UN tries to clear up Somalia mess: The row with Italy over operations in Mogadishu is casting a shadow across the future of peace-keeping

THE MORE United Nations officials express optimism that the feud with Italy over the UN operations in Mogadishu will soon be resolved, the more intractable the problem becomes. The implications are grave for future UN peace-keeping and, as in Somalia, for peace enforcement operations. James Jonah, the UN Under-Secretary for politcal affairs, said yesterday: 'If we fail (in Somalia) the repercussions will be devastating because it will show the UN cannot sustain such an operation.'

On the surface, both the Italians and the UN secretariat were striving to defuse the row that began on Wednesday with the UN's sacking of the Italian general in Somalia, Bruno Loi. The UN accused him of taking orders from Rome rather than from the unified UN command in Mogadishu. But the legal basis for the sacking is not clear. Whether the UN has the right to fire the commander of a peace- keeping contingent was under discussion, a spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, said yesterday.

Rome refused to recall General Loi immediately, which is what Mr Boutros-Ghali wanted, and, instead, sent a military delegation to Mogadishu of the Italian army deputy chief of staff, Gen Bruno Buscemi, and a foreign ministry envoy, Maurizio Moreno. The Italian Foreign Minister, Beniamino Andreatta, said his deputy, Bruno Bottai, would visit New York to discuss the matter with Mr Boutros-Ghali.

The question is whether the UN humanitarian effort in Somalia should be engaged in a search-and-destroy mission of Gen Mohamed Farah Aideed, the fugitive Somali warlord, or whether it should try to negotiate with Gen Aideed as part of an overall struggle to fight hunger and restore a viable civilian government. The UN holds Gen Aideed responsible for the killing on 5 June of 24 Pakistani peace-keepers.

Italy has criticised the UN's handling of its 'peace enforcement' operations in the former Italian colony, especially an air strike on one of Gen Aideed's compounds on Monday. The International Red Cross say 57 Somalis were killed in the strike. Four journalists were then killed by an angry Somali mob. Rome believes such action jeopardises the UN operation.

The position of the UN - and the US - is that the UN mission will fail unless Gen Aideed's faction is disarmed. They regard him as a thug who is causing choas in Mogadishu while the UN operation to combat hunger is going well elsewhere in the country. The US is sending David Shim, a Somalia expert, to Rome to talk to the Italians.

The UN's decision to remove Gen Loi brought an angry reaction from Rome. 'They asked for Loi's head at a moment of clear emotion. For us there is no question of his withdrawal from Somalia,' said Gen Buscemi.

MOGADISHU - Italian troops 'received and returned fire' in north Mogadishu, a UN military spokeswoman said yesterday. It was an ominous sign that the month-old conflict in the southern sector of the city is spilling into an area previously thought safe, Reuter reports.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all