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Le Conseil de sécurité vient d'autoriser l'opération montée par la France pour une durée de deux mois au Rwanda

Card Number 31737

Masure, Bruno
Boussié, Laurent
Lemaire, Jean-Marie
Flegeau, Gérard
Albin, Bruno
Olliéric, Dorothée
Baechler, Isabelle
Rochot, Philippe
Prédali, Jean-Baptiste
Harrouard, Philippe
22 juin 1994
Time zone
Journal de 20 heures [15:59]
Le Conseil de sécurité vient d'autoriser l'opération montée par la France pour une durée de deux mois au Rwanda
Le représentant à Bruxelles du FPR a trouvé louable cette initiative humanitaire mais n'a pas du tout été convaincu par les explications de la diplomatie française.
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Journal télévisé
- The military intervention in Rwanda should begin tomorrow [June 23] with the engagement of a first detachment of 600 men. The UN Security Council in New York has just given the green light to this temporary operation scheduled for a maximum of two months.
- French military intervention in Rwanda could begin tomorrow [June 23], the United Nations Security Council having just given the green light. On the spot in Kigali, the fighting redoubled in intensity while as a precautionary measure the UN officials decided to evacuate the French-speaking African peacekeepers who were the subject of very serious threats from the RPF rebels, who more than ever consider any French military intervention as a declaration of war.
- Laurent Boussié: "Here in Kigali the tension has gone up a notch. It is now almost palpable, integrated into the omnipresent smell of death in the city. A tension which obviously is due to the French intervention which is being prepared but also to the bombardments this morning and last night. Bombardments which have kept us awake since three o'clock in the morning. From 5 o'clock onwards, to these intensive bombardments were added the sounds of infantry and weapon combat automatic weapons. And it was only around noon that the fighting decreased a little bit in intensity. […] These bombardments and these fights caused new injuries and this afternoon, with English and American journalists, we We went to the Red Cross hospital. So obviously there, it's horror. It's incredible: there are the dead, the survivors, those who are going to die. All that, in an atmosphere end of the world with doctors operating 24 hours a day, bandages and medicines running out. […] It is said that this morning the 80 French-speaking soldiers left, so from Senegal and Togo. It is true that anti-French sentiment is growing. When I went to the Red Cross hospital this afternoon, in a UN armored vehicle with English and American journalists, at one point we were stopped by militiamen who asked if there was French on board. So of course we said no! But the French were wanted. […] The tension is very, very strong. There is still fighting, a little less important than last night but there is still fighting. And then the blue helmets here, those who remain, consider all the solutions. The situation remains very difficult".
- The launch of this French military operation was subject to an official green light from the United Nations Security Council. A vote to this effect has just taken place.
- The Security Council has therefore just authorized the operation set up by France for a period of two months in Rwanda. What has prevented the vote until now comes down to two questions: should France intervene under its own colors with a mandate from the United Nations? Or should she do it while wearing the UN Blue Helmet? That of the United Nations Mission in Rwanda, which is unfortunately currently paralyzed militarily on the ground. France wanted the first solution. The mandate it has just obtained will allow it, if necessary, to use arms to ensure the security and protection of populations. This position was defended by the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Boutros-Ghali, as well as by a majority of the members of the Council. The green light that France has just obtained was granted despite the opposition of those who fear that this intervention will compromise the chances of UN action in Rwanda in the future.
- Even before this Security Council vote, François Léotard had announced this afternoon that the French military intervention could begin tomorrow [June 23]. Baptized "Operation Turquoise", it should mobilize around 2,500 men, 1,500 of whom are already prepositioned in Gabon or Djibouti.
- The United Nations has given the green light: Operation Turquoise could therefore begin tomorrow [June 23]. 200 French soldiers are already in Zaire. They will be 600 tomorrow and 2,500 on June 25. From the point of view of equipment, 500 vehicles and around 40 planes will be sent to Zaire.
- The French contingent will be based near the border, in particular at Goma international airport and to the south in Bukavu. The first incursion would be in the town of Cyangugu, in the south of Rwanda, in an area held by the government where there are some 10,000 Tutsi refugees.
- The Turquoise operation will be limited in time with a term at the end of July. And the objective remains humanitarian: it is not a question of interposition but of protection of civilian populations. However, under Chapter VII of the United Nations, French soldiers may use force to protect refugees.
- Finally, very precise instructions were given to French soldiers to avoid any confrontation with the forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
- 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 neither the intention nor the objective of intervening in the war itself! And I do not see who today can reproach us, in the name of an often failing international community, for ensuring that we save a child. […] From tomorrow morning [June 23] we will prove that the opposite is happening since in the morning we are going to a locality called Cyangugu where, we are told, a certain number of thousands of Tutsi, that is to say people who belong to the same ethnic group as the RPF, are threatened. So tomorrow we will prove both the good faith and the good will that are ours. […] There is no immediate and direct contact with the RPF forces. And we will refuse this contact, that is clear. […] If ever there are attacks against the French forces which act under a UN mandate, they would answer, that's obvious. We are in a chapter of the United Nations charter which means that we have the right to use force if the UN gives it to us. And so if ever there were obstacles that were opposed to the saving of human lives, of course there could be action of force".
