French President Emmanuel Macron says he recognizes his country's role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide.
More than 800,000 minority Tutsis and others died over three months 27 years ago in the attacks led by a group of Hutu militants.
France had close ties with the Hutu-led Rwandan government at the time, with its forces deployed in the African country.
An expert panel commissioned by Macron in March concluded in a report that France had not been complicit but bore a "heavy and overwhelming" responsibility.
On Thursday, Macron said in a speech at a genocide memorial in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, that France had not heeded warnings of imminent violence.
He said France assumed a heavy responsibility in the events that led to the worst outcome, and that with humility and respect, he had come to recognize his country's responsibilities.
The president went on to say only those who got through the night can perhaps forgive and give the gift of forgiveness.
Macron stopped short of offering an apology. But Rwandan President Paul Kagame praised his speech at a joint news conference, saying, "His words were something more valuable than an apology."
Relations between the two countries have been strained for years over France's role in the genocide. The latest development is expected to improve ties.