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Amid UN Budget Cuts, 500 Blue Helmeted Moroccans to CAR For Only 50 Staff?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 21 -- The idea of UN guards in Libya, Somalia and the Central African Republic is a new one, and not off to the best start.

  There is rejection in Libya and waste, some say, in Central African Republic even amid moves to slash the UN budget including layoffs, in the UN's 5th Committee.

In Libya, despite Security Council approval on which Inner City Press first reported, the plan for over 230 guards has been rejected. The UN insists it was misunderstood.

Now Inner City Press is exclusively informed of a meeting and debate concerning whether the guards in CAR and those in Somalia should or should not be "blue helmets." The answer, after a contentious meeting, is No in Somalia, Yes in the CAR.

In Central African Republic, the guards will be from Morocco: 500 of them. In the meeting, Inner City Press is informed, when it was said that there are only 50 UN staff to protect, a Permanent Five member's Permanent Representative asked for confirmation: 500 guards for 50 staff? That is, ten guards for each staff member?

And, Inner City Press is told, the answer from UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous' deputy Edmond Mulet was "yes."

This in a time when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and big-donor nations like the United States and, loudly, France are urging for the UN budget to be cut or in the case of France to get more of it -- ten guards for each staff member. "Madness," as one source told Inner City Press. Watch this site.


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