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In Madagascar, UN's Role In Protecting Rajoelina Questioned, Who Is the "International Community" to UN? France, It Seems

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

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- As Madagascar's president Marc Ravalomanana is deposed in slow motion by soldiers backing Andry Rajoelina, the UN is in the strange position of appearing to support a military coup which has now been denounced by the African Union. On Monday in New York, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe, "on Madagascar, it was said last week that the UN was, along with the international community, providing protection to the opposition leader.  Is that still the case and does the UN have any comment on his request that the President either step down or be arrested?"

  UN Deputy Spokesperson Okabe replied, "I don’t have specific comments on the latest press reports, but you know what we’ve said and we do have a UN senior official that is involved in this issue, and you’ve seen the Secretary-General’s remarks on this."

   Inner City Press' Malagasy sources say that once France switched its bets from Ravalomanana to Rajoelina, the fix was in. But France desperately wanted the political ground cover the UN could provide. Thus, the UN announced it -- and not France -- was protecting Rajoelina. Then it emerged that Rajoelina was in the French embassy. But this was someone deemed to be under the aegis of the UN.

UN has info-center in Madagascar, support of coup not shown

   Inner City Press asked, if the UN and not France is protecting Rajoelina, who is actually holding the guns of protection, the UN's Department of Safety and Security? Because there is no UN peacekeeping mission there. The answer was that the UN was working with the international community. But now that the AU has denounced the coup, is the UN's answer limited to the European international community, or more specifically, France?

  Footnote: Ravalomanana has said he may call on "the international community," specifically the UN, to support him. Good luck.

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

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

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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