French plan for Rwanda gets cool reception

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The Independent Online
FRENCH and Italian enthusiasm for European intervention in Rwanda is not shared by the other members of the Western European Union defence group (WEU), it emerged at an emergency meeting of the group yesterday in Brussels.

France, which has accused the international community of 'culpable inaction' over the genocide in Rwanda, told the meeting it was ready to send up to 2,000 troops, while Italy announced it was also prepared to send troops. But France's proposal won little support from other WEU members.

Belgium has said it will not send more troops, after the murder of 10 Belgian paratroops. Britain believes that any action in Rwanda must be co-ordinated through the United Nations.

Last night France asked the UN Security Council members to endorse a quick intervention in Rwanda by French-led forces before additional UN troops can be deployed. France's UN ambassador, Jean-Bernard Merimee, told the 15-member body at private consultations that he would introduce a draft resolution shortly. Alain Juppe, the French Foreign Minister, has said the proposed French-led mission would last for two months, until UN reinforcements arrive. 'It is not a political intervention to separate belligerents but to protect civilians,' he said.

The military leader of the rebel Rwanda Patriotic Front rejected French intervention. General Paul Kagame told French journalists in Kigali: 'It is obvious the French are partly responsible for what happened. France trained the (Hutu) militias and the army did not condemn the murderers. If France wants to do what we are doing, it would be better if they allowed us to do it.' The RPF are suspicious of France, which supported former president Juvenal Habyarimana for years.

In Kigali, a Uruguayan soldier serving with the UN was killed by an RPF rebel, who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at his vehicle.

Magazine, page 24

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