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As ECOWAS Says 3300 Troops to Mali, Prodi Won't Say How Pay, Sanogo Role?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 13 -- Days after the West African grouping ECOWAS announced plans to send 3,300 troops to Mali, Inner City Press asked the UN's Mali and Sahel envoy Romano Prodi how he thinks this should be funded: as a UN Peacekeeping or Special Political Mission? As an African Union mission "supported" and funded by the UN?

  Prodi was previously paid by the UN to write a report its relations with the African Union. Now he is being paid, at the rate of an Under Secretary General, to work from his home in Italy on this problem.

  But he did not answer the specific question on this impending -- according to ECOWAS and others -- mission. Inner City Press also asked about his visit to non ECOWAS member Algeria, and Prodi latched onto that part of the question.

  Prodi said officials in Algeria are "conscious" of the threat of terrorism and its spread. But of course. But do they propose solution different than ECOWAS and France? This he did not answer. He said he does not shake hands with those in control in northern Mali, but sends them "signals." From Italy?

  One also wanted to ask, what is the role in Mali today of coup leader Sanogo? There was much talk at the UN about a contemporaneous coup, in Guinea Bissau. But since then the coup leaders or beneficiaries seem to be more and more accepted, including by the United States. Does the UN deal with Sanogo? Does ECOWAS? Watch this site.

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