The prime minister called opponents of Rwanda’s asylum seekers’ scheme “ridiculous.”


O’Reilly Johnson has called opponents of his plan to send asylum seekers to Rwanda “ridiculous” before talks with the critically acclaimed Prince of Wales.

The prime minister defended the failed flagship policy after getting ready to fly to Kigali, where he would meet Charles to discuss a cup of tea.

The heir to the throne is said to have raised widespread criticism of the project, which was affected by legal issues, calling it “terrible” in private comments.

Mr Johnson will join the Prince in the Rwandan capital on Thursday, where he is attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

Gashura Refugee Camp Transit Center, south of Kigali (Victoria Jones / PA) / PA Wire

But the prime minister is planning to refrain from visiting his residence in Kigali, where immigrants from unauthorized sources will be deported.

The prime minister is expected to meet Charles for a cup of tea on Friday morning, but Mr Johnson is not keen on expanding the policy of expelling immigrants who come on unilateral tickets from unauthorized sources. ۔

The meeting between Mr Johnson and the prince will be the first time they have spoken since the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee service and after reports of “terrible” comments.

Speaking to reporters as he prepared to leave for Kagali, Mr Johnson said the trip was “an opportunity for all of us to understand for ourselves what this partnership has to offer”.

“Let’s hope that perhaps others will help them soften some of their soft-spoken attitude towards Rwanda and how this partnership can work,” he added.

Asked if he would tell the prince that he was wrong, Mr Johnson said: “I have no evidence of the claim you have made about the prince’s comments. I cannot confirm that. ۔

“All I can say is that this policy is sensible, measurable and a plan to deal with the abuse of innocent people crossing the channel.”

Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Stephen Russo / PA) / PA Archives

He insisted he was “looking forward to seeing Charles”, but would not say whether he would increase policy with him.

Despite this being Mr. Johnson’s first visit to the nation in his tenure at No. 10, he does not intend to visit any of the residences reserved for the scheme.

His spokesman said: “You know that the prime minister’s time is always limited and in order to do that he has to leave out the elements of the program under which he can work with a unique set of world leaders on very important issues. Are doing. “

“We believe that the best use of our time in Rwanda for this short period is to dedicate ourselves to some of the issues that will be raised at the summit and to work on these issues with other world leaders.” The ones we’ve talked about, at least not Ukraine and global security.

The first flight to Rwanda was scheduled to take off last week, but was canceled due to successful legal challenges before a full hearing on the legal status of the scheme in UK courts.

The policy is part of a £ 120 million economic agreement with Kagali, but has been widely criticized for concerns over Rwanda’s human rights record.

Mr Johnson noted that despite the agreement being signed two months ago, he would arrive before any refugees arrived.

“I am aware that I am arriving before anyone who has traveled illegally across the Channel. I cannot hide this fact from you – there it is – but it is still the case that the UK No court and no international court has ruled on our plan. Illegal, “he said.

But Mr Johnson said he would “no doubt” discuss the plans with Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday.

(PA) / PA Wire

Mr Kagame has been praised for his role in ending the 1994 genocide in which ethnic Houthi extremists killed nearly 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Houthis during the 100-day civil war.

But since then, his government has been accused of political repression, alleged murder and imprisonment of critics.

Steve Valdez Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Director of Refugees and Immigrants’ Rights, said: Effective support.

“No country should impose its asylum responsibilities on another, which is even less so for a country like Rwanda, which has a disturbing human rights record with its current, large-scale asylum responsibilities.

“The UK should use its influence and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to encourage meaningful progress in human rights in Rwanda, not to look for excuses and potentially disturbing Rwandan human rights.” Should be added to the record. “

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said he was expected to raise “human rights issues” as he had done in the past.

“We want Rwanda to uphold and uphold the values ​​of the Commonwealth, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights. We want appropriate action for all those detained and for the rule of law. We want fair and transparent application. “

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are already in Rwanda (Arthur Edwards / The Sun) / PA Wire

The prime minister’s wife, Kerry Johnson, will accompany him to the summit and is expected to attend a partnership program.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will also be there, as Alok Sharma will chair the Cop26 Climate Summit.

Charles is representing the Queen at the summit as head of the Commonwealth, which is usually held every two years but was postponed due to the corona virus epidemic.

The prime minister also wants to use the 54-nation summit, most of them former British colonies, to address food and energy insecurity caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Commonwealth countries are on the front lines for many of these issues, from climate change to rising food prices,” the spokesman said.

Green economic growth, boosting girls’ education and working with the Commonwealth to boost trade and job creation for UK businesses are also among the top 10 priorities.

Charles is representing the Queen at the summit as head of the Commonwealth, which is usually held every two years but was postponed due to the corona virus epidemic.

It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

Another aspect of the Chougam program is the selection of the next Secretary General.

Mr Johnson is currently opposed to Labor Peer Baroness Scotland, and instead is backing Jamaica’s Camina Johnson Smith.