A propos of Richard’s post on how the French used to behave in Cote d’Ivoire, let’s not forget how another member of the Security Council P5 – Russia – is behaving right now. Why, you might wonder, should Russia be blocking moves in the Security Council to step up the international community’s level of intervention in Cote d’Ivoire?
Concerned about implications for its own restive regions, such as Chechnya, Russia has traditionally sought to thwart Security Council actions regarding nations’ sovereignty. But one western diplomat said Russian considerations over Ivory Coast were “90 per cent about oil, 10 per cent about sovereignty”.
Lukoil, Russia’s second biggest oil producer, has stakes in three deep-water blocks off the Ivorian coast, part of a largely untapped 1,000km oil frontier. Lukoil acquired its interests during Mr Gbagbo’s rule and changes of power in Africa have often been followed by reviews of oil and mineral rights.