July 23, 2005

Clinton regrets personal failure on Rwanda genocide

KIGALI (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton,
visiting a Rwandan genocide memorial on Saturday, expressed
regret for his "personal failure" to prevent the 1994 slaughter
of 800,000 people.

On a brief visit to look at HIV/AIDS projects in the
central African country, Clinton laid a wreath at a museum
commemorating victims of the 100-day massacre by extremists
from the Hutu majority which took place during his presidency.

"I express regret for my personal failure," he said before
touring the museum, which features graphic images of people
being decapitated and bodies twitching on the road.

"I think it faithfully, honestly, painfully presents the
truth of the Rwandan genocide," he told reporters after seeing
the museum which his Clinton Foundation partially funded.

"It is an important contribution to the history of the
world, that the world cannot afford to forget," he said.

Clinton apologized on a previous visit to Rwanda in 1998
for not recognizing the crime of genocide.

Clinton administration officials avoided the word in public
for fear it would spark an outcry for action they were loathe
to take, six months after U.S. troops were killed by Somali
warlords in Mogadishu.

Rwanda was the last leg of Clinton's six nation African
tour to see how the AIDS pandemic is affecting children on the
world's poorest continent.