Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media -e.g. Somalia, Nepal, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia  For further info, click here to contact us         .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

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

LONDON, November 13 -- As in New York UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown was quoted as in support of 3000 new peacekeepers to join what the UN says are 17,000 already in the Congo, elsewhere the UK government tells the Press that the UN has admitted to it having only 15,500 soldiers on the ground, while never publicly correctly the number. Which, if the UK is telling the truth both publicly and privately, would make the UK offer only 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.

  More generally, while in New York the UK delegation to the United Nations defends itself against charges of dithering about the Congo, here in London the mood is one of caution and even disinterest, including from the officials ostensibly most concerned. Two days ago outside the Security Council chamber, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador John Sawers to explain his country's sending of troops in 2000 to Sierra Leone, compared to what some are today calling the UK's dithering and even blocking of action by others in the European Union.

  "We're certainly not dithering or blocking," Ambassador Sawers relied. "All situations are different, as you understand the difference, you can't apply a 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

  Lord Mark 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 decision was that probably the better and more effective way was to strengthen the UN force MONUC and so I met with Ban Ki-Moon as well as the senior UN leadership 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."

  The Channel 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 UN gives, how can we believe the 500, 1000, or even 3000 counter-figures given? We will continue to follow this.

Footnote: In the UN General Assembly, Gordon Brown speechified the UK's "tribute especially to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia - a man of great faith whose leadership has inspired this dialogue." Can you say, religious freedomOr, willfull ignorance 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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -