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As EU Hits In Somalia, Question of Consent, Mahiga's Tardiness Echoed by TFG?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 15 -- While US Ambassador Susan Rice on Tuesday stressed that the Somali Transitional Federal Government must finally transition to a new elected government by August 20, the UN's envoy Augustine Mahiga arrived more than 20 minutes late for the Security Council meeting.

  Whether or not Mahiga's tardiness portends another delay for the TFG, Inner City Press inquired into why he had come late and was told "he was to meet with Karl Wycoff," a US official on Africa.

  Mahiga was to have addressed the Council first, but once he did not arrive TFG president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed took his place, and asked for the arms embargo to be removed. This came right after the first of what may be many European Union helicopter raids inland in Somalia.

  Inner City Press asked the EU about this plan, and was told not to over-focus on inland attacks. Specifically, on April 27 Inner City Press asked Operation ATALANTA commander Admiral Duncan Potts about this proposal, he said the reporting was "incorrect."

 Potts told Inner City Press, "I wouldn't focus too much on the two kilometers. We want to create the perception in the mind of the pirates that they can no longer act with impunity from beaches of Somalia. It's about the perception of impunity rather than a kinetic effect."

  At the at time Inner City Press wrote that it still seems that the way the EU wants to "create this perception" is to shoot guns, from helicopters, up to two kilometers inside Somali territory.

   And now it has happened.

  Sharif Sheikh Ahmed to his credit did a UN TV stakeout, at which Inner City Press asked him about the EU inland helicopter action and how and why it was approved, and about other non-Somali military actors in the country.

  He said that the way to solve piracy is ongoing development, that one or two action like this won't solve it. I have no details on approvals, he said somewhat strangely. Another Security Council diplomat said Germany described not only approval but close cooperation.

  Sharif Sheikh Ahmed had with him a big entourage, from Permanent Representative to First Secretary, amid much talk of the Millennium Hotel. But when will they take the T out of the TFG and actually hold elections? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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

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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

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

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