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On Libya Guards, ICP Asks If Peacekeepers, UN Says No, Still Needs Approval

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- On Libya, while the UN Security Council did not meet about the killing of civilians by militias in Tripoli, six days ago they heard a proposal from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for 235 security officers to protect the UN Mission there, UNSMIL.

  Inner City Press covered that closed door meeting, and the next day asked the Council's then-presidency, China, about the status. The Chinese Ambassador replied that he had just signed the approval letter.

  But earlier today alongside Inner City Press' exclusive report on layoffs in UN Security, none of the officials Inner City Press spoke with knew of the Libyan security mission or if it could be a place laid off UN Security staff could apply to serve.

  So at today's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked about the new Libya mission, and afterward Ban's spokesperson's office sent Inner City Press this:

Subject: Press release from the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on a guard team for its headquarters
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Clarification by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya On the Allocation of a Guard Team for its Headquarters in Tripoli

Tripoli, 28 November 2013-

The United Nations Security Council has given initial approval to the request of the United Nations Secretary General regarding the enhancement of the protection of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) through a dedicated guard team for its headquarters in Tripoli. This team should not exceed 235 elements, including a number of administrative and services staff. The functions of aforementioned team shall be limited to the protection of the office and accommodation premises occupied by UNSMIL staff members. The scope of its work shall not exceed the perimeters of UNSMIL headquarters.

The Mission had already informed the competent Libyan authorities that it is in the process of preparing for this measure, which was discussed by the Security Council. Once all needed measures are finalized, and as per the applicable international customs and principles, the United Nations shall send an official letter in which it will inform the Libyan authorities of those measure seeking necessary approval.

The Mission reiterates that the guard team will not be tasked with any role beyond the function for which it was established, and that the formation of such team is a common practice adopted by international organizations and embassies in a large number of countries for ensuring the safety of its staff and premises.

So perhaps UN Security doens't know about these posts because, despite Security Council approval, it has not yet been approved by the Libyan authorities. Earlier, when Inner City Press first published then UN official Ian Martin's plan for Libya including 200 armed staff, the Libyan authorities balked and it went nowhere.

Now they will accept these 235? Watch this site.


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