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Boutros Boutros-Ghali

  • Egyptian servant
  • Born November 14, 1922

Boutros Boutros-Ghali (; Coptic: Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ-Ⲅⲁⲗⲓ, Arabic: بطرس بطرس غالي‎ Buṭrus Buṭrus Ghālī, Egyptian Arabic: [ˈbotɾos ˈɣæːli]; 14 November 1922 – 16 February 2016) was an Egyptian politician and diplomat who was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from January 1992 to December 1996. An academic and former Vice Foreign Minister of Egypt, Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN at a time when it dealt with several world crises, including the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide.


A genocide in Africa has not received the same attention that genocide in Europe or genocide in Turkey or genocide in other part of the world. There is still this kind of basic discrimination against the African people and the African problems.




But at the beginning, our definition of the genocide was what happened to Armenia in 1917 or 1919, it's happened to the Jew in Europe, and we were not realizing - In our point of view, they have not the tools to do a genocide.




The change began in Somalia, where we discovered that we were involved in an operation where there was no peace, so there was no more a peacekeeping operation because there was no peace.




The problem is when you are writing something in retrospective, it needs a lot of courage not to change, or you will forget a certain reality, and you will just take in consideration your view today.




We were not realizing that, with just a machete, you can do a genocide.




Rwanda was considered a second-class operation; because it was a small country, we had been able to maintain a kind of status quo. They were negotiating, they'd accepted the new peace project, so we were under the impression that everything would be solved easily.




For us, genocide was the gas chamber - what happened in Germany. We were not able to realize that with the machete you can create a genocide.




I used to say I never talk about my successor, neither about my predecessor.




We got involved in the Rwanda peace process for the simple reason that there was a decision which was taken by the Security Council, because the troops were in Uganda, and we decided to have a military presence.




The fact that you had disruptions in the peace process was not only in Rwanda. We had the same problem in Cambodia, we had the same problem in Mozambique, we had the same problem in Salvador.




The failure of the United Nations - My failure is maybe, in retrospective, that I was not enough aggressive with the members of the Security Council.




But definitely, when a decision is taken, or when you are trying to oppose a decision, you are in a weaker position than the member states, because they know more about the situation than you. We gave information, but they never gave us any information.




When you have an accident, they will save their own people, and those who have worked with you or with the NGOs are left. Unfortunately, this happens always. It is not an excuse at all.




In Yugoslavia, I'd asked for additional forces too. I even went to meet the French prime minister, and I proposed additional forces... Nobody wanted to send troops.




But I believe that the DPKO at this time was very much involved with American administration and was acting, taking on consideration the demand or the recommendation of the American administration. American administration was very powerful.




It was a mistake. I was wrong, but I discovered this many years later. I was acting on the basis of this mandate given me by the most important leaders of the world: President Bush's father, prime minister of France, President Mitterand, the Chinese, everybody.




There is a greater fatigue concerning the African problem today than five or 10 years ago. The situation now in Africa is worse today than it was 10 years ago.




So this is why I'm always say happy that somebody mentions Rwanda, because behind Rwanda, we have Africa.




For President Clinton, according to this discussion I had with him, Rwanda was a marginal problem.




The real problem was not the troops; the real problem was that only the United States had the infrastructure to do the transport of troops with big planes, and then who will pay?



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