Rwanda: US keen to prove its concern over refugees' plight: Thinking back to the cost of Somalia, Washington stresses intervention is purely humanitarian
Monday 01 August 1994
As astonished Rwandan refugees looked on from outside the barbed wire perimeter of the airport, the US Secretary of Defence, William Perry, said: 'My heart is torn by the human tragedy that is unfolding here in Goma.' International relief operations aimed at aiding the more than 1 million Rwandans who poured through the town two weeks ago, 'have truly turned the corner', he said.
Mr Perry announced that earlier in the day US military personnel had opened the airport in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to a round-the-clock operation, which would greatly speed delivery of emergency relief supplies to Rwandans in a half dozen UN refugee camps in north eastern Zaire, as well as to Rwandans returning home.
Mr Perry emphasised that the motives behind the US intervention in Rwanda, the first since its military mission in Somalia that cost the lives of 30 Americans, were purely humanitarian. 'We're not in a position to provide peace- keeping support to Rwandan refugees who fear retaliation if they return home. The Pentagon will maintain a security detachment in Kigali to protect US soldiers but not deploy any combat troops in Rwanda' said Mr Perry.
He flew here this afternoon following a half hour meeting in Kigali with the new Rwandan president, Pasteur Eizimungu, and the vice-president and defence minister, Paul Kigame, during which safety for returning Rwandans was discussed.
The US Lieutenant-General Daniel Schroeder also took part in the talks; he said that the Rwandan leaders were told that Washington would welcome their request for assistance in any efforts it undertook to reassure Rwandans in Zaire that their safety would be guaranteed upon returning home. He insisted that the Rwandan government, not the United States, would be the ultimate guarantor of the returnees' safety.
General Schroeder who is heading the US joint task force in Rwanda, refused to set a ceiling on the size of the US military contingent that would be deployed to Rwanda and neighbouring countries to carry out the relief mission; today the numbers surpassed 1,000. Nor would he set a deadline for withdrawal. 'We'll be here as long as it takes,' he said.
While Mr Perry and his entourage were eager to allay concern about the future course of Washington humanitarian intervention in Rwanda, the visiting French Prime Minister, Edouard Balladur, was eager to put the best possible face on his government's own efforts which are due to end on 21 August.
'France has assumed its international responsibility' Mr Balladur proclaimed to reporters. 'France can be trusted.' Paris would continue to provide relief supplies following its scheduled withdrawal of 3,000 French troops and would reconsider those plans only if 'new disorders' broke out.
The US Defence Secretary's visit came amid doubts about the effectiveness of Washington's own aid effort. Since President Bill Clinton ordered his government 10 days ago to implement a 'practical plan of action' for dealing with the outbreak of cholera among Rwandan refugees, the US initiative has been crippled by tentativeness. Although the US delivered two water purification systems to Goma last week to address the refugees' most urgent need, delivery has been crippled by the availability of only nine tanker trucks to transport it.
Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity
- 1 Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
- 3 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 5 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Miss Honduras Maria Jose Alvarado's stylist Luis Alfredo Garcia is found stabbed to death
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler following death of batsman Phil Hughes
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Development Scientist is required to join a ...