tv Documentary RT January 16, 2014 3:29am-4:01am EST
it was a suitable person for that job but you know it's more about doing the job done that is what it's about so you don't think that the french diplomats bring anything special to the table in this regard i think maybe experience because. professional diplomacy is an asset and that sort of job i would say well speaking about experience and professional diplomacy you're worth for your friends diplomatic service for a number of years before joining the united nations and forgive me for saying but some people would find the french and gauge went into world affairs not always conducive to peace and what i mean here is in a french role in the suez crisis in the a wand and genocide more recent gauge ment's in iraq in libya in mali some would say even the recent sabotaging of talks with iran and i'm not going to ask you on the french policy is i know that you wouldn't comment but i would like to ask you
how challenging did you find that transition from being a french diplomat somebody who has to defend french policies to being an international official who has to defend peacekeeping because some would argue that these two objectives may be at odds sometimes on the first part of your common let me just remind you that in mali early this year france had not intervened we would know of a potential afghanistan right in the heart of a. very close to europe so i think from this is a country that can take its responsibilities and live up to them but mr let's as i think some would argue to that point that if france didn't intervene it wasn't so active in intervening in libya may not have had the malice situation later on oh i don't think there is direct connection there is a problem in libya that is clear but again go back to. three years ago two and
a half years ago it was not just from sit was a number of countries who thought that. khadafi. come to the end of his. time in that position and the atrocities that were committed needed some strong reaction from the international community and that by the way was a subject of two resolutions voted at the time by the security council no i think when you look at the world you see the number of problems number of crisis that call for a special sense of responsibility in particular the permanent members of the security council indeed all those decisions those resolutions voted upon by the council are usually voted unanimously which reflects the consensus of the international community i think that's totally true but at the
same time i think many experts foreign policy experts would point to the fact that if it wasn't for very close association that in the libyan administrations the cut off the administration and for example sarkozy administration got off may not have stayed in power for so long now when you were a french diplomat you were quoted as saying that france will take whatever action is necessary to meet its defense needs and in and of itself it's not a controversial statement we can hear it from president putin from president obama from president assad probably from president along but isn't that ultimately the brute cause of many international conflicts these days that the countries believe that their defense needs and our security concerns outweigh everything else no because i think it's been consistently the case for several decades that also countries live by values. amongst foremost use of the needs to
protect the people to defend the civilians to defend human rights and this has become increasingly a problem in the world community but also a reflection of the present times that what's maybe you could have lived with or tolerated twenty or twenty five years ago nowadays you simply cannot it's a very interesting point and that would like to pick up on that the before we go there i know that in one of your interviews he said that the nature of modern peacekeeping has changed dramatically in recent years and if previously peacekeepers were present only concerned with monitoring peace deals in that post conflict there barmen nowadays there are increasingly asked to operate in a high risk environment while the violence is still raging i wonder why do you think that is it because you intervene earlier on maybe because the nature of conflicts changed i think there are many aspects to your question yes the nature
of the conflict is changing increasingly no we do not face a situation where there are two states face to face or situations where it is non-state actors who create the problems look at the armed groups in the eastern part of the democratic republic of congo are we to stay motionless when these people have caused over almost twenty years four million people killed millions of displaced and refugees tens of thousands of women raped tens of thousands of children recruited as soldiers or slaves no i think this is reality and also i think there is an increasing expectation that we should go in situations where previously we would never have gone last year we were asked to go to syria with a mission of observers to observe a ceasefire which lets. it never really existed and after
