Rwandan President Blasts Boutros-Ghali

News and Press Release
Originally published
By TINA SUSMAN Associated Press Writer
YAOUNDE, Cameroon (AP) - Rwanda's president accused U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali today of betraying Africa during Rwanda's genocide and urged leaders to support another African candidate to head the world body.

On the final day of the Organization of African Unity summit, Pasteur Bizimungu said it was Africa's responsibility to oppose Boutros-Ghali.

"He has not delivered," said the Rwandan president, who blames the U.N. chief for not doing enough to stop the 1994 genocide that killed at least half a million people in the Central African country.

Rwanda was the most vocal opponent of a declaration of support Monday for Boutros-Ghali, an Egyptian, by African leaders. The declaration said the leaders wanted to maintain an African as U.N. chief.

The United States says Boutros-Ghali has been too slow to reform the world body and does not deserve a second term. As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. has the power to veto his election when a decision is made in a few months.

The issue has dominated the OAU summit, where Boutros-Ghali has been lobbying for a strong endorsement to isolate the United States.

"Some people have said we should have supported his candidacy because of African solidarity, but African solidarity also means accountability," Rwanda's president said.

"After the genocide started there were more than 2,000 U.N. troops in the country. Instead of using them, instead of asking for international assistance, they withdrew. We don't know why," Bizimungu said. "We find he has betrayed not only those people who were massacred, but he has betrayed the African people."

Ghana, Eritrea and Ethiopia also dissented on Monday's declaration of support.

"This is certainly not a regional endorsement of Boutros-Ghali," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Tuesday.

Bizimungu did not say whom Rwanda supported for the post but said there were plenty of viable African candidates.

Most genocide victims were members of Rwanda's ethnic Tutsi minority, which now dominates the government and military after their victory over the former Hutu leadership.

Throughout the summit, Bizimungu's administration has come under fire for the refugee crisis still plaguing Rwanda's neighbors. About 2 million Rwandans - mostly of them Hutus afraid of reprisals if they go home - are in refugee camps in Zaire and Tanzania.

The annual summit of the 53-member organization was to end later today with the passage of a package of resolutions focusing on Africa's conflicts, social problems and economic woes.

Some of the proposals would threaten Liberia's warlords with a war crimes tribunal; urge lifting of U.N. sanctions against Libya for its refusal to hand over suspects in the 1988 bombing of an American jetliner; and support an African intervention force to help quell Burundi's ethnic violence.