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Amid Mali Pledges, UK Minister "Misspoke," France Is Blamed, Doesn't Know

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 29 -- Amid a flurry of financial pledges in Addis Ababa for the Malian Army and the prospective AFISMA mission, outside the UN Security Council on Tuesday Inner City Press asked French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud how much France is pledging. He said they are pledging, but that he did not know how much.

  Moments later a Security Council diplomat told Inner City Press, "By intervening in Libya, France caused the Mali problem. Let them pay for it!" Anonymity was granted because the diplomat is not the Permanent Representative.

  Whatever the pledges made, it's worth remembering that Western countries on the Security Council decided not to pay for the Kenyan naval component of the African Union's AMISOM mission in Somalia, after its work in Kismayo. So will all of these pledges actually be paid.

  Meanwhile, amid bafflement at the statement by UK Defense Secretary Phil Hammond that Mali is a predominantly Christian country, Inner City Press asked the UK Mission to the UN if he said that.

  The UK Mission's new Head of Press and Public Affairs, Iona Thomas, "we spoke earlier about the UK Defence Secretary’s comments on religion in Mali earlier today. I can confirm that he misspoke." It's appreciated. Watch this site.

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