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France's UNSC Month, No FDLR Fight, No Gao Report, No Yemen IDP Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- For France's month as President of the Security Council, its Ambassador Francois Delattre held the normal Program of Work press conference. But when asked an Africa question at the end by Inner City Press he said, “I have to run.”

   Delattre repeated this at his first media stakeout of the month on March 4 on Mali, telling Inner City Press, I'm sorry, I have to run, I know it's the second time. Video here, Vine here.

   As the month wore on, even though his spokesman made a point to call on someone, anyone, rather than Inner City Press, Delattre found it easier to take the questions, often prefacing them with “les fideles” (the faithful, meaning, those actually at the UNTV stakeout to ask questions).

   But let's review some answers, or the lack of them. Throughout the month Inner City Press asked about UN peacekeepers' having shot at demonstrators in Gao in Mali. Delattre did not directly answer; his spokesman answered via Twitter that making the report public will be up to the Secretariat of Ban Ki-moon.

  Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about the report - which was supposed to be presented in March - on March 30 and was told it is not ready, there was no answer on if it will be made public.

 So much for transparency, including of UN Peacekeeping run four times in a row now by France.

   Nor were there any answers during the month on the outright SALE of UN Peacekeeping posts in the DR Congo and Haiti by Deputy Permanent Representative Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire. Inner City Press scoop series here. So much for accountability.

  On March 19, Inner City Press asked Delattre about UN Peacekeeping having waived its stated human rights due diligence policy in order to support DRC generals fighting the Lord's Resistance Army, but refusing any waiver, as an excuse NOT to fight the Hutu FDLR militia. This question was dodged, at best, story here. So much for consistency.

  Bigger picture, this is the problem with a colonial power like France controlling UN Peacekeeping for so long. We'll have more on this.

  By month's end, an outstanding issue was the airstrikes against the Haradh IDP camp in Yemen. Inner City Press asked Delattre at his March 30 stakeout about the issue; he said it had not reached the Council. Video here.

  Later in the day he said this was the last meeting, merci. They adjourned with their friends and perhaps even Ladsous and scribes who ask no hard question or questions at all (by Delattre's logic, should these be called "les infideles"?) for the last time to France's Park Avenue apartment, being replaced by a “mere” brownstone in the East Fifties.

  And those shot in Gao, used in DRC and Haiti, and bombed in Yemen? Let them eat...

Note: in fairness, or tellingly, this was still better than the last French UNSC presidencies. This is perhaps a step along a road. Onward and upward.


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