U.N. apologizes to Belarus

UNITED NATIONS, March 2 (UPI) -- The United Nations apologized to Belarus Wednesday for wrongly saying it had broken an Ivory Coast arms embargo by giving attack helicopters to Laurent Gbagbo.

"This [is a] troubling event and a mistaken report," U.N. Undersecretary-General Alain Le Roy, head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, said in a release.

Le Roy said the faulty information came from a report given to the panel established by the U.N. Security Council to monitor the arms embargo against Ivory Coast regarding three attack helicopters and related equipment that were going to be delivered to forces loyal to Gbagbo, who has been voted out of office but clings to power.

"I presented on behalf of DPKO and the United Nations our deep regret and apologies to Belarus and I welcome particularly the fact that the Belarusian authorities have reconfirmed their full compliance with the embargo."

Le Roy issued the public apology after meeting with Belarusian Charge d'Affaires Zoya Kolonta.

Belarus has confirmed that none of its private companies is engaged in any arms deal in Ivory Coast, Le Roy said, apologizing for any harm caused.

"It was UNOCI making the wrong report and of course as head of DPKO I take the blame for that."

Gbagbo has refused to leave office despite opposition leader Alassane Ouattara's U.N.-certified victory in November's run-off poll.

Since then, Gbagbo loyalists have attacked U.N. convoys and civilians in Abidjan, and U.N. officials warned of a possible resumption of civil war.


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