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Peacekeepers in Abyei Still Without Medevac as Le Roy Leaves, 1% Positive to Come

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 8 -- After the bleed-out death of three UN peacekeepers in Abyei and US Ambassador Susan Rice saying as her "personal opinion" that the UN should have flown a medevac helicopter in from South Sudan even without permission, Inner City Press asked outgoing UN Peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy to respond.

  "Before giving a full answer I have to brainstorm," said Le Roy, who is leaving UN service on August 10. "A decision to take that kind of risk, we have to brainstorm with our people."

  Inner City Press asked Le Roy if tomorrow, if a peacekeeper needs medevac, the UN will fly in from Wau in South Sudan. "We cannot," Le Roy answered. So what's to brainstorm?

  It was Le Roy's final briefing of the Council after three years atop the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).

  As he went up the stairs from the Security Council, Le Roy chided Inner City Press for not having devoted "one percent" to praise of DPKO.

  We'll do so -- but it's because the Security Council, even the Permanent members, don't do oversight of DKPO, and because the UN and DPKO don't even go outside to engage with protesters like those in front of the UN on August 5 asking reparations for the introduction of cholera to Haiti, or who stoned DPKO's Roger Meece in the Congo last month, that the Press focuses on oversight and not praise.

Le Roy in Liberia, per the UN's own media, more than 1%

  That said, we don't dispute Le Roy's statement that if one called the President of Liberia she would praise DPKO. For now for our 1% -- and to futher explain why oversight is what's need -- we'll link to the UN's own self-coverage / propaganda about its good works there. Actually, even the UN News Service has not covered Liberia in the past 45 days. But we note that there are peacekeepers who, indeed, share their rations with those they are sent to protect.

  Le Roy said that in his final briefing of the Council, all fifteen members praised his three years. So we'll report that. But see above. And... watch this site.

* * *

On Abyei, Susan Rice Says UN Should Have Flown in from S. Sudan w/o Permission

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, August 8 -- As three Ethiopian peacekeepers lay injured by a land mine in Abyei last week, the UN asked Khartoum for permission to fly in a helicopter from Wau in South Sudan.

 "That's a different country," Sudanese authorities reportedly replied. By the time a medical evacuation helicopter arrived from Kadugli in Southern Kordofan, considered Sudan proper, the peacekeepers had died.

Outside a UN Security Council meeting on the subject on Monday, Inner City Press was told by sources that US Ambassador Susan Rice inside was saying that the UN should not have "given Sudan a veto" over flights into the "no man's land" of Abyei, but should just have flown.

When Ambassador Rice left the meeting, Inner City Press asked her, "should they have flown from Wau without waiting to get permission?"

"Yes, in my opinion," Ambassador Rice said.

She paused then continued, "there's a risk involved in that and we all have an interest in the security of peacekeepers. But at a certain point you gotta weigh the risk of the helicopter crew, if they had been notified that it was coming and the tail number, then the government would have been responsible if it had done something untoward."

In Wau, Susan Rice on the mic, opinion personal?

"It's not beyond them to do something untoward," Rice said. "But the loss of these peacekeepers may have been prevented."

Again she paused, for emphasis. "That my personal opinion, I expressed it in there, but it's my personal opinion."

But when the US Permanent Representative to the UN makes a point in the Security Council, is it a personal opinion? Watch this site.

* * *

Meanwhile, Inner City Press asked Khartoum's Permanent Representative to the UN outside the Security Council on Monday to respond to the UN charge that they denied permission to fly from Abyei, saying "that's a different country."

  He said he would not speak at the UN TV stakeout, because he is fasting. Inner City Press offered a "stakeout at sunset." Video of his answers was nevertheless obtained, and put on YouTube, here. Watch this site.

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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