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UN Peacekeeping Not Dominated Only by France, Le Roy Says, Citing US in Haiti, UK in Sierra Leone, Not Just Cote d'Ivoire

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 4 -- As Alain Le Roy steps down from the top UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations post, to be replaced sources tell Inner City Press by another Frenchman Jerome Bonnafont, the question arises:

 why does France seem to own DPKO and did it misuse its position in Cote d'Ivoire, working with its own Force Licorne to shoot at the Presidential Palace of Laurent Gbagbo?

  At Le Roy's last briefing on August 4, Inner City Press asked him these questions and others. Video here, from Minute 17:15.

  Le Roy replied that the action in Cote d'Ivoire was voted by the full Security Council. Then he responded to the idea that this is colonialism by pointing to other situations. "In Haiti," he said, "we were very pleased when the US forces came."

 He mentioned British troops in Sierra Leone and, he said, troops of "France and Germany and some others" as the Artemis force in Ituri, Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. Video here, from Minute 20:20.

  Perhaps the question is not just limited to France, then: perhaps the UN's work in the field, particularly the peacekeeping missions voted on by the Security Council on which only five countries have permanent seats and veto power, is just powerful countries' foreign and military policies "on the cheap."

  Inner City Press asked Le Roy about the inaction of Egyptian troops in Southern Kordofan and Zambian troops in Abyei when civilians there were being killed by the Sudanese Army. Le Roy said that the peacekeepers had done as best as they could, and claimed that those civilians who were returned to Kadugli town all did so by their own choice.

  Later in the press conference, Le Roy belatedly admitted that Sudan's government had threatened to shoot at UN helicopters if they sought to evacuate dying Ethiopian peacekeepers from Abyei. Click here for that.

Le Roy & Ouattara at Golf Hotel, Licorne not shown

  Le Roy has been more open to the press than most UN officials, repeatedly stopping on the steps outside the Security Council to answer Press questions. He is returning to an auditing job in Paris, and perhaps after that to another diplomatic assignment. He would not comment on the idea of Jerome Bonnafont or another Frenchman replacing him, saying "that is up to the S-G... it will be fine." But will it?

Footnote: Le Roy challenged the press to devote "one percent" to positive stories about UN peacekeeping, giving Liberia, Timor L'este, Lebanon and even Haiti and Cote d'Ivoire as the examples. Having visited UNAMID, UNMIS(S), MONUC / MONUSCO and even UNOCI, we'll remain on the lookout -- keep those cards and letters coming.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

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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