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Rwandan refugees flee to Tanzania on May 30, 1994.

Genocide is not an unexpected storm. It takes shape, gets ready. He calls for an ideology of hatred, propagators and logistics, including weapons. From October 1990, following an attack by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), formed by Tutsi exiles in Uganda, several hundred French soldiers were deployed in Rwanda as part of Operation “Noroît”. At the time, the French government closely followed the situation, which deteriorated over the months. He is fully aware of the massacres and mass arrests of Tutsi civilians which are on the increase, as confirmed by the new archives of the Elysee Palace, to which François Graner, physicist and director of research at CNRS, had access.

A document dated February 6, 1991 proves this. Jacques Pelletier, French Minister for Cooperation, does not hide his anguish. “Mr. President, the situation in Rwanda worries me more and more, he wrote to François Mitterrand, who initialed the document. President Habyarimana does not give the pledges of openness which has been advised to him on several occasions… The government modifications seem to favor hard elements hostile to discussion with the rebels [du FPR]. Mme Habyarimana and his clan [autour de la première dame s’est constitué un cercle politique et financier composé d’extrémistes hutu appelé l’Akazu] took things in hand … If this development continues, I fear that the regime will not be able to hold out for very long. “

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also The fight to open archives on Rwanda enters a decisive phase

At the beginning of 1992, a new wave of violence occurred. Thanks to the French soldiers present there, Paris knows everything, but persists in supporting the regime of Juvénal Habyarimana, close to François Mitterrand. “Interethnic massacres were perpetrated by militias close to the ruling party (…). The presence of our soldiers, which avoids the worst, contributes to the survival of the regime (…). On the other hand, the proximity of our troops to the areas of massacre may raise questions “, underline General Christian Quesnot, Chief of Staff, and Thierry de Beaucé, charge of mission at the Elysee Palace, in a note to the President, April 3, 1992.

« Impasse »

In a report of January 1993, the ambassador in Kigali, Georges Martres, exposes the springs of the African policy of France, marked by an obsession of its space of French-speaking influence, vis-a-vis the English-speaking powers. After October 1990, he writes, “Rwanda was treated as Senegal or Côte d’Ivoire would have been in a similar case. Kigali has normally taken its place on a political, economic, military and cultural axis which goes from Dakar to Djibouti, and on which the African policy of France has been based for the last thirty years ”.

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