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Libya Echo Stalls C-34 Draft, Costs & Accountability for UN Political Missions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 16 -- Echoes of the Libya conflict reached the UN's C-34 committee on peacekeeping, sending negotiations into Friday night after the translators left. The US and European Union were opposing proposed language that protection of civilians should not be used to change governments.

  But they were also opposing a proposal that the same conduct and discipline standards applicable to UN Peacekeeping missions should apply to "special political missions" like Iraq and Afghanistan.

   As one Non-Aligned Movement (and troop contributing country) representative told Inner City Press, "why should our soldiers in peacekeeping be held accountable, but your people in Special Political Missions are not?"

  The US, led by uber-Tweeting Ambassador Joe "One-Way" Torsella, and the EU were also trying to limit payments for troops costs. They were countered by an argument that since compensation for UN Peacekeepers is barely over $1000 a month, but NATO soldiers get four times that, maybe that latter are "mercenaries." Or, one wag suggested, "bounty hunters."

  There is another brewing budget fight, about why Special Political Missions like those in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya should be in the regular UN budget instead of in the peacekeeping budget for which the Permanent Five members of the Security Council, creator of these missions, pay more.

  The reference above to the US' Joe Torsella is that despite repeated Press requests that he state the US position on the proposed new DC-5 building for the UN, Inner City Press has been told to just "read Joe's tweets."

  But even on Friday, as Torsella tweeted from a listed closed consultation of the Fifth (Budget) Committee, he did not answer direct questions Tweeted at him. Rather, he re-tweeted about "the boss" @AmbassadorRice flying from New York to Washington on Friday, in coach, without providing the thrice requested position of the US Mission to the UN. Hence, Joe "One-Way" Torsella. We will continue on this.

Footnote: Across the hall from the ongoing meeting of the C-34 (a committee which used to have just 34 members) was a meeting of the similarly misnamed G-77, which used to have only 77 members. There, Inner City Press is told, Kenya's Ambassador made demands about the Group's position.

  "What he really wants," a well placed G-77 source told Inner City Press, "is to make sure if there's a new environmental agency that it stays in Nairobi, and doesn't get 'stolen' by Germany or Denmark." Or France. We'll have more on this.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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