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April 9, 2024

François Mitterrand decides on Operation Turquoise and proposes that it go as far as Kigali to protect certain sites

Number: 152
Date: 15 juin 1994
Author: Bentégeat, Henri
Title: Conseil restreint
Source: Présidence de la République (France)
Public records: FM
Abstract: Suddenly realizing the seriousness of the situation, François Mitterrand decided on Operation Turquoise at this Restricted Council meeting on June 15, 1994. François Léotard, Minister of Defence, is reluctant. Alain Juppé, Minister of Foreign Affairs, is considering "a more muscular operation if the UNAMIR is slow to deploy". Prime Minister Edouard Balladur agrees that "something needs to be done". It is François Mitterrand who decides: "It is a decision for which I take responsibility". He suggests that "our effort could be limited to the protection of certain sites, hospitals or schools […]. In Kigali itself there would be two or three sites". The honor of France is in question according to him.
Comment: This report contradicts all those who affirm that Mitterrand being ill, which is correct, he was incapable of making a decision. If this decision had been dictated by the horror of the massacres, it would have been taken much earlier. It is clear that it is the rout of government forces that most worries French officials. If it is not in question here, General Quesnot constantly speaks of it in his notes to François Mitterrand.