France takes over divided Security Council

France is a key military leader in international coalition patrolling the no-fly zone over Libya.

Last Updated: May 01, 2011, 16:02 PM IST

United Nations: France took over the presidency of the UN Security Council on Sunday playing a central role in the international campaign against Libyan leader
Muammer Gaddafi and with a new crisis to handle in Syria.

The 15-nation council could not agree a statement
condemning the violence in Syria and is increasingly divided
over Libya, with Russia, China and India blocking new
sanctions against Kadafi`s entourage, diplomats said.

Russia and other believe that air attacks by France,
Britain, the United States and their allies are going beyond
UN Security Council resolutions.

Divisions could come to the forefront again this week
when International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno
Ocampo briefs the council on Wednesday on a possible war
crimes investigation.

UN special envoy to Libya, Abdul Ilah Khatib, the
former Jordanian foreign minister, is also to hold talks with
the council this week on his efforts to bring Kadhafi and
rebel leaders closer to a ceasefire.

France is a key military leader in the international
coalition patrolling the no-fly zone over Libya but French
President Nicolas admitted this week he did not know how long
the conflict would last now. "I cannot read the tea-leaves,"
he said at a summit in Rome.

And that will make life more difficult for France`s UN
ambassador Gerard Araud who also wants to use the month to
bring more forgotten crises such as Democratic Republic of
Congo back to the forefront of the council agenda.

An open debate on the country where millions have died
in conflict since 1998 will be held on May 18. The United
Nations now wants to draw down its biggest peacekeeping force
-- about 20,000 troops -- in the country and turn more toward
nation-building.

"It will be the most important moment of the month,"
Araud told a news agency in an interview.

"It is a subject that is no longer on the front pages,
but it is the kind of topic which forms the basis of the
dignity of the United Nations," he said highlighting the work
of the global body in DR Congo.

"These are extremely difficult, extremely blood
conflicts which do not interest many among the major players
in the international community. In a general manner, because
they have no interests there, they do not want to get
involved.

"The United Nations goes there and they are along
going there."

Security Council ambassadors are also due to visit
Africa at the end of May.

They are to go to Nairobi, to discuss the Somalia
conflict and the transitional government`s efforts, and to the
southern and northern Sudan capitals, Juba and Khartoum.

PTI