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On Mali, Churkin Tells ICP Araud "Went Too Far," Chad Doubts ECOWAS

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, January 15 -- As French bombing of Mali expands, Inner City Press on Tuesday asked the UN if it has any plans to track and report on the killing of civilians, as they do in other conflicts.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky said he'll see if any UN "formal mechanism." He would not or could not confirm the figure of 11 civilians killed so far, nor the difficulty in evacuating the injured in Douentza reported by Rosa Crestani of Medecins Sans Frontieres.

  Earlier, Inner City Press asked the head of Ban's Department of Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman about the requirement in Security Council Resolution 2085 that Ban "confirm in advance the Council's satisfaction" with the planned military action.

  Feltman said that "satisfaction" would be conveyed in one of the Secretary General's reports, which are public.

  But they are public only on a delay. Meanwhile, in terms of satisfaction, Inner City Press was approach Tuesday outside the Security Council by an African diplomat who was critical of a wire service headline that "yesterday the Security Council approved France's bombing."

  Inner City Press then asked Russian Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin if that was an accurate account. No, he said, there was no outcome of the meeting.

What about what French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud said at the stakeout, that all members of the Security Council supported France's action?

  "He went too far," Churkin said of Araud.

  Another African diplomat, of a member of the West African group ECOWAS / CEDAO, predicted to Inner City Press that France would just "do its thing like in Chad, and then leave."

  The Permanent Representative of Chad, Ahmad Allam-mi, exclusively told Inner City Press that he county would be ready to send troops, with the correct "format and mandate."

  He said it shouldn't "just be a CEDAO force," questioning in particular the naming of a Nigerian general as force commander, chosen entirely by the CEDAO.

   Meanwhile ECOWAS chair Cote d'Ivoire may have sent its army chief of staff Bakayoko to Bamako, but Ivorian Permanent Representative Bamba told Inner City Press his country will not be contributing troops, as they are "still in SSR" (security sector reform). And so it goes. Watch this site.

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