UN Authorizes New Mission to Rwanda

THE United Nations Security Council voted May 17 to send more than 5,000 peacekeepers to Rwanda to try to stem ``a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions.''

But the peacekeepers will not be allowed to use force to stop the fighting or to prevent massacres in areas outside their control, and it could take months for member states to contribute the troops and proper military equipment.

The main purpose of the force, according to the UN Resolution, is to protect civilians and relief workers through the establishment of ``secure humanitarian areas.''

Aid workers estimate that 500,000 people have been killed since civil war broke out again April 6, and about 2 million refugees have fled. As the killing continued, the UN called for the immediate dispatch of 500 Ghanaian soldiers to Kigali, the capital. But it is uncertain when they will arrive or whether the proposed all-African force is able to raise the troops and heavy equipment required.

The resolution also slaps an arms embargo on Rwanda and requests a report on investigations of atrocities, which some members hope will uncover the main culprits.

The US supported the resolution reluctantly because of doubts about where troops should be stationed and whether the warring parties had agreed to the UN presence. Christopher in Jericho

UNITED States Secretary of State Warren Christopher met Palestinian leaders in Jericho May 17 in a highly symbolic visit. He was the first world figure to visit the area since the withdrawal of Israeli troops. On the same day, Arab gunmen opposed to the Israel-PLO peace accord opened fire on a car south of Hebron, killing two Israeli settlers and wounding a third.

Israeli Army radio said a caller claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of the radical Islamic group, Hamas, which opposes the peace process.

The shooting followed another confrontation in Hebron May 16 between stone-throwing Palestinians and Jewish settlers. At least 18 Palestinians were wounded when settlers opened fire and soldiers shot into the crowd to disperse the rioters.

At the Erez checkpoint in the Gaza Strip on May 17, Israel signed over control of daily administration of Gaza and the West Bank town of Jericho to Palestinians after 27 years of Israeli rule.

Brig. Dov Gazit and Palestinian negotiator Freij al-Kheiri signed the handover documents in a brief ceremony transferring control of the Israeli-run Civil Administration's 38 departments to the PLO in the two areas.

The Palestinian self-rule authority took responsibility for health, education, environment, infrastructure, and day-to-day administration for the million or so Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and Jericho. France to withdraw from Bosnia

FRANCE plans to withdraw 2,500 of its peacekeepers from the former Yugoslavia by the end of the year unless there is a breakthrough in peace talks, the Foreign Ministry said May 17. The announcement appeared aimed at increasing pressure on negotiators to compromise.

Defense Minister Francois Leotard stated categorically earlier in the day that 2,500 of the 6,800 French peacekeepers in ex-Yugoslavia would be withdrawn by year's end. He said troops would be withdrawn from Krajina, a Serb-controlled region of Croatia, and later from Bihac, a city in northwest Bosnia.

France provides about one-fourth and the largest portion of the United Nations' peacekeeping force of 27,000 soldiers.

On May 11, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe had threatened to withdraw all French troops if a peace plan did not materialize to end the war among Bosnian Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. Mr. Jupps threat was an effort to pressure US, Russian, European, and UN officials to establish a common approach and forge a settlement.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to UN Authorizes New Mission to Rwanda
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today