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On DRC, UN Calls Ceasefire a "Distraction," No Answer on Kabila, Still, Response in Full

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 18 -- After a ceasefire between the M23 mutineers and the Congolese army fell apart this week, on November 13 Inner City Press asked the UN, who broke the ceasefire? An answer was promised, but never provided.

  Then outside an emergency November 17 Security Council meeting on the aftermath, M23's movement toward Goma, Inner City Press asked UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, "Who broke the ceasefire?"

  But Ladsous refused to answer or even respond to the question. Video here, from Minte 3:47 to 3:57.

  And so on November 18, Inner City Press asked the UN in writing,

Saturday at the Security Council stakeout USG Ladsous... unlike Security Council President Hardeep Singh Puri and French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud, refused to answer or even respond to either of the two questions I asked him, I am asking you at least this, on deadline:

1) Why didn't Ban Ki-moon speak with DRC President Kabila yesterday, since he spoke with Rwandan President Kagame about the DRC?

2) What is MONUSCO's and Ladsous' knowledge of the facts alleged by M23, that FARDC violated the ceasefire on November 9?

3) Please describe, on this November 9 and thereafter, the military engagement of MONUSCO, including any impact on civilians, which FARDC units MONUSCO has supported, directly or indirectly including with air support, and whether these units were subjected to and passed the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy that ASG Simonovic has publicly described.

  Five hours later, the UN issued a statement by Ban Ki-moon's spokesman denouncing M23's advance, but not answering if Ban had reached Kabila (and if not, why not), nor about the ceasefire. Inner City Press wrote a story.

  More than three hours after that, a Department of Peacekeeping Operations spokesman sent a response, still not answering at all on the UN reaching Kabila as Ban reach Rwanda's Paul Kagame. The response doesn't directly answer on the ceasefire, either, instead calling the question a distraction. But we publish his UN DPKO response the response in full, less than an hour after it was sent:

Subject: Your drc questions
From: Kieran Dwyer [at]
Date: Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:28 PM
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at]
Cc: Andre Michel Essoungou [at]

Dear Matthew, your questions on the DRC have been forwarded to me by the Secretary-General's spokesperson's office. I will leave it to [the S-G's Deputy Spokesman] to respond on the matter of Secretary-General telephone calls, your first question.

On your second question, about media reports of the M23 group alleging that the FARDC broke a ceasefire on 9 november - I would refer you to both the Security Council statement yesterday and the Secretary-General's statement today: the United Nations is clear in condemning the resumption of attacks by M23. The rest is a distraction from this fact and that we are calling for an immediate cessation of these attacks.

On your third question, on the engagement of Monusco, Monusco is engaged in robustly implementing its mandate to protect civilians. The mission is acting in support of the fardc in this regard. On saturday and today this has included deploying its attack helicopters to protect civilians. Monusco is in Goma, and has deployed 17 quick reaction units throughout goma city and is conducting patrols. Monusco is defending the town of Munigi, in support of fardc troops. Monusco is operating fully in accord with its mandate. There will be updates tomorrow, this is what I have for you now. Regards, Kieran Dwyer

  We certain appreciate responses, even if the first question is not answered at all, and the second question is called "a distraction" rather than answered.

  But this would not have been necessary if DPKO chief Herve Ladsous had simply answered Press questions, as Hardeep Singh Puri before him, and France Ambassador Gerard Araud after him, did.

  Ladsous' fellow UN Under Secretaries General including OCHA's Valerie Amos and the Department of Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman answer Inner City Press' questions, the latter on precisely the type of possible conflicts of interest that Ladsous refuses as "insulting innuendo."

  Instead, Ladsous directed the cc-ed DPKO spokesman Andre Michel Essoungou to tell UN staff to keep the microphone away from Inner City Press, before even hearing what the questions were. The first question was about the ceasefire. Video here, from Minte 3:47 to 3:57.

  Mr. Dwyer, certainly hard working, has previously as Ladsous' direction demanded that Inner City Press remove from the Internet an quote mentioning Ladsous given to Inner City Press on the record by the Permanent Representative of a Permanent member of the Security Council.

   Ladsous is bringing DPKO and the UN low. We'll have more on this tomorrow, just as DPKO promises more. And why DIDN'T Ban Ki-moon speak with Joseph Kabila? Watch this site.

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