Rwanda is 54th member of the Commonwealth

The Government yesterday welcomed Rwanda as the newest member of the Commonwealth.

The African nation, scarred by the 100-day genocide of 1994 which left 800,000 people dead, becomes the 54th member of the association. It was admitted following a meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Trinidad and Tobago. A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We strongly welcome the admittance. Rwanda has made progress towards meeting the Commonwealth's core values in areas of democratic process, rule of law, good governance, protection of human rights and equality of opportunity and economic policies aimed at improving the welfare of the public."

Information Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told the Rwandan daily newspaper New Times: "My government sees this accession as recognition of the tremendous progress this country has made in the last 15 years."

A former colony of Germany and Belgium, Rwanda is only the second country to be admitted without a British colonial past or constitutional link to Britain. Mozambique, which joined the organisation 14 years ago, is the only other Commonwealth member without UK ties.