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Bush Announces New Funds for Darfur Peacekeepers

President Bush is in Rwanda where he visited a memorial to the country's 1994 genocide against 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and politically-moderate Hutu. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Mr. Bush says America is boosting its support for African peacekeepers trying to end violence in Sudan.

The president and Mrs. Bush laid a wreath on a bed of stones over a mass grave for 238,000 victims of Rwanda's genocide.

Kigali's Memorial Center uses photographs, artifacts, and videos to recount the 100 days of violence by Hutu militiamen. It includes exhibits on genocide in Bosnia and Cambodia.

President Bush thanked museum staff for creating a place to remind people that there is real evil in the world and that evil must be confronted.

"This is a moving place that cannot help but shake your emotions to your very foundation," he said. "It reminds me that we must not let these kinds of actions take place. And that the people of Rwanda need help to reconcile and move forward after a brutal period."

The president asked for God's blessing on those who still hurt and on the children affected by the trauma.

Mr. Bush says he is trying to stop genocide that is happening now in Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

In a joint press conference, President Bush thanked Rwandan President Paula Kagame for his leadership in sending troops to a U.N.- AU peacekeeping force in Darfur.

"We are cooperating to address violence and genocide in Darfur," said President Bush. "The Rwandan people know the horrors of genocide. It is not surprising at all that the first nation to step up and say, 'We want to deploy peacekeepers' was Rwanda."

President Bush announced plans to spend $100 million on African peacekeepers from Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and Malawi. $12 million will go to Rwanda to train and equip 2,400 peacekeepers in addition to the 7,000 Rwandan troops the United States has already helped train.

President Kagame says the money will help Africans better resolve their own problems, without outside troops.

"Problems are there," he said. "But I think the best approach is, indeed, to help Africans develop their capacity to deal with these problems."

Part of the delay in deploying peacekeepers to Darfur is Khartoum's insistence that only African troops take part.

The United States has spent $450 million on 34 base camps for African peacekeepers in Sudan during the past three years. Since the first of the year, those camps are now the responsibility of the United Nations. So White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says the United States can shift more funds to training peacekeepers.