UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The Security Council moved on Jan. 29 toward scaling back U.N.
operations in war-torn Angola in a retreat that reflected the problems of its expanded
global peacekeeping duties since the end of the cold war.
From Angola to Cambodia to former Yugoslavia, U.N. peacekeepers have been taken hostage,
killed, wounded and stranded as they try to ensure observance of cease fires, fair
elections and shipments of emergency food.
The peacekeepers blame the Security Council for not giving them proper enforcement
power: the Council blames Boutros Boutros-Ghali for not asking for the proper mandate,
and Boutros-Ghali, the U.N. Secretary-General, often blames the warring parties.
But as Boutros-Ghali said on Jan. 27: "the very fact the United Nations has
been so much criticized, and the secretary-general has been so much criticized, this
is proof that the United Nations acted."
For decades, the United Nations was stymied by superpower vetoes and accused of inaction.
With the former superpowers now cooperating, the United Nations has more than 40,000
blue-helmeted troops from 61 nations doing U.N. duty in a dozen operations on four
Angola is one of the trouble spots for the United Nations. The security council sent
714 observers and others to the African country after helping arrange a cease-fire
between rebels and the government in 1991.
But the fighting flared again in October, and the Security Council on Jan. 29 debated
a resolution that would scale back the operation.
The other big headache at the moment is Croatia. Boutros-Ghali has hinted he may
withdraw some, or all, of the 16,000 peacekeepers posted there.