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Statement on the Deaths of Leaders of Rwanda and Burundi

April 07, 1994

I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the tragic deaths of President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda and President Cyprien Nyaryamira of Burundi last night in a plane crash outside Kigali, Rwanda. The two Presidents were returning from a regional summit in Arusha, Tanzania, intended to bring an end to the civil wars that have plagued their two countries for more than three decades.

Both Presidents were seeking means to end the bloodshed in their troubled countries and facilitate a movement toward peace and democracy. Their deaths are a tragic blow to the longsuffering Rwandan and Burundian people.

I am equally horrified that elements of the Rwandan security forces have sought out and murdered Rwandan officials, including the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyimana.

On behalf of the people of the United States, I extend my condolences to the families of the deceased Presidents and the Prime Minister as well as to the peoples of the two nations.

I strongly condemn these actions and I call on all parties to cease any such actions immediately. These tragedies must not derail Rwanda and Burundi from pursuing national reconciliation and democracy.

William J. Clinton, Statement on the Deaths of Leaders of Rwanda and Burundi Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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