- The RPF rebels have said it over and over again: a green light from the UN to France, which has just been given this evening, will amount to a real declaration of war for them. This morning Alain Juppé received for an hour in Paris the representative in Brussels of the Rwandan Patriotic Front who found this humanitarian initiative commendable but was not at all convinced by the explanations of French diplomacy.
- Jacques Bihozagara: "We do not want France to participate in Rwanda as a member of the Blue Helmets. Such an initiative or decision would be contrary to our warning. […] Our objective is not to kill. But if it is an attack, we will certainly respond to it with the means at our disposal. […] We believe that any intervention which is not desired and for which we have not been able to clarify why it was not desired , we consider it an aggression".
- As of yesterday [June 21] the Organization of African Unity affirmed its opposition to this French intervention in Rwanda. Yesterday also about twenty French humanitarian associations also condemned this initiative believing that it would only relaunch the fighting on the spot. Condemnation also from the World Council of Churches and strong reservations from most of our European partners. Many observers and diplomats believe that France is the worst placed country to intervene directly, and this because of its historical bias and its resolute support for the former dictatorship that was in place in Kigali.
- French soldiers in Rwanda, it was in 1990 to evacuate foreigners during the offensive of the Rwandan Patriotic Front. These men nevertheless remained, at the request of President Habyarimana. Two years later they will even be 700 and will not leave until 1993 after the peace agreements. But in the meantime the RPF offensive could be contained by the government army trained by French instructors. There have been military cooperation agreements with Rwanda since 1963. And since 1970, until last April, a mission to assist the Rwandan army was present in Kigali. France has always maintained good relations with President Habyarimana, whose armed forces have been accused on several occasions of having organized massacres among the Tutsi populations, especially in the 1990s. - The Elysée on Sunday [June 19] justified support for President Habyarimana's regime by writing that it was necessary to prevent a military solution from dominating in Rwanda and to contain the RPF offensive. But the facts are there: France is considered partisan in this conflict. Last April it had to promise the Rwandan opposition that it would enter the country only to get out foreigners trapped in the civil war and that it would then withdraw. Only some 5,000 men of the United Nations force, UNAMIR, remained in Rwanda, most of whom have now left the country. A UN soldier even tore his beret in rage: the massacres would continue.
- The situation in Rwanda was at the center this morning of a restricted council meeting at the Elysée after the Council of Ministers. On the occasion of topical questions this afternoon in the Assembly, Edouard Balladur wanted to respond publicly to doubts and suspicions about this intervention project of France in Rwanda. The elected representatives of the majority seem quite divided on the question. The strongest reserves come from the ranks of the RPR. This is how Pierre Messmer, former Minister of the Armed Forces, described this intervention as "ill-founded, ineffective and dangerous".
- The declaration was expected, the solemn tone. And from the beginning of the session of questions to the Assembly, Edouard Balladur specified the framework of the French intervention in Rwanda. Explanations on the conditions pending the green light from the UN and a reminder of the principles. Edouard Balladur: "The government took this decision because it is aware of the responsibilities that weigh on our country, given its status as a permanent member of the Security Council. It also took it because an old and living solidarity united our country to Africa and that he cannot leave the African populations given over to genocide. He took it because all diplomatic and humanitarian recourses having been exhausted, the massacres have not stopped and it is necessary to that at the very least certain States, including France, react".
- In the hemicycle the majority applauded, not the opposition. But in the corridors, if there was a divergence, it was not necessarily right-left. Jacques Baumel: "When we are withdrawn, like the Americans in Somalia, what will happen? It will happen that unfortunately the massacres will resume even more. Then we will have made a return trip, certainly interesting from a media point of view, but not very effective on the future". Pierre Lellouche: "Military intervention is the worst possible solution. But I don't really see what else we can do because if we let anarchy and genocide take hold as the normal means of doing politics in Africa, we will have an explosive situation. And we cannot ignore it, it is in front of us".
- On the left, the Socialists had not applauded the Prime Minister, yet they approve. Jean-Michel Boucheron: "When people die, in Bosnia, everyone finds it normal for there to be French intervention. Why wouldn't it be the same in Africa?".
- Apart from the Communists, it was rather the consensus in the Assembly. With a question: after a time-limited intervention, what will happen in Rwanda?
- France can't go back now. Despite the hostility and criticism in Rwanda, in Africa, in France itself, it must intervene now that the green light from the United Nations has been given. So why ? A political will that responds first to this duty to interfere in the face of the unbearable images of the massacres. As for Bosnia. Except that in Bosnia, the international community followed better than in words. And then somewhere, perhaps France wants to redeem itself from the policy carried out in Rwanda in recent years, which is so much criticized today. It is no coincidence that the Élysée and then the Quai d'Orsay took great care to demonstrate that France's action was above all to help dialogue between enemy brothers and not to take sides with the established power. And then it is finally a question of proving that one does not abandon Africa to its sad fate which is made of wars, economic disasters, famines, AIDS. Even if France seems to have taken some distance with this continent. It must be recognized that between doing nothing and going there with ulterior motives, in particular to stay in Africa, the second solution is the most acceptable.
The 20 o'clock news of France 2 of June 22, 1994 is visible in its entirety here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFrdEMxekNs