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Vol 40 No 24

Published 3rd December 1999

The blue helmets return

Weak mandates and lack of resources have hobbled UN operations - new missions in Congo and Sierra Leone face the same constraints

In Africa, a dozen wars are simmering, affecting more than 200 million people, and the United Nations is committing itself to an unprecedented series of peacekeeping and monitoring operations. The blue helmets are heading for Sierra Leone; a mega-mission is being prepared for Congo-Kinshasa; there is heavy Western pressure to keep a foot in Angola's door; further - much further - down the line, plans must be made for a mission in Eritrea-Ethiopia. And, delayed again until December 2000, the UN is due to hold a referendum on Western Sahara. UN intervention failed miserably in Angola, Rwanda and Somalia. Why are the interveners back?

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