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EU's Solana Admits Chad Force Delay, UK Does Not Want to Pay

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 28 -- For its peacekeeping mission to Chad, the European Union has not been able to obtain commitments for ten helicopters. Unlike the hybrid African Union - UN mission in Darfur, where the lack of helicopters is blamed on the government's veto of non-African pilots, Chadian president Deby has told EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana that there are "no problems."

   Wednesday at the UN, Inner City Press asked Solana whether the EU and UN were having to compete for helicopters, and to explain the supposed lack of ten copters in the entire European Union. "You interpret that countries are mean," Solana said, "but that is not the case." Video here, from Minute 12:21. Rather, he pointed to the use of helicopters in Afghanistan, saying that the number of helicopters "used is way beyond that expected three years ago." So now both the Darfur and the Chad peacekeeping missions are delayed for lack of copters?

            Inner City Press also asked Solana about report that the UK is opposing a French proposal that some of the costs of the Chad mission be shared throughout the EU. The UK, it is reported, does not want to pay for anything in Chad, saying it is already paying in Afghanistan and Iraq (quite different missions, it has been pointed out). Solana said this dispute might be a problem "in the future." Video here, from Minute 9:52.

Solana at the stakeout, helicopters not shown

            Solana's positive spin on Chad extended to answering a question about the expanded fighting in the North by saying that Deby has told him that there are no special problems today. Hundreds of people killed, no special problem? It's a wonderful life...

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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