On Congo, UN's Troop Count Is 1500 Off as London Calling
Different on Others' 3000
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press in the UK: News Analysis
13 -- As in New York UK Prime
Minister Gordon Brown was quoted as in support of 3000 new peacekeepers
what the UN says are 17,000 already in the Congo, elsewhere the UK
tells the Press that the UN has admitted to it having only 15,500
the ground, while never publicly correctly the number. Which, if the UK
telling the truth both publicly and privately, would make the UK offer
half as significant as it seems, close observers opine. Several UK
sources says that
the UN's military adviser has acknowledged the force size is 15,500,
even as UN
Peacekeeping Chief Alain Le Roy has repeatedly said it is 17,000.
generally, while in New York the UK delegation to the United Nations
itself against charges of dithering about the Congo, here in London the
one of caution and even disinterest, including from the officials
most concerned. Two days ago outside the Security Council chamber,
Press asked UK Ambassador John Sawers to explain his country's sending
troops in 2000 to Sierra Leone, compared to what some are today calling
dithering and even blocking of action by others in the European Union.
certainly not dithering or blocking," Ambassador Sawers relied. "All
situations are different, as you understand the difference, you can't
solution from one area into another area." Video here,
from Minute 5:49.
But what substantively is
the difference for the UK between Sierra Leone and the Congo? Or
between 2000 and 2008?
UK's Brown with UN's Ban, missing 1500
peacekeepers in Congo not shown
Malloch Brown, one in the UK hierarchy sits between Sawers and David
Milliband, bragged to Channel Four that
"we've gotten decent
humanitarian response where the UK has been a big leader in it.... The
was that probably the better and more effective way was to strengthen
force MONUC and so I met with Ban Ki-Moon as well as the senior UN
again at the end of last week to promise that we would work with them
to do all
we could to allow that strengthening to happen quickly enough, because
obviously this is a crisis unfolding on a daily basis at the moment."
Four questioner then said, "at the moment the UN force has five hundred
troops in the area in which there are six thousand rebels." But if
according to the UK we can't believe the 17,000 Congo-wide figure the
how can we believe the 500, 1000, or even 3000 counter-figures given?
continue to follow this.
Footnote: In the
UN General Assembly, Gordon Brown
speechified the UK's "tribute especially to King Abdullah of Saudi
- a man of great faith whose leadership has inspired this dialogue."
you say, religious freedom?
about a conflict
of interest and failure to disclose about which the UK
government's been asked?
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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