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August 25, 2023 French

François Léotard : « En aucune manière nous n'avons l'intention de nous interposer dans la guerre elle-même ! C'est-à-dire de prendre parti pour l'une ou l'autre des deux parties »

Card Number 31740

Piquet, Laurence
Chevolleau, Florent
Mousset, Benoît
23 juin 1994
Time zone
Journal de 7 heures 30 [3:23]
François Léotard : « En aucune manière nous n'avons l'intention de nous interposer dans la guerre elle-même ! C'est-à-dire de prendre parti pour l'une ou l'autre des deux parties »
Un « oui » du bout des lèvres, hier [22 juin] au Conseil de sécurité, pour l'intervention militaire française au Rwanda.
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- After weeks of massacres and after many discussions in New York, the United Nations gives the green light to France: Paris will intervene today in Rwanda. An operation that is not unanimous, far from it.
- A lip service to "yes" yesterday [June 22] at the Security Council for the French military intervention in Rwanda: 10 votes in favour, but above all five abstentions. One of the closest results at the UN for a peacekeeping intervention.
- In the minds of many diplomats the bogging down of blue helmets in Somalia is still very present. So be careful, France's mandate is only humanitarian and limited to two months.
- The fiercest opponent of this operation remains the Rwandan Patriotic Front: "It is an act of aggression, an invasion that will be fought with arms" affirmed its representatives.
- Several humanitarian organizations present on the ground are also reluctant. International Action against Hunger believes that France is not the best placed country to intervene because of its past. An analysis shared by Pharmaciens sans frontières and the International Federation for Human Rights. In this chorus of reservations, only Doctors Without Borders welcomes an intervention that it has been calling for for a week.
- Before the National Assembly, Edouard Balladur wanted to clarify yesterday [June 22] the reasons for the government's decision to intervene in Rwanda. Edouard Balladur: "All diplomatic and humanitarian remedies having been exhausted, the massacres have not stopped. At the very least, certain States, including France, must react".
- The vast majority of MPs agreed with the Prime Minister's arguments. For many it is a matter of honor. Only the Communist Party declared itself frankly hostile to Operation Turquoise.
- There are still some uncertainties about the terms of this operation. As of this morning, a first contingent of French soldiers should be hard at work on the border of Rwanda and Zaire. Already installed at the Rwandan border, these French soldiers will be the first to go into action this morning. Their mission: to rescue 8,000 Tutsi currently threatened by Hutu government militias. 600 men for the moment, others later.
- From the Zairian base of Bukavu they will enter Rwanda, heading for Cyangugu a few kilometers away in the south-west of the country. Gradually over the next few days the operation will develop according to the same pattern. The French contingent will then reach 2,500 men, 1,000 will come from France.
- Command of Operation Turquoise has been entrusted to General Jean-Claude Lafourcade. It will have 500 vehicles, cargo planes and helicopters to carry out occasional logistics missions as small as possible.
- Edouard Balladur underlined yesterday [June 22] in the Assembly the strictly humanitarian purpose of this operation. The Minister of Defense too. François Léotard: "I remind you that our objective is humanitarian: to save people as soon as possible. Children, the elderly, civilians, religious people, people whose lives are threatened. In no way do we have the neither the intention nor the objective to intervene in the war itself! That is to say, to take sides with one or the other of the two parties".
- Operation Turquoise will be limited in time. Objective: to give way as soon as possible, perhaps as early as the end of July.