Sunday, October 21, 2007

UN triple shot: Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia, Guinea-Bissau

Cote d’Ivoire: In a recent report, the UN claims Cote d’Ivoire’s military is obstructing inspections regarding the international embargo on arms and related material.

During the investigations, which took place between mid-July and mid-August, the Group “observed a lack of understanding on the part of certain Ivorian political authorities who believed that, with the signing of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement on 4 March 2007, their mission was out of step with the current reconciliation process.”

The Group also heard reports of Malian smuggling rings to ferry illegal diamonds out of the country and potential violations on diamond exports.

Somalia: Increased violence between the Transitional Federal Government and other parties has resulted in “suspicion” toward the humanitarian community, which is impeding relief work and food deliveries.

An estimated 60 uniformed and armed members of the Somalia National Security Service stormed a UN compound October 17 and abducted a member of the World Food Program staff member. So far the captive, Idriss Osman, is reportedly unharmed.

Since then, the WFP has discontinued work in the region where three million people are in need of assistance.

The abduction of Mr. Osman follows the shooting death of three WFP-contracted drivers.

Guinea Bissau: The UN Security Council called for the United Nations to examine how best to support Guinea-Bissau, which has been awash in claims that drug trafficking undermines its peace and stability.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the West African nation has become a transit point for cocaine moving between Latin America and Europe. Even though the government has made at least 50 drug seizures in the past two years, it is a small a portion of drugs moving through the country.

Drug traffickers have leveraged the country’s poverty and political instability, the lingering effects of a brief civil war six years ago, to outmaneuver weak government surveillance with planes and ships to drop-off and pick up drugs.

Another issue remains that drugs confiscated by the government often find a way back to the street through corruption and thievery.

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