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French PR Delattre Takes No Question on Burundi, Mali, CAR, “I Have to Run”

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 3 -- When French Ambassador Francois Delattre said he would answer answers about his upcoming month as UN Security Council president, it seemed that Central African Republic and Burundi, to which Delattre has planned and controlled a Council trip he calls important, and former French colonies on the Council's agenda like Mali and Cote d'Ivoire could be asked about.

   But no.

  Instead, Delattre's press attache steered between Agence France Presse and Le Monde, Gulf media and the Reuters wire which had already planted a Libya naval embargo question with the UNCA head for whom the first question was set aside.  (The Free UN Coalition for Access opposes such self-serving set-asides.)

  No question was taken about any of the former French colonies which fill up the agenda of the Security Council and of UN Peacekeeping, which France has controlled four times in a row.

 There is a history here, which one hoped would be just that, history, but which there will be other times to review. Will Delattre always "have to run"?

  (Inner City Press has asked questions at all of the last Program of Work press conferences held by other presidencies, going backwards: China, Chile, Chad, Australia, etc.)

   Recently under Herve Ladsous, who relatedly refuses Press questions, UN Peacekeeping has hit new lows, with for example an OIOS investigation showing that Deputy Permanent Representative Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire has taken bribes to sell UN post in MONUSCO in the DR Congo -- which has again refused to fight the FDLR -- and in MINUSTAH in Haiti.

  That document -- in French -- Inner City Press has put online here, as credited by, for example, The Independent (UK).

  Delattre said that the anti-Boko Haram Multi National Joint Task Force is very important to France. But in March 3 Program of Work is it only a footnote - and, significantly, it was not even a footnote in France's draft Program of Work of February 24, which Inner City Press published here.

  At the end, Inner City Press said clearly, “One question on Burundi?” It chose that because the Security Council is traveling there this month, and France “has the pen” on the country.

  But Delattre shrugged and said, in English, “I have to run.”

  Here are France's draft “Terms of Reference” for Burundi and Central African Republic (and the African Union visit) which were leaked to Inner City Press by a country not enamored by France's domination of peacekeeping for its former colonies:

France's African Trip Draft "Terms of Reference," Burundi, CAR, African Union by Matthew Russell Lee

 What about the Cibitoke massacre in / by Burundi? We'll have more on this.


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