Boutros-Ghali accepts UN's limitations

The United Nations cannot use more force in Bosnia because states contributing troops to the UN Protection Force in Bosnia will withdraw their personnel, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the UN Secretary-General, said in London this week. But he added that a fall-back position has been prepared if they are forced to withdraw.

'The problem is the member states are not ready to do peace enforcement', said Mr Boutros-Ghali in an interview with the Independent. 'The 36 members who are participating in the operation have done so on the basis of a peace-keeping operation. They have not the necessary equipment to do peace enforcement. So how can we do peace enforcement? Nato air strikes will not solve the problem and our troops will be in danger.'

The UN Secretary-General had an even tougher response to US pressure to lift the arms embargo on Bosnia. 'It's very simple. The message I receive from Great Britain, from France, Spain, Canada and Russia that if the embargo is lifted they will withdraw their troops. So if I want to keep troops on the ground for humanitarian reasons, for political reasons, for protecting the Muslims, I have to take this into account.'

But he added: 'I have already done a study a few months ago at a meeting with (UN commander in Bosnia) General Rose to discuss our fall-back position and that position is now prepared.'

Mr Boutros-Ghali, who once dreamed of a UN army ready to quell local disputes anywhere in the world, now accepts that most UN operations are under-funded and under- equipped. 'You have to accept second-best and if not second- best you have to accept third- best' in peace-keeping operations, he said.

Since the optimism of his first year in office, Mr Boutros- Ghali said he had learnt to accept failures and admitted that the UN had made mistakes.

'We have to accept the setbacks,' he said. 'Our impression was that once the UN intervenes there must be success and this was wrong.'

The second problem the UN had was underfunding, especially for peace-keeping operations. Describing himself as a super-beggar who must borrow what he can from member states, he said 'You ask for dollars 130m and you get dollars 30m . . . I have no power in this. I just borrow the power from the member states.'

The UN still has a deficit of dollars 1.3bn ( pounds 773m), he said, and many poorer countries could not afford to offer troops unless they were paid immediately. He was critical of richer countries who have become less willing to provide money, troops and equipment but would not directly criticise Washington's decision to subject every request from the UN to intense scrutiny.

Mr Boutros-Ghali welcomed the British-backed initiative on preventative diplomacy which aims to identify problems before they break out in military conflict and send teams of experienced diplomats to attempt negotiation. 'It will cost 10 times less than what what you will pay in case of a disaster.'

He was also critical of discrepancy in the UN's treatment of different countries, pointing out that there were thousands of UN troops in former Yugoslavia but none in Georgia where President Eduard Shevardnadze had appealed for help. He also said that, even with all the media exposure of Rwanda, there were still only 4,000 UN troops, 1,500 short of the number agreed in the Security Council Resolution.

'You may be shocked for purely ethical reasons but we have to accept this.

Everyone is equal but some persons are more equal. This is a political body and the member states have national interests so they will obtain a resolution in their favour and not pay attention to others.' In Angola and Afghanistan more people were dying than in Bosnia, he said. 'My role is to correct this distortion, to put things in the limelight . . . but as long as you do not receive the financial support of the member states what can you do?'

On Somalia, however, the Secretary-General appears to have accepted the US view that the Somalis have had their chance and the UN should now withdraw its operation. It will be wound down over the next three months, leaving the political situation even further from resolution than it was when the UN first sent troops three years ago. Mr Boutros- Ghali said it had cost an average of dollars 3m a day and that hundreds of soldiers had died. He accepted that the UN might be dragged back to Somalia by reports of starvation in a year's time, but he said: 'There is no political will there to solve the problem. It is like an addict who does not want to be cured . .

. How can we impose our will on them. We are there to keep the peace, we are there to help them but if they do not want to be helped. . .'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Y5 Teacher

£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...

Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

English Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: English Teachers with QTS nee...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week