"France joins with the Rwandan people to honour the memories of all victims of the genocide," the French presidency said in a statement.
"The Rwandan genocide was one of the worst atrocities of our time. It was committed while the world watched and was unable to prevent it," the statement said.
"We have a duty to do everything possible to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again," it said. "The prevention of genocide has become a central part of France's foreign policy."
France had no representatives at the special ceremony in Kigali today to mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the genocide.
Justice Minister Christiane Taubira decided not to attend after Rwandan President Paul Kagame renewed accusations of French involvement in the genocide.
France’s ambassador to Kigali later had his accreditation to attend the ceremony withdrawn by Rwandan authorities.