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At UN, Amid Congo Castration and UN Buckpassing, UK Denies Dithering

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, November 11 -- To explain his government's refusal to speak with renegade general Laurent Nkunda, the Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Ambassador to the UN Atoki Ileka told the Press on Tuesday that Nkunda's forces "rape women and castrate the men." These words were spoken, in French, at the microphone in front of the UN Security Council, inside which the Department of Peacekeeping was asking for 3000 more peacekeepers.

  Since reports of war crimes dog the government at least as much as Nkunda's rebel forces, Inner City Press asked both Council President Jorge Urbina and head Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy if the UN's MONUC force can use force against the Congolese army if they attack civilians. Both men said yes, along earlier in the game a non-governmental organization's expert on the ground in Goma told Inner City Press that in practice, MONUC won't.

  UK Ambassador John Sawers said that a key is that the Hutu rebels known as the FDLR have to be disarmed and repatriated to Rwanda, or relocated elsewhere in the Congo. Inner City Press asked him if Rwanda has done enough to provide assurance that these rebels can go home.  Sawers said that Rwanda should do more.

UN's Alain Le Roy with Minni Minawi in Sudan, France-Rwanda issues not shown

  Inner City Press asked Sawers to compare the UK's fast and active response to strive in Sierra Leone in 2000, when the UK sent special forces troops, to what's been called its "dithering" and even blocking of a European Union mission. Each situation is difference, Sawers said, you know that. Then his Congolese counterpart spoke of rape and of castration.

  The question of France's role, in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and since, is one that three NGOs at the UN on Tuesday admitted means France is a problematic role, in the Security Council and elsewhere, on these issues. Inner City Press asked Alain Le Roy, who was named head UN peacekeeper after France made it clear it considers the post, won in exchange for voting for Kofi Annan, to be permanently its property, what he thinks of France's role, and the arrest this week of Rose Kabuye, an aide to Rwanda's President Paul Kagame. "You'll have to ask France," Le Roy said. But French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert was nowhere to be found...

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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