Author-card of document number 9456

Field Value
Date Thursday July 7, 1994
Author Kiley, Sam
File RwandanRebelsToHonourSafeZoneTimes7July1994.pdf
TitleRwandan Rebels Vow To Honour `safe Zone'
SubtitleFrom Sam Kiley in Gikongoro.
KeywordAccord France-FPR
Newspaper/SourceThe Times
Public records 
CitationFRANCE and the Rwandan Patriotic Front agreed yesterday that French
troops can police a refugee zone in the country's southwest. At the
same time the RPF declared itself the legitimate government of Rwanda.

In claiming legitimacy, the Tutsi-dominated RPF promised that the new
government would be headed by a Hutu Prime Minister. Its spokesman at
the United Nations in New York said he was expected to be Faustin
Twagiramungu, who narrowly escaped assassination by Hutu death squads.
He was to become the Prime Minister of a coalition transitional
government under last year's Arusha peace accord, but could not take
office because of hardline Hutu opposition.

The RPF government is certain to be quickly backed by Paris, whose
forces earlier this week came very close to having to stop its troops
with force. Other Western powers may delay recognition for some time.

What remains of the National Revolutionary Democratic Movement
government, whose army has been destroyed by the rebels, is to be found
in the Meridien Hotel in Gisenyi, near the border with Zaire, to which
they are expected soon to flee.

Paris has now abandoned any attempt to back the vanquished Hutu regime,
whose troops it had armed and trained since the rebels first invaded
from Uganda in 1990. The French government will be able to maintain
both its powerful influence over the new RPF government and its
position as the pre-eminent foreign power in central Africa.

Part of the deal to allow a safe zone, French military sources said in
Gikongoro yesterday, was that the RPF would cease its advance in the
area. At the same time, the sources said, the French would quietly
withdraw from the north, where the government-held town of Ruhengeri
has been surrounded by the RPF.

The French mission to Rwanda will now concentrate on stemming the
destabilising flood of refugees from the fighting into neighbouring
states, which are themselves on the verge of collapse. Of particular
concern are Burundi, the scene of tribal massacres in which 100,000
people died last year, and Zaire, where central government has
collapsed. At least 1.5m Rwandans are already living in camps in
Tanzania, Zaire and Burundi. The rebel advance in the southwest would
have driven more than a million more across the borders. The rebels
yesterday stopped their advance on Gikongoro about five miles from the
town centre, which has been ringed with French troops. News that the
rebels would come no closer immediately eased tension.

France's next task under its deal with the RPF will be to disarm the
fallen government's militiamen, who have been responsible for much of
the genocide in Rwanda. The RPF has insisted that only regular army
troops may carry weapons in the former government's territory, and
behind the French cordon sanitaire. The French began to honour this
undertaking yesterday by arresting several hundred members of the
notorious interahamwe those who kill together.

We expect to stay here in a policing role until the United Nations can
replace us. This is an excellent outcome to what looked like a nasty
situation earlier in the week,
a senior French officer said yesterday.
TypeArticle de journal

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