a few months we decided to call it a day because i could foresee the moment when we would have killed many killed it was actually a miracle that nobody was killed in those. fightings between the army and the opposition groups even mali we have non-state actors we have jihadists we have transnational organized crime drug dealers people dealing with. human beings and they are transnational that's even a new maybe a new phase but this is the reality of the twenty first century i would like to dwell on base idea of early intervention that you alluded to supposedly observer at the bigger disaster i know that the un it was heavily criticized for its inaction in a one in its inaction in congo and that may be one of the reasons why i felt the need to intervene so swiftly in libya and that intervention as you mentioned was
authorized by the u.n. security council it not only allowed to regime change in that country it also how to significantly deteriorate the security station not only in libya but all around the region that your own department had to create additional missions to mitigate that threat and before we go into the specifics of that of that mission i would like to ask you about this idea of the united nations acting preemptively is it an efficient way doesn't it create more problems than it solves because you know look at least it's not a pretty picture. i think intellectually one cannot disagree with that prevention is always better when you look at the recent period maybe only one situation where preventive diplomacy really worked it was a year. in the ninety's so desirable as it would be. more
often than not. the international community takes time to react people take time to make decisions we are facing exactly the situation these days in the central african republic where everybody agrees that there is a military and disaster in the making that things are getting very ugly confrontation between religious denominations more and more terrorists jurgis also probably getting involved so the sooner we can get involved i think the better while i bring you back to the same point in syria in libya rather the united nations acted fairly quickly faster than in many other conflicts but as they had of the un peacekeepers i presume that you know the main issue that here concerned with is preserving peace and peace while being something very general could be objectively measured in terms of the number of people being killed the
number of people being abducted the number of people being sent to prison without trial the number of people trying to leave the country and on all those parameters libya is much worse off now than it was even three years ago you can we cannot really argue about because it's recognized by all and yours operating in the country and by the country's current government itself saw. well we have to ask this question of what is the best strategy of preserving peace because as you said in some countries the world community waited too long and too many people were killed but in this particular case it acted too quickly and still a lot of people are suffering yet obviously in libya it was not a matter of peacekeeping it was a coalition of countries who thought that enough was with enough that huge number of civilians were about to be massacred and that action was needed and they got a sort of a green light from the security council but it was never never considered that this
should be a place for united nations peacekeeping so we're talking about to diffuse thing is still have the mission there and they the goal of that mission is a political mission not a peacekeeping mission it's very different it's about mediation good offices trying to mitigate some of the problems you know mine action because there's a lot of explosive ordinance around it's about trying to work to consolidate the regime of human rights that would be more compatible with what one would expect it's about strengthening the rule of law but it's not about peacekeeping has never been but all those objectives that you mentioned how do you really achieve them in an environment where militia groups and i know that from your previous operations in africa militia problem has always been
on the top of your agenda and in syria this is really taking to the extreme because militias are part of the government and if you want to strengthen the government you strengthen the lish but that doesn't lead to you know good governance at the end so how do you really do that practically and well i think it's about several things coming together you see peacekeeping is off to zero. two for fundamentally a political process it's about supporting an agreement which exists or which is emerging or which will emerge hopefully between two protagonists in a political crisis this is why in the case of syria obviously one would hope that yes a political process a political solution and merge and we might if it is so decided common to support the efforts of stop it as a show of the country mr lott says we have to take a short break now but when we come back the united nations security council has
been locked over syria for over two years but as the government and the militarized opposition closer to talks what are the chances of a peacekeeping mission in that country that's coming up in a few moments on worlds apart. previously peacekeepers for at present our concerns with monitoring peace deals in post conflict environment nowadays there are increasingly asked to operate in a high risk while being lead by loans to lead. to stay. motionless with these people has caused over almost twenty years four million people killed millions of displaced and with g.'s tens of thousands of women raped tens of thousands of children recruited as soldiers will slaves no.
