Sees Tougher Force for
Friday, May 26, 2000
By David Briscoe Associated Press
Planning to call for 3,500 more troops to
secure peace along the Israeli-Lebanese border, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan told a class of foreign affairs
graduates that future international peacekeepers may have to use
Annan, in a one-day visit to Washington, also sharply criticized
a Republican senator who has single-handedly blocked U.S. funding
for U.N. peacekeepers, saying the action by Sen. Judd Gregg "is
only going to make matters worse."
Annan, speaking to reporters before his commencement address at
Johns Hopkins University's international studies school, challenged
Gregg to come up with a better peacekeeping plan if he doesn't like
U.N. actions. Gregg, who did not meet with Annan, has said he
disagrees with the way the United Nations is conducting its
operation in Sierra Leone, where 279 peacekeepers are being held
hostage by rebels.
Annan told reporters he is awaiting a formal confirmation of
Israel's total withdrawal from southern Lebanon before recommending
an increase in an interim U.N. force of 4,500.
He plans to announce "within days" plans to boost the force to
8,000 troops in the wake of Israel's hasty retreat this week from
its border security zone in Lebanon. No U.S. troops are being
offered for the operation.
In his address, Annan forecast a tougher approach. His remarks
related to the work of a special panel he has appointed to study
U.N. peacekeeping and report back to him in July.
Annan has agonized over U.N. peacekeeping failures in Rwanda in
1994 and Bosnia in 1995. The United Nations was accused of ignoring
evidence that a genocide was being planned in Rwanda and of failing
to help save thousands of Bosnian Muslims from a Serb mass murder
"Where a peace agreement is signed but one or more of the
parties are tempted to violate it, the U.N. needs a credible and
robust presence in order to deter and discourage potential
violators," Annan said.
U.N. peacekeepers cannot be expected only to "keep peace
between angels," he said, adding that combatants in modern wars
are often "warlords and militia leaders whose only aim is power
and personal enrichment." He said the threat of international
isolation may have no meaning for people like Sierra Leone rebel
leader Foday Sankoh.
"We have to consider some of the most basic assumptions about
neutrality, the good faith of the parties and the nonuse of force
that were the basis of the successful operations of the cold War
era," Annan said. He said future U.N. peacekeepers need "robust
mandates" and the willingness of richer countries to provide
first-rate military and logistical support.
Speaking of the hold Gregg placed last week on $368 million owed
by the United States for U.N. peacekeeping in Congo, Kosovo, East
Timor and Sierra Leone, Annan said, "Let me say it is not
Gregg's spokesman, Edmund Amorosi, said the senator was issuing
no immediate statement in response to Annan and already had agreed
to release $40 million for Kosovo. He was discussing the other
operations with State Department officials, Amorosi said.