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François Mitterrand à l'UNESCO : « Faut-il que des hommes, des femmes, des enfants meurent en direct, devant des caméras de télévision, pour que la communauté internationale s'émeuve ? »

Card Number 29002

Pernaut, Jean-Pierre
Marque, Isabelle
Berrou, Loïck
21 juin 1994
Time zone
Journal de 13 heures
François Mitterrand à l'UNESCO : « Faut-il que des hommes, des femmes, des enfants meurent en direct, devant des caméras de télévision, pour que la communauté internationale s'émeuve ? »
Le président de Médecins du monde a jugé que les Français n'étaient pas les mieux placés pour envoyer des soldats sur place.
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- France is still waiting for a response from the UN to send its soldiers to Rwanda. For now, the reception still seems quite mixed. In the Security Council, consultations will continue.
- The French soldiers are ready: they are waiting in Bangui in the Central African Republic and the operation is called "Turquoise".
- The staff headed by General Lafourcade is still expected in the coming hours as well as the green light from the UN. The bulk of the troops would be made up of naval regiments, a good part of which is usually already pre-positioned in this region.
- This morning in Kigali, the fighting resumed after a few hours of calm. The situation is therefore still very difficult for civilians and especially for the wounded at the Red Cross hospital bombed on Sunday [June 19]. Some humanitarian organizations do not hesitate to denounce the initiatives of the French government. Because the opposition of the RPF rebels to France, which has long been the ally of the Rwandan forces, has serious consequences for humanitarian aid. According to Jean-Louis Machuron of Pharmaciens sans frontières, "It is not by sending French forces, which are intimately involved in this conflict, that we will resolve the problem. […] Everything is called into question. trusts the French more".
- About twenty humanitarian associations - including Pharmaciens sans frontières, but many others such as Médecins du monde, SOS Racisme, Handicap International - are also opposed to the French intervention. "The French government, say these associations, cannot intervene directly. Its past in the country is too heavy. It is unacceptable that France is on the front line. This would trigger situations of guerrilla warfare and explosions throughout the region".
- The Rwandan rebels do not want to hear about this French intervention either. They said they would oppose it by all means. They in fact accuse France of having supported and of continuing to support - by deliveries of arms for example - the Hutus guilty of so many massacres.
- From October 1990 to March 1993, France maintained a contingent which had reached 700 men in Rwanda. Official mission: to protect the French community which numbered 350 people, which makes two paratroopers for one national. In fact, the presence of these professional and well-armed soldiers was enough of a deterrent to stop and prevent any offensive by the Patriotic Front of Rwanda, which was operating from neighboring Uganda.
- The very close links between the African cell of the Elysee and the regime of President Habyarimana, a loan which would have been granted by Crédit Lyonnais in 1992 for the purchase of 18 million francs of weapons for the Rwandan Armed Forces, so many arguments used by the RPF to oppose a return of the French army to Rwanda. Jacques Bihozagara, "Representative F.P.R." : "If they come to occupy the land, if they come without consulting us and if, as it turns out, they come in fact to attack Rwanda, we are ready to defend Rwanda".
- The French soldiers, of course, withdrew to make way for the peacekeepers within the framework of the application of the Arusha agreements signed in August 1993. But 25 of them remained under cooperation to train and supervise the Rwandan army, which is predominantly Hutu. They were evacuated, along with the French ambassador, a few days after the attack which killed President Habyarimana on April 6.
- Jean-Michel Marlaud is back in Kigali today. It will take a lot of diplomacy to convince the Patriotic Front of Rwanda of the good humanitarian faith of the French government.