on june sixteenth one thousand forty one we had a graduation party at school and the war broke out. always full of good. in september leningrad was plucked. one day mom went to sort it all the shelves were empty. in the. warehouses it was the main storage place for all the food in the city people eating because it had small traces of sugar in it i try to eat it as i
couldn't. credibly every bombing. was a direct shelter and everyone was buried underneath. all of them with. welcome back to worlds apart and we're discussing the challenges of maintaining peace with the u.n. undersecretary general for peacekeeping operations her. mr let's. before we start discussing syria i would like to ask you about one recent. mission the one in mali and i know that in some of your previous interviews you referred to the
side that the french government was fighting against in mali as quote extremist jihadist but i never heard you use the same language in either the libyan conflict or the syrian conflict and i wonder why is that do you believe that those groups in those countries are categorically different. in terms of that gender or methods of operation we don't have operations peacekeeping operations there in libya or in syria present in mali have to deal with the reality and indeed when you look at the people from. an islamic maghreb people of mucho i think it's one has to agree that there are jihadists they are extremists and they have the closers of connections when they are not the same persons also trafficking in cocaine and human beings also hostages and the like but i know that you also travel
to syria i think you were in damascus honest mistake and you were at home so you are asked frequently about your views on the. on the station there and i think a series after all you know a conflict of definitions how we define. groups and how we define i would not disagree that there are jihadists active in syria but there are also opposition groups who are nationalists who are members of the muslim brotherhood you've got i believe know it's more than two thousand position groups in total but it's a complete mosaic and i think you have the whole spectrum of ideologies of beliefs of also agendas. of course agree with i know that you were the first high ranking u.n. official to describe the conflict in syria as a civil war it happened back in june two thousand and twelve and the syrian foreign
minister was very unhappy that they even put out a statement saying that it wasn't a civil war and what was happening in syria is a war against armed groups that chose terrorism do you still hold that view that what we are seeing in syria is a civil war i was not expressing myself as a lawyer i was expressing most of us a witness and you know to quote the american phrase when it looks like a duck when it walks like a duck when it talks like a. what is it if not the dark and i think nobody would disagree no the. huge drama look at the number of victims look at the situation in the whole country i think nobody would disagree that it's. one of the greatest tragedies that we have in the world today but you do understand that when you describe a conflict as a civil war. it not only has certain legal implications for both sides but it sort of puts those two sides on equal level in
terms of the legitimacy of the struggle and i think the united nations. has treated this issue very carefully over the last two years and resisted both french and american attempts to legitimize the militarized opposition and legitimize the means of that they have chosen for probably very legitimate political aspirations so i think when you refer to the conflict in syria as as a civil war you're actually breaking the ranks with your own boss bank and one who was very careful on that issue i think there comes a time when one has to call. the thing what it is you know and let's face it you know the problem is how do we get over this huge problem i know that you actually looked into that issue your department has developed some contingency plans and you said before that the implementation would depend on the political breakthrough it
now seems that there is a small chance for a political breakthrough do you think that chance could be increased through the participation of the peacekeepers and if so what form that participation could take it away rob you know what we can say as of today. syria is not a theater for potential peacekeeping right now because of the level of violence because of the absence of civil peace peacekeeping means exactly what it's called you know we have to be there when there is a peace to keep to serve to help along there is no such thing at this time so the first thing the first imperative is to get political process and the political solution of the ground and this is ways such hopes high hopes are placed in indeed
geneva two but even if there is some sort of temporary ceasefire of the life that we had previously it would still be a very dangerous sooty and it cannot be i think there would not be agreement to have what we call a chapter seven. operation it would be something short of dirt in an environment which would undoubtedly be dangerous worm which would call for quite a substantial quantity of heavy equipment protection armored vehicles and all that well all this will have to consider when we come to that now you may dislike my next question but i will risk asking it anyway i spent quite some time in. syria and often staying in the same hotel as the u.n. personnel some of the previous missions and what struck me really was how. perhaps if they are about their own security and what i mean by that is that sometimes they would spend days and in
