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In Mali, UN Paying Listed Child Soldier Recruiter Ascribed by France to Zerrougui

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- As the UN prepares to “blue-hat” in Mali the army of Chad, on the UN's own list of child soldier recruiters, the Ambassadors of the UK and France, but not Herve Ladsous the fourth French head of UN Peacekeeping in a row, took questions on the topic Tuesday. (Inner City Press first wrote about it on June 3, here.)

  Inner City Press asked UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant, June's UN Security Council president, why accepting Chad into a UN Peacekeeping mission while it is still on the UN's list of child soldier recruits doesn't diminish the stigma of being on that list.

  Lyall Grant replied that there should be regular troop reviews, and referred to Ladsous' four month “grace period.” He said it is an important issue to the UK.

  When French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud took questions, Inner City Press asked him about the report by Watchlist on Child and Armed Conflict that "by mid-April 2013, there were reports that Chadian troops fighting with French forces in Kidal and other parts of Mali were, in a few cases, detaining and questioning children over three weeks before handing them over to French forces."

  Unlike Lyall Grant, Araud's answer relied almost entirely on the UN Secretariat -- without once mentioning Ladsous, France's former Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN. Instead, Araud said that if UN Children and Armed Conflict envoy Leila Zerrougui is satisfied, he is.

  The irony is that when Inner City Press asked Zerrougui about accepting the Chadians, she said it was up to Ladsous. Round and round it goes, the blame game. More than one senior peacekeeping official predicts to Inner City Press that MINUSMA will be a fiasco. Watch this site.

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