Tanzania calls for end to Burundi, Rwanda slaughter.
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By Adam Lusekelo
568 Mots
06 Avril 1994
Reuters News
Anglais
(c) 1994 Reuters Limited

DAR ES SALAAM, April 6 (Reuter) - Tanzania's president called on Wednesday for an end to tribal slaughter in the central African states of Burundi and Rwanda, warning their leaders that without peace their countries were doomed to annihilation.

"Now is the time to say 'no' to a Bosnia on our doorstep. Now is the time to ensure that hostilities are not passed on to the children of Rwanda and Burundi," President Ali Hassan Mwinyi told a one-day summit of African leaders on ways to end tribal bloodshed in the tiny countries.

"Do you really want peace? Or do you want to pass on the legacy of mutual hatred and annihilation?" he asked Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira and Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda, who were grim-faced.

The talks were attended by Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Secretary General Salim Ahmed Salim and representatives of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) guerrilla group, politically deadlocked with Habyarimana.

Tanzania also invited the leaders of Zambia and Zaire to Wednesday's talks but they failed to attend. Tanzanian foreign ministry officials had no explanation for their absence.

On Burundi, Mwinyi said the leaders should look for ways to help it form a truly national army.

"Burundi needs a national army to defend Burundians against external aggression, and not an army to protect a part of the people against another," he said.

Diplomats say wide-ranging reforms are essential in the 13,000-strong army, dominated by Burundi's Tutsi minority and widely seen as largely responsible for clashes with Burundi's Hutu majority.

Mwinyi said the situation in Burundi was still grave. "As neighbours we cannot afford to keep quiet," he added.

Officials said the leaders would try to gauge opinion at the U.N. Security Council on financing an African peacekeeping force for Burundi. Tanzania has contacted the OAU over the proposal.

A week of fighting in the Burundian capital of Bujumbura between troops and mostly Hutu gunmen late last month killed hundreds of people and drove many thousands from their homes.

Tens of thousands of Tutsis and Hutus have been slaughtered since renegade troops killed Burundi's first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye, on October 21 last year in a failed coup.

The United Nations says 375,000 Burundians are registered as refugees in Zaire, Rwanda and Tanzania.

On neighbouring Rwanda, Mwinyi said 11 months of negotiations in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha to end three years of civil war appeared to have been worthless.

"Everything now seems to be a waste. I thought my work would end on the 4th of August last year. It was not to be," he said.

"The so-called stumbling blocks, as allocation of seats (in a transitional parliament and government), are by all accounts matters not worth the shedding a single drop of blood," he said.

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday renewed the mandate for peacekeeping forces for Rwanda for four months but threatened to pull them out unless the terms of the Arusha peace accords were honoured.

Nearly a million Rwandese had been driven from their homes and at least half a million are in danger of starvation.

The establishment of the interim government and parliament have been repeatedly delayed since last December by wrangling between the Tutsi-dominated RPF and the Habyarimana government.

(c) Reuters Limited 1994

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