a luxurious hotel in the gym by the pool without living the promises of that hotel and when they did go out there their security would be indeed very tight there it would involve what our kids and i think. in some way would significantly limit their exposure to both sides of the conflict and obviously none of us has a death wish but as a journalist at least i can tell you that you know if you want to accomplish anything if you want to bring the story you have to take calculated risks and my question to you is whether you think. that your department may need to adopt its policies on security and its approach to the efficiency of your operations if you indeed want to have a lasting impact well three comments first of people not deployed for the sake of being killed they are defending peace they do take risks and unfortunately every
year we have dozens of people killed but when the situation becomes you know so volatile so dangerous you will not take the responsibility to to expose deliberately people who do you very disproportionate risk if their own lives around they're already there and those missions they don't come cheaply. or peacekeeping operations has increased this year again and it's around seven point five billion dollars and we are in in a time of austerity so i think it's a legitimate question to ask what are we getting from those peacekeeping operations what you're getting is the example you refer to say we're not sure. many many civilians who was saved because of people went into harm's way to simply pull them out from a very difficult situation that doesn't make the headlines getting three hundred people out of a school which is being bombarded by either side by the way negotiating one or two
hour truce and pull them back to safety that is a sort of thing they've been doing and they've been doing as i said with no casualty which was very fortunate but millett me tell you with significant psychological effect and i took special measures afterwards to help those from countries where it is not sufficiently incorporated in this national system to provide them with the services of appropriate psychological counseling so no i think i maintain our people do take risks. sometimes quite a lot but they would not go and throw themselves deliberately into a totally explosive situation because that would be unreasonable not many of our viewers know that but many peacekeepers themselves come from very volatile places
bangladesh nigeria ethie all p.-a rwanda pakistan and only i think four point five percent of peacekeepers came from the european union the last of our one percent found the united states and yet it is primarily western countries that will the lot of power at the u.n. security council that authorizes your mission do you think is it fair shouldn't all countries sign that people in harm's way proportionally if they go all of the united nations i thought it would you agree with you that this is no satisfactory solution i do not think it's sustainable and since i took up the job over two years ago. i've been talking to all countries especially from the northern hemisphere to tell them look realize that many of you are heavily engaged in afghanistan with that by the way should change in two thousand and fourteen with the pull out so
please do come back to the united nations peacekeeping we need you. to defense ministers of the european union to merica to others and that's what i came over so to moscow for to show the russian federation and country from the collective security treaty organization that we need that we need commitment we need to engage more men women and also their equipment now speaking about their equipment i was surprised to learn that some of your missions use unmanned aerial vehicles drones for monitoring for example your mission in this time congo if i'm not mistaken and you argue previously that it's a very efficient way of monitoring now given what we already discussed the security concerns and the cost of having peacekeepers on the ground isn't that
a way for your department to go i mean we could get a much better quality of monitoring for less money without putting people on the ground do we need actual peacekeepers in all those dangerous places i think first that has not happened is going to happen in the next a couple of weeks that we have the first no no it's an armed drones surveillance only flying over the congo and i do hope that in the future we can do that in other missions but being aware of what's happening being able to get pictures of people moving where the bad groups refugees or sort of you get much better information but then you have to act and this is where the peacekeepers have to. intervene especially when there are difficult to monitor and situation refugees being bombarded pushed around killed raped whatever this is where the human capital of peacekeeping kims comes into play mr rat says this is all we have time
for a really appreciate your candor and if you like the show please join us again same place same time here on worlds apart. millions around the globe struggle with hunger each good. what if someone offers a lifetime food supply no charge they carry sub take in the very strong position against them all and we think that. the genetic anymore the right products are priest to tool that there is no. evidence to
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the presence of u.s. troops in afghanistan beyond two thousand and fourteen is thrown into doubt after the latest killing of civilians by american forces. moscow pushes for an equal role for iran at this month's international peace conference on syria as the russian foreign minister hosts meetings with his iranian and syrian counterparts. and as the n.s.a.'s mass surveillance antics draw unwelcome comparisons with this stop sea of east germany our team talks to veterans of the feared and revered cold war spy service to find out just how much the two have in common.