Boris Johnson and Prince Charles hold talks on Rwanda | Prince Charles

Boris Johnson will have an awkward meeting with the Prince of Wales in Rwanda after the heir to the throne criticized the government’s policy of sending asylum seekers to the East African country.

The talks will take place at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali this week. Prince Charles has reportedly described the government’s plan to fly 4,000 miles on a one-way ticket as “appalling”.

The meeting between the Prime Minister and Prince Charles will be the first time they have spoken since the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Prayer. Prince Charles’ comments surfaced several days later.

Clarence House said the couple will meet for a “cup of tea and catch up” on Friday morning.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said the meeting would be “informal without a specific agenda”. “They are scheduled to meet, and obviously they will meet each other during the summit, but they are scheduled to have a bilateral discussion as well,” he said.

The first flight carrying people to Rwanda was due to take off last week, but it was halted after a last-minute European Court of Human Rights intervention led to several successful legal challenges. Next month, a Supreme Court hearing is scheduled to consider whether the policy of sending asylum seekers to Rwanda is legal.

This policy is one component of a £120m economic deal with Kigali, and it has been widely criticized. The government has refused to disclose the expected costs of flights, the cost of living for those sent to Rwanda, or the criteria by which they are selected for deportation. There are also deep concerns about Rwanda’s human rights record, including allegations of extrajudicial killings, extradition of political opponents, and a lack of media freedom.

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Rwandan President Paul Kagame has been praised for his role in ending the 1994 genocide in which hundreds of thousands of Tutsis were killed. But he was also accused of mercilessly harassing and kidnapping political opponents.

Among his alleged victims is Paul Rusabagina, a former hotel manager in Kigali, whose efforts to save people in the genocide are chronicled in the film Hotel Rwanda. Rsabagina, a US permanent resident and prominent dissident, was kidnapped while traveling in the Middle East in August 2020 and tricked into boarding a private plane that took him to Rwanda, where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Last month, the US State Department officially announced his unfair arrest.

Prince Charles, who represents the Queen at the summit, arrived in Rwanda on Tuesday. It is not clear what day he will hold talks with Johnson, but he will open the main session of the summit for prime ministers and presidents on Friday.

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