- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CORRECTION: The original version of this story has been corrected. The Washington Times stated incorrectly that the 1994 Rwandan genocide occurred in 2004. KIGALI, RWANDA — President Bush’s visit yesterday to a Rwandan genocide memorial shook him to his “very foundation,” and he called on the international community to act decisively in Kenya to prevent anything similar from happening.

Mr. Bush also said at a press conference here that the resignation of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro “should be the beginning of [a] democratic transition” in Cuba.

Mr. Bush and first lady Laura Bush visited a museum that documents the tribe-on-tribe slaughter of about 1 million Rwandans during three months in 1994, and spoke afterwards of the “horrors that took place here.”

“This is a moving place that can’t help but shake your emotions to your very foundation,” Mr. Bush said outside to reporters.

“You can’t help but walk in there and recognize that evil does exist, and in this case in such brutal form,” Mr. Bush said later at a press conference with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, who led the rebel forces that ended the genocide.

“We’re obviously trying to prevent such a crisis from happening in Kenya,” Mr. Bush said.

More than 1,000 people in Kenya have been killed in tribal fighting since a contested election in late December.

“I’m not suggesting that anything close to what happened here is going to happen in Kenya,” Mr. Bush said. “But I am suggesting that there are some warning signs that the international community needs to pay attention to.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to Kenya Monday to meet with the leaders of the warring factions, who are in talks being mediated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Mr. Bush repeated his stance that the U.S. fully supports Mr. Annan’s mediation.

But the president also criticized the United Nations for its slowness in sending sufficient peacekeepers to stop the current genocide in Darfur, where about 400,000 people have been killed over the last several years.

In the afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Bush dedicated the new U.S. Embassy in Kigali. Earlier in the day, Mr. Bush said that recognizing the fledgling Republic of Kosovo is “the right thing to do” because it “will bring peace.”

He also said his government had been in close contact with Moscow about Kosovo’s separation from Serbia, a close Russian ally.

Mr. Bush spent the day in Rwanda and flew to Ghana last night. He returns home from his five-country tour tomorrow night.

At the Rwandan genocide memorial, Mr. and Mrs. Bush laid a wreath to commemorate the dead. He said his 45-minute tour of the center’s museum was “a reminder that evil cannot be tolerated.”

The museum’s director, Freddy Mutanguha, 31, whose parents, three sisters and many extended family members were killed in the genocide, told Mr. Bush during the tour that “the U.N. knew about what was going on in our country.”

Mr. Bush later commended Rwandans for their recovery during the last 14 years, and signed an investment treaty that contains protections for U.S. businesses investing in Rwanda.

“It’s an invitation to the investors,” Mr. Kagame said. “When they come here, their investments will be protected, in good hands.”


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