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As SC Tours Cote d'Ivoire, South Asian Peacekeepers Underpaid & Killed There

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- While French Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud led a Security Council "field trip" in Cote d'Ivoire on May 22, in New York in the Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations disputes arose about France's attempts to underpay peacekeepers, mostly from South Asia.

  One South Asian representative in attendance told Inner City Press that "France is the worst, in trying to cut the pay. We told them, fine, then don't keep creating new missions. Two of my country's peacekeepers died in Ivory Coast, carrying out French foreign policy."

The reference was to the UN action, coordinated with the French Force Licorne, to oust recalcitrant Laurent Gbagbo. He is now incarcerated at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, while there has been no accountability for the massacres in Duekoue, attributable to Gbagbo opponents. Nor is it clear if France or more likely other Security Council members raised this during their time in Cote d'Ivoire.

  Now what another South Asian representative mocked as the "colonial trip of the Security Council" has the UK leading up the leg to former colony Sierra Leone. There, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has installed a Danish replacement envoy Jens Toyberg-Frandzen for the German one thrown out by the government. One wonders if this high profile ousting, and Ban Ki-moon going along with it, will be brought up by the Security Council. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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