UN apologises for falsely accusing Belarus

UN had accused Belarus of breaking arms embargo imposed on Ivory Coast by sending attack helicopters.

Updated: Mar 03, 2011, 11:47 AM IST

United Nations: The UN has apologised for
falsely accusing Belarus of breaking the arms embargo imposed
on Ivory Coast by sending attack helicopters to the west
African country, which is in the midst of a power struggle
between two leaders.

Alain Le Roy, the head of peacekeeping at the UN, said
the report from the UN mission in Ivory Coast was a mistake.
Le Roy said he met with Belarus officials and
"expressed our deep regrets and even our apologies for the
damage caused to Belarus due to wrong reporting from the
"As head of the DPKO (Department of Peacekeeping
Operations) I take the blame for that," he said.

"We have made a wrong report."

On Sunday, the UN said Belarus had delivered three
attack helicopters to Laurent Gbagbo, who is contesting for
power in the coca producing African nation.

"The Secretary-General has learned with deep concern
that three attack helicopters and related materiels from
Belarus are reportedly being delivered at Yamoussoukro
(airport) for Mr Gbagbo`s forces,"a UN statement had said.

"The first delivery arrived reportedly on a flight
which landed this evening and additional flights are scheduled
for tomorrow. This is a serious violation of the embargo
against C?te d`Ivoire (Ivory Coast) which has been in place
since 2004," it added.

Shortly after the statement was issued, Belarus denied
it had breached the embargo.

Le Roy said there would be an internal investigation
on how the error was made.

More questions on the error are expected to be raised
at a Security Council meeting on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the security situation in the West African
nation is worsening, according to the UN.

Following a disputed election in November 2010, Gbagbo
and his rival Alassane Ouattara have been fighting to take
power in the country.

UN troops, supply convoys and vehicles have also been
attacked by Gbagbo`s forces.

The country’s election commission and a UN team have
recognized Ouattara as the winner of the elections, but Gbagbo
has refused to accept the results.

Some observers have said the UN should not have
picked sides in the power-struggle.

A senior diplomat recently said there was a
possibility of civil war and ethnic clashes breaking out in
the country.

Responding to whether this was a possibility, Le Roy
said, "Yes, we are very concerned about the situation in the
Ivory Coast...the tension is increasing."

"The number of clashes on both sides are increasing...
the attacks of peacekeepers is increasing. The level of
violence is increasing in Ivory coast," he added.