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On Mali, UNSC "Exchange of Views" Is Too Late, Ban Had to Do It in Advance

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 14 -- On Mali in December, the UN Security Council's members spent multiple sessions negotiating Resolution 2085, which specified steps to be taken before military action began.

  Among these was a requirement, in Operative Paragraph 11, that Ban Ki-moon as "Secretary-General also confirm in advance the Council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation."

  But France began bombing Konna on January 11, then Gao and elsewhere since, without any such "confirmation in advance" by Ban Ki-moon.

On January 12, Inner City Press asked Ban's top three spokespeople to "please state, both as of the beginning of France's military operation and as of your response, what the Secretary General did to 'confirm in advance the Council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation,' specifying both what the Secretary General knew about the plans and operation, and what he knew of the Council's position on those plans and operation(s)."

  Thirty six hours later, the UN Secretariat had provided no answer at all. Instead, French Mission to the UN spokesman Brieuc Pont e-mailed to the Press a tweet about a Security Council meeting on January 14, then was quoted by Agence France-Presse, 41% funded by the French government, that the purpose is to "proceed with an exchange of views between members of the council and with the UN secretariat."

  But this "exchange of views," so that the Secretary General can "confirm... the Council's satisfaction with the planned military offensive operation" was supposed to happen "IN ADVANCE."

French president Francois Hollande and his foreign minister Laurent Fabius have both said that France's bombing "resides in the framework of international law."

But what happened to waiting for the Secretary General to confer and confirm in advance the Security Council's satisfaction? Doing it after the fact doesn't cure it. Watch this site.

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