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March 1, 2011: Libya

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On Libya, As UN's Martin Calls Ongoing NATO Role a "Factual Statement," Military Dreams Shot Down

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 30 -- While the 200 UN Military Observers envisioned in Ian Martin's leaked August 22 report to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were ruled out on August 30 by the UK and Russian Ambassadors and Martin himself as not requested by the Libyans, Martin told the Press that NATO's continuing role is just "a factual statement."

  Inner City Press, which exclusively obtained and published Martin's 10 page plan for Libya, asked him three questions, first about his line that "the Security Council's 'protection of civilians' mandate implemented by NATO does not end with the fall of the Qadhafi government and, therefore, NATO would continue to have some responsibilities."

  "That's just a factual statement," Martin said. But unless one is entirely embedded on the Western / NATO side of the debate, it is in fact a contested and controversial statement to say NATO will continue to have responsibilities in Libya.

  Chinese Ambassador Li Baodong, for example, on Tuesday told Inner City Press that post-conflict "should be the end of NATO's mission." He also said that the African Union, which unlike NATO is not mentioned in Martin's 10 page report, should play a role in post conflict Libya.

  Inner City Press asked Martin about the AU not being in his report. Martin replied that Ban Ki-moon is headed to Paris for the September 1 meeting and hopes to there meet with the chairman of the African Commission. (Then Ban will proceed to, among other stops, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.)

Ban & Ian Martin - ongoing NATO role is "just a factual statement"?

  While Martin was meeting behind closed doors in the Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin emerged and Inner City Press asked him about the military observers concept in Martin's August 22 plan: "up to 200 UNMOs... 50 UNMOs able to redeploy immediately from other missions."

  Churkin said that "the Libyans don't see a need for military observers," but said to ask Ian Martin.

  Moments later Inner City Press put the same question to UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who paused and said that the NTC, the National Transitional Council, is "not suggesting" military observers.

  Ian Martin, when asked by Inner City Press, said that the plan of military observers was premised on there being a ceasefire, which has not occurred. But his plan was dated and signed on August 22, when the rebels were already in Tripoli. Now there is the standoff in Sirte -- watch this site.

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

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