and law-enforcement agencies operate our helicopters. There are also Ural vehicles used by the army and the security service and a whole bunch of small arms. Now the deliveries of air defence systems are being discussed,” Lavrov said.

In 2017 an inter-governmental commission for military and technical cooperation was set up between Russia and Rwanda. It held its first session in Kigali in the autumn of 2017. A second session is planned for autumn in Moscow.
“We are content with how our military and technical cooperation is developing and it has a good history and good prospects,” the Russian foreign minister said. “We agreed to continue our cooperation concerning law-enforcement agencies and special services, first of all, in the fight against terrorism, which, unfortunately, has also taken root on the African continent.”

On 4 June, Rwanda received a Chinese military delegation led by Maj Gen Zhang Yingli. The Rwandan Ministry of Defence said the Chinese delegation was warmly welcomed by the Minister of Defence, Gen James Kabarebe, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Patrick Nyamvumba.
“The bilateral discussions reviewed the progress of the ongoing excellent military relation between the two countries and expressed the willingness to enhance it even further. The Minister of Defence emphasised during the discussions that ‘Rwanda and China have always had good relations, so this visit is aimed at discussing ways of strengthening the existing cooperation’. The forces of the two countries maintain good levels of cooperation in terms of training and logistics,” the Ministry of Defence said.

The Chinese Head of Delegation commended Rwanda for its efforts to advance peace and security in Africa through peacekeeping engagements. “This is clearly a common interest for China and Rwanda alike”, Gen Zhang said. For its part, China has recently embraced multinational peacekeeping efforts by sending military and civilian personnel on peacekeeping missions in Africa.