UN Peacekeeping, in Bashir
Run-Up, Pitches Haiti, Dodges Chad Fees and Lubanga
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, March 2 -- With
UN Peacekeeping under fire from Sudan to Congo, its two largest
agency head Alain Le Roy told the Press on March 2 that there is "good
news" in Timor L'Este and Haiti, elections to be held in Afghanistan,
pay-offs and run-offs averted in Chad. Inner City Press asked if Chad's
president Idriss Deby had tried to charge the UN for the airstrips the
Union mission has built in his country, as several Security
have said in confidence.
Roy said it was difficult, but the outcome is that
Chad will re-claim some of the airstrips built by the EU. We do not
said. But at a closed-door
Troop Contributing Country meeting in late 2008,
several member states complained that Chad was charging landing fees.
only goes so far at the UN.
Le Roy's main pitch was about Sudan, in the run-up
to the expected
indictment of Omar al-Bashir for war crimes on March 4. Le Roy said the
to keep moving peacekeepers in, from Egypt and Senegal, even Thailand
Nepal, to reach 80% staff-up by June.
Inner City Press asked about the protest over the
weekend by the UN's
top man in Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, claiming he was misquoted that he gave
information against Bashir to the International Criminal Court. Le Roy
clarified that only "regular" information could be provided, reports
already completed, "mostly" for the Security Council.
Press had asked about the ICC's case against Congolese militia leader
Lubanga, in which UN Peacekeeping gave information it demanded be
the defense. These did not sound like "regular" reports. Nor would Le
Roy confirm or deny, as Inner City Press requested, that the Congolese
government of Joseph Kabila
in March 2007 asked the UN to help arrest indicted
war criminal Bosco Ntaganda, who is now working with rather than
Kabila's rag-tag forces. Again,
transparency only goes so far at the UN.
UN's Alain Le Roy in Haiti, nothing but blue skies
Still and all, Le Roy is one of the better informed
UN Under Secretaries
General who are trotted out to brief the Press. Inner
City Press has asked UN spokespeople
about reports that Poland plans to pull out of UN peacekeeping
without any on-the-record response. Le Roy on March 2 said that Poland
stay in Chad until October, and that its reasons for pulling out are
The reality is that the UN pays countries for their
fact, these payments are
reported to have played a role in the deadly coup
attempt in Bangladesh. The border guards who are said to have plotted
the coup "make
about $100 a month. Their resentment has been heightened by Army
the border guards, who do
not participate in United Nations peacekeeping
missions, which bring additional pay."
Thus, UN Peacekeeping can and does impacts in
countries well beyond
those in which it has formal peacekeeping missions. There have been no
updates on sexual
abuse charges pending against contingents from Morocco,
Lanka and India. The previous official on the "zero tolerance" beat,
Jane Holl Lute, is now in line to be the number two at the UN
Homeland Security. (Her "war czar" husband recently spoke
University of North Florida.) Where
the updates? Once again, transparency only goes so far at the UN.
Le Roy mentioned
"good news" from Haiti. That's not what a long-time Haitian
journalist, standing Monday morning in the snow across First Avenue
UN, told Inner City Press. In fact, some are alleging some UN
complicity in the
very crimes in Haiti being denounced. Ban Ki-moon, Le Roy said, is
travel to Haiti on March 9 and 10, with Bill Clinton. The snowy Haitian
journalist has urged further investigations. We will have more on this.
Click here for Inner City
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12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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