Boutros Boutros-Ghali

Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Boutros Boutros-Ghali
  • Born: November 14, 1922
  • Died: February 16, 2016
  • Nationality: Egyptian
  • Profession: Public Servant









Boutros Boutros-Ghali 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. He was then the first Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie from 16 November 1997 to 31 December 2002.

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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.
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.
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. Time
For President Clinton, according to this discussion I had with him, Rwanda was a marginal problem.
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.
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.
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.
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. War & Peace
So this is why I'm always say happy that somebody mentions Rwanda, because behind Rwanda, we have Africa.
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. War & Peace
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. War & Peace
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. Failure
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.
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?
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.
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. War & Peace
We were not realizing that, with just a machete, you can do a genocide.
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.

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