Bloomberg News

U.S.’s Rice Will Say UN Mandate Stopped Rwanda Repeat in Libya

November 24, 2011

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice will say the use of military firepower against Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi prevented a catastrophe akin to the 1994 Rwanda genocide, in the capital Kigali today.

“Every situation is different, of course, and calls for a different policy response,” Rice will say in a speech today, according to a draft obtained by Bloomberg News. “Yet many of us heard strong echoes of 1994 when Muammar Qaddafi promised that he would root out the people of Benghazi and go house to house killing innocents like ‘rats.’”

Visiting Rwanda after a surprise trip to Libya, Rice’s comments come as the international community pursues alternatives to military intervention to stop bloodshed in Syria, where a government crackdown on protesters has killed more than 3,500 people, according to UN estimates.

Rice was part of the Clinton administration during the Rwanda genocide. She has said in the past that failure to intervene left an impression and she became one of the Obama administration’s strongest advocates for a no-fly zone over Libya.

The decisions to impose a no-fly zone and authorize NATO- led military action in Libya have held up attempts by the U.S. and Europe to weigh in more forcibly in Syria.

Russia and China both vetoed an Oct. 4 Security Council resolution that called for the Assad regime to stop the violence. In voting against the resolution, Russia said the UN mandate to protect innocents in Libya had been exploited to bring about regime change.

--Editors: Nicholas Wadhams, Peter Hirschberg

To contact the reporter on this story: Flavia Krause-Jackson in United Nations at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at

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