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423 words - February 19, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Rwanda and South Korea (ROK) have been non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) since January 2013. This presence at the most important international institution fostered the development of the two countries' bilateral relations. As important providers of funds and personnel to UN peacekeeping missions respectively, the ROK and Rwanda have learnt to know each other when dealing with security issues in Africa. "Rwanda is happy to have such a good company at UNSC", declared Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo as she was receiving her Korean counterpart Kim Sung Hwan in January.
"Your visit is a sign of friendship which shows that Korea is a true partner and friend of Rwanda. The 50 years of diplomatic relations – established in 1963 – between our two countries have had significant impact on the lives of Rwandans, especially in infrastructure, ICT, education and agriculture," said Ms Mushikiwabo. Indeed, the Korean government has supported a number of Rwanda's projects, such as the Integrated Rural Development Project in Kibeho, the Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre (IPRC) campus at Kicukiro and, the building of the ICT School for National University of Rwanda.
"Rwanda is a priority partner (in Africa). We will continue our cooperation investing more in ICT, agriculture and capacity building and encouraging Korean companies to invest more in Rwanda," Mr Kim replied. The two officials drew the main lines of their cooperation at the international level, not only at the UNSC but also at the World Trade Organization (WTO) where Rwanda has committed to "consider ROK's candidature after Africans." The Korean Foreign Minister then met with President Paul Kagame in Urugwiro and praised the "longstanding and healthy relationship with Rwanda."
On February 12, at the New York-based UN headquarters, Ms Mushikiwabo and Mr Kim signed the Framework Agreement for Development Cooperation which was agreed during the January visit. The aim of this agreement is "to further strengthen cooperation between the two countries with a focus on social and economic development in Rwanda," and under the framework of which "the Korean government will mainly provide training programs to Rwandan nationals in Korea and dispatch experts and volunteers to the Republic of Rwanda for consultations and on-the-spot training."
Over the last five years, the bilateral relations between the two countries have been sharply increasing. Rwanda's diplomatic bureau in Seoul was opened in November 2008 and upgraded to a fully-fledged Embassy in February 2009 while Korea appointed its Head of Mission at ambassadorial level in October 2012.
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