Boutros: Twelve nations to join forces

Rome (Reuter) - Canada was ready to lead a multinational force in Zaire, the United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, said yesterday, adding that he was optimistic progress was being made to end an "intolerable" tragedy. He expected more than 12 countries would make up the Canadian-led force, and hoped the United States would provide logistical support.

He had been in contact with Canada's Prime Minister, Jean Chretien. "I express my gratitude to Canada. Canada has accepted to command these multinational forces ... Canada is a very neutral country."

Mr Boutros-Ghali said South Africa's President, Nelson Mandela, and some European states, including Italy, had also agreed in principle to commit troops to a humanitarian force.

"We are in contact with Canada, Italy, France, Spain and we hope also to have logistical support from the United States." The size of the force had not been decided but Mr Boutros-Ghali said: "People are talking of between 10,000 and 12,000."

Mr Boutros-Ghali said he was confident a Canadian-led force, with African participation, would prove acceptable to Rwanda's Tutsi-led government, which has refused to agree to leadership from Paris. the government says that French troops sent in 1994 to help end the genocide protected Hutus who were blamed for the slaughter.

France has pushed hardest for troops to be sent to Zaire to open humanitarian corridors in order to get food and water to starving Rwandan and Burundian refugees and displaced Zaireans. The French have attacked the US for dragging its feet.

Britain has said that it will take a preliminary decision in the next "couple of days" on whether to contribute personnel to a proposed humanitarian force in Zaire. "It looks likely that there will be an international force and there will be interest here in contributing to it if we can [and] if there is a workable military plan."

Spain's Foreign Minister, Abel Matutes, said that the UN might give a green light within 48 hours to the deployment of a multinational force in Zaire. Spain was prepared to send 300 soldiers to secure humanitarian corridors and would consider whether to send more later.

In Nairobi, Kenya's Foreign Minister, Kalonzo Musyoka, said he planned to visit Zaire's ailing President Mobutu Sese Seko, who is convalescing at his villa in Nice, France, after treatment in Switzerland for prostate cancer.

The Organisation of African Unity's Committee for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution met last Monday in Addis Ababa and said it regretted that the UN Security Council had not deployed a neutral multinational force, as urged by an African summit last week in Nairobi.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor