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ICP Asks UN Spox of Mali Tech Not Shared by EU, OSCE Brindisi Deal, UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 23 – When the UN Security Council met on February 21 on “Conflicts in Europe,” it got a briefing by OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier and a series of speeches.

   Inner City Press asked Zannier questions at his press conference afterward and he said OSCE has had eight drones shot down, at a cost of $1 million each, and is now using drones with a medium range of 50 to 60 kilometers as well as cameras. Inner City Press asked, since he said OSCE will do procurement through the UN Peacekeeping base in Brindisi, if OSCE can share some technology with UN Peacekeeping contingents like Chad's, which suffers deaths in Mali under Herve Ladsous due to insufficient equipment.

 On the morning of February 22, Inner City Press posed a simple question in writing to UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who had canceled the day's noon briefing: "Please describe any cooperation between the UN / DFS / Brindisi and the OSCE, as spoken about yesterday by the OSCE's Lamberto Zannier."

  More than two hours later, having no response at all, Inner City Press posed a question to new Secretary General Antonio Guterres, adding audibly that his spokesman Dujarric is not answering basic Press questions. Video here. By the next day, still no answer. So Inner City Press asked about both issues, and more, at the noon briefing. From the UN's February 23 transcript:

Inner City Press: these are two things about kind of UN procurement and peacekeeping.  In this room, I guess two days ago now, Mr. [Lamberto] Zannier said that OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] is going to start… or is already working with DFS [Department of Field Support] Brindisi to do procurement.  Is that… is that true?  And how does it work?  And also, there's a story that the Germans' contingent in Mali is going to bring in these very high-tech aerial surveillance things that the US has used in Afghanistan.  And I wanted know, does this information get shared throughout the mission when a contingent brings it in by itself?

Spokesman:  I'm not… From what I read and what I understood of the press report, I don't think this was something that may or may not happen.  So I can check if it has happened.

Inner City Press:  Right, but as a matter of principle, if a contingent brings in its own high-tech surveillance to protect its peacekeepers, will they share it with…

Spokesman:  Well, as a… I don't want to speculate, but, obviously, anybody operates within a peacekeeping operation, they operate for the greater good of the peacekeeping mission.

Inner City Press:  But here's the… okay.  Then another specific.  In Mali, the Dutch contingent is said to have the type of equipment that they have in UNIFIL [United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon], which is that it can find IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and blow them up.  Is this shared with the Chadians or not shared with the Chadians?

Spokesman:  I don't know. 

Seems Dujarric should go the way of Ladsous. Watch this site.

  In the Council Chamber on February 21, US Ambassador Nikki Haley spoke not only on Ukraine but also Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh and Cyprus. (At noon Inner City Press asking about Cyprus giving citizenship to a member of the UNFICYP mission there; there was no answer). As Haley began to speak, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had to leave, to sign the condolence book for Churkin. There are many changes and reforms needed at the UN. Watch this site.


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