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At UN Group on Pirates Meets, Surrender is Advised, Somalia Abandoned

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 14 -- Days after a $3 million ransom was parachuted to Somali pirates on a Saudi oil tanker, the UN on Wednesday hosted the inaugural meeting of the Contact Group on Somali Piracy. The Group issued a statement instruction ships' crews to, among other things, "remain calm and cooperate with the pirates" until rescued, and then "be prepared to answer questions on identity and status onboard." Chairing the meeting and Group, from the US State Department, was Mark T. Kimmitt, previously a US spokesman in Iraq and most recently noted in a heavily-redacted memo by the Defense Department's Inspector General. Click here for that memo.

    At the same time as the US claims leadership of the anti-pirate fight, it has tabled a resolution putting off decision on a peacekeeping mission to war-torn mainland Somalia until June 2009.  As Inner City Press reported at year's end, the US backed down to the UK and its pessimism on Somalia, and veered from public statements by Condi Rice about the urgency of a UN peacekeeping mission.

US' Kimmitt meet Iraq journalists, shoes in flight not shown

  In fact, even the UN's strategy in Somalia has been Americanized. UN envoy Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah has called for the construction in Mogadishu of a UN headquarters that is Green Zone-like, a reference to the US' use of Saddan Hussein's guarded compounded after he was overthrown in Iraq. In Somalia, however, no such safe zone exists. Whether given the financial crisis of members states and the UN, it seems unlikely any Mogadishu Green Zone will be built.

  Even on the peacekeeping mission, Ambassador Takasu of Japan, now as before a Security Council member, told Inner City Press his country feels that Somalia is not ready for a UN peacekeeping mission, there is no peace to keep.

  And so the world's commitment to Somalia is essentially containment. It hasn't worked so far.

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

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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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

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