Saturday, May 14, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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U.N. Delays Decision On Rwanda


UNITED NATIONS - A Security Council vote to send African troops to Rwanda was delayed yesterday because of differences over the soldiers' mission.

The U.S. delegation wanted more time to study a report by the U.N. secretary-general on where the troops would be deployed, who would be involved, whether appropriate military equipment would be available and how much it would cost.

Other Security Council members also wanted more time to study the mission's outline before a vote.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Washington had no objection to a mission to help save lives, but wanted a more realistic operation. He said Pentagon officials would arrive next week to explain the American view.

U.S. guidelines for peacekeeping, which President Clinton approved May 3, seek to limit U.N. peacekeeping operations in time and cost and clearly define their goals in advance.

The 15-nation council postponed a vote on a resolution that would have authorized Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to send 5,500 troops from Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria and possibly other countries to Rwanda.

They would be allowed to use force to protect civilians and relief workers in "secure humanitarian areas" and to guard relief supplies.

The current 444-member U.N. peacekeeping force in Rwanda is largely concentrated in the capital, Kigali. It has not been asked to stop the fighting by force, nor is it equipped to.

A vote on the resolution was not expected before Monday.

In sending peacekeepers to an area where a cease-fire is not in place, the Security Council risks problems that have plagued similar operations in Bosnia and Somalia. In those countries peacekeepers were not provided in sufficient number or with the appropriate firepower or authority to stop the fighting.

In a report to the Security Council, Boutros-Ghali suggested airlifting at least 5,500 troops and their equipment into Kigali, then spreading them out to ensure the safety of refugees and delivery of humanitarian aid for six months. He said it would take at least two months to send everything in and would cost $115 million for six months.

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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