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November 27, 2023 French

Nicolas Sarkozy : « Il faut que d'urgence tout le monde s'y mette pour que les combats cessent ! »

Card Number 3718

Leenhardt, Étienne
Coste, Patricia
Jasselin, Philippe
Illouz, Jean-Marc
20 juillet 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [4:29]
Nicolas Sarkozy : « Il faut que d'urgence tout le monde s'y mette pour que les combats cessent ! »
Des centaines et des centaines de réfugiés meurent à la frontière entre le Rwanda et le Zaïre.
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- Last night [July 19] we asked one of our special envoys to Rwanda the simplest and at the same time the most complex question: "what can we do to avoid the worst?". Tonight the question is over, the humanitarian catastrophe has begun. Hundreds and hundreds of refugees are dying on the border between Rwanda and Zaire.
- More and more deaths in Goma: over three kilometres, we counted a hundred. Died of exhaustion, disease, dehydration, abandonment. Their shroud: a tied mat for those who still have a family.
- We must dig mass graves. But the volcanic rock outcrops very quickly and you can't go very deep. Here it will be the French army and its bulls who will be solicited. Caritas takes care of another pit. But there is no quicklime in Goma. And it was very hot.
- The risks of epidemics are increasing day by day. 80 cases of cholera would have been identified today. And then there are the dying, exhausted, who no longer accept anything, not even a little water. Death is on the loose among the Rwandan refugees leaving Goma and relief is still arriving only in dribs and drabs.
- Nicolas Sarkozy: "When we see that we are upset! But that's why France acted and intervened. The question we should ask ourselves is 'why are we the only ones?'. Aside from a few of our African friends who have sent men, logistics and equipment, why do you think Prime Minister Edouard Balladur was, a few days ago, pleading before the Security Council to draw the attention of the international community? Everyone must urgently get involved so that the fighting stops! So that humanitarian aid increases! So that the means in men and material can arrive! So that humanitarian associations can intervene! But imagine what these images would be like if there was no security zone? If the French soldiers of Operation Turquoise had not done what they did with a tremendous courage? When you think that there was a beginning of controversy to know if France should intervene. But when we see images like the ones you have just shown, we are revolted! And we say to ourselves: 'But the logic, the honor, the morality, is that the whole of the international community should have intervened on our side'. I don't ask myself the question of the usefulness of France's intervention. But why are we alone?".
- In the face of this tragedy, international aid obviously seems very derisory and yet it has begun to organize itself since the cessation of fighting on the ground. The United States seems to have accepted the idea that it was their duty to commit to bringing relief to the populations.
- Rwanda will have had a hard time climbing like last night [July 19] to the front page of American television, obsessed for several weeks by Haiti and its refugees off the coast of Florida. But last night, on the spot, President Clinton's special envoy for refugees did not mince his words. "I don't think, said Mr. Atwood, that we have seen such a tragedy since the Holocaust".
- According to our information, the White House could quickly send military personnel to the Zaire border to regulate air traffic in Goma and even expand the airport. The American authorities are also considering setting up a powerful refugee radio station to counter the alarmist calls broadcast by supporters of the former Rwandan government.
- In Washington itself, the Rwandan embassy has been officially closed. The ousted government's diplomats have until Friday [July 22] to leave the US capital.
- But the Americans will not go, like the French, to play peacekeepers in Rwanda. They do not recognize any government there for the moment but are in contact with the new authorities in Kigali at the highest level.
The 20 o'clock news of France 2 of June 28, 1994 is visible in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPDzqbctflg