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In France's UNSC Month, No Burundi, CAR or MINURSO, Eritrea Covered Up

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- With France in June presiding over the UN Security Council, topics it didn't want to come up, didn't. France is the penholder on Burundi, but did nothing during its month to push forward.

Sources say it will, next month, half-heartedly appear to push for the deployment of some 200 UN police, winking at Pierre Nkurunziza to reject them. A French minister visited Bujumbura and nothing came of it, nothing was announced.

  So too on Western Sahara. After Morocco expelled more than 80 members of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission, during France's month nothing was announce. Ambassador Francois Delattre amiably told Inner City Press of “positive momentum,” but as the month ends, nothing.

  Delattre specially mentioned to end of the month of France's presidency when Inner City Press on June 29 asked about Eritrea's letter to the Council about fighting on its border with Ethiopia. Delattre said France's month is ending and so nothing be done. When the French Mission transcribed the June 29 stakeout, they entirely omitted the Eritrea question, quite audible, Vine video here. And so it goes: entre amis.

  On the scandal of rapes in Central African Republic by peacekeepers from France and from the UN, justified by France's fourth head of UN Peacekeeping in a row Herve Ladsous, nothing was done during the month.

As Inner City Press has reported elsewhere, there's talk of Ladsous leaving - not as should happen for linking rapes to R&R, but so France can install a fifth head of peacekeeping in a row, making it a fait accompli to the Next SG.

When Ladsous refused to answer why his DPKO let weapons into the Malakal camp in South Sudan, French deputy Alexis Lamek at least offered some answer, here. But when UNMISS did not open its gates as 43 or 400 civilians were killed, no Security Council meeting was called. Oh, Protection. Delattre did in fairness speak about Colombia and North Korea, here.

Back on June 1, Delattre took questions on the Program of Work, from six media outlets.

Obvious topics like Yemen and the alleged sexual abuse in the Central African Republic including by French troops did not come up among the selected questions. When the press conference was abruptly curtailed, Inner City Press asked, “Western Sahara?” Delattre smiled and said, “On travaille” - we are working. But on what?

The major theme of France's month atop the Council was peacekeeping. But Morocco's ouster of more than 80 members of the MINURSO peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara is a direct challenge to peacekeeping. Many thought that France, which has controlled UN Peacekeeping four times in a row now, would be more active in response to this ordering-out of a peacekeeping mission.

  The sexual abuse in CAR, too, puts UN peacekeeping, and the parallel French forces, in a negative light. These are topics Inner City Press will be pursuing, particularly during this month. They are fair questions and should be answered.

It must be noted that Herve Ladsous, France's fourth head of UN Peacekeeping in a row, refuses to answer Inner City Press' questions; this type of response to critical questions led, for merely seeking to cover an event in this same UN Press Briefing Room, to Inner City Press being ousted (audio here) and evicted from its long time UN office, video here, New York Times here.

This was raised to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on June 27, here. Les droits de l'homme. 

   On Yemen, an NGO filing in Geneva accuses France of violating international law and its obligations, as the number one supplier of arms to Saudi Arabia which is bombing Yemen.



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