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DRC Cites "Genetic Signature" of Rebels, Of Hate Speech, ICP Asks UN & US

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 25 -- In the UN Security Council Thursday morning, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's foreign minister Raymond Tshibanda said that rebellions in the Great Lakes region for years have "all bear the same genetic signature" (la meme signature genetique).

 Inner City Press has put the speech online here.

  Given the mass killing of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 and events since, this line was quickly seen -- mostly by people outside of the UN -- as hate speech or worse.

  Inner City Press wrote to the top three spokespeople of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was present during the remarks, and asked if Ban (or his envoy Mary Robinson, also present) "have any comment on the DRC foreign minister having said in the Security Council that all Great Lakes rebellions 'bear the same genetic signature'? "

Ban's spokesperson's office chose to hold its noon briefing precisely while Rwanda's foreign minister was given a speech which, among other things, criticized the UN mission MONUSCO. While after advocacy by the Free UN Coalition for Access they answered some questions off-camera in their office, they had no answer to yesterday's Inner City Press questions about Congolese Army bombing of and killing of civilians in Rumangabo and Kavodo.

  Did UN Peacekeeping, led by its fourth Frenchman in a row Herve Ladsous, even go to the site? There was no answer. It is noted that Ladsous, while France's Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN, argued for the escape of genocidaires from Rwanda into Eastern Congo. This is the context, and location, of the "genetic signature" remark.

  Inner City Press wrote to two spokespeople for the US Mission to the UN, where John Kerry will meet with Syrian rebels later on Thursday, asking if Kerry or new US Great Lakes envoy Russ Feingold or Acting Permanent Representative DiCarlo, all present in the Security Council Thursday, have any comment on the DRC foreign minister having said in the Security Council that all Great Lakes rebellions 'bear the same genetic signature'?"

  Kerry made what some described as a slip of the tongue at Thursday's photo op with Ban Ki-moon, saying (as transcribed by the US Mission) that "both leaders in the region, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas, have made a courageous decision to try to return to final status talks. And it's my hope that that will be able to happen as procedures are put in place by both countries in order to empower that."

  Some were surprised Kerry referred to Palestine as a country (it is, we note, an Observer STATE at the UN.) But Kerry's remarks were off the cuff. Tshibanda's "genetic signature" statement was in a prepared speech, which Inner City Press is putting online here. Watch this site.


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