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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 27, 1994


Over the last five days, the United States has undertaken a massive relief effort to bring water, medicine and food to refugees from Rwanda. The President today has asked Secretary of Defense Perry and General Joulwan, Commander of U.S. Forces Europe, to travel to the area this weekend for a brief inspection of operations at Goma, Zaire and Entebbe, Uganda. They will report back to the President immediately upon their return.

Since July 22, the United States has delivered 1300 tons of humanitarian goods and water purification equipment and has put 750 people -- including medical personnel, logistics teams, and engineers -- on the ground in the affected areas. The first five sets of water purification equipment arrived yesterday and began immediate operation. Additional purification units are on the way, with some scheduled to arrive today.

In response to the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees appeal for assistance in dealing with refugees who have died, the United States has begun to move additional equipment and engineers into the refugee camps.

Limited airport runway and ramp space, however, continues to create bottlenecks and block the delivery of supplies. To remedy this problem, the United States and the United Nations are examining opening additional airfields in Rwanda, including one at Kigali. No decisions have yet been reached.

The United States is also working closely with the United Nations to establish conditions to allow the refugees to return home. Our Ambassador to Rwanda, David Rawson, has had several positive meetings with representatives of the new leadership in Rwanda. He has made clear our views about the need for the leadership to establish a broad-based government, bring about the rule of law, and fulfill its commitments to pursue national reconciliation.

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