Documents Show Cote d'Ivoire Strategy at UN of France on Liberia, Mali
& Even San Francisco
Russell Lee, Exclusive
April 8, updated -- With Cote d'Ivoire's defiant Laurent Gbagbo
surrounded after French and UN military action in Abidjan's Cocody
neighborhood, internal French government documents obtained by Inner
City Press and published exclusively today paint a picture of
France's communications with the UN Mission UNOCI, its analysis of
the politics of Guillaume Soro, Liberia and the Malian press, even
its recycling of a French diplomat arrested in New York as France's
new general consul in San Francisco.
document, France's Force Licorne (Unicorn) wrote to the Special
Representative of the Secretary General about Gbagbo's import of
heavy weapons. Click here to view. More recently, France is accused
of violating the arms embargo by providing and facilitating weapons
to the forces of Alassane Ouattara.
is an internal French cable detailing the Financial
Organization of the Rebellion, down to a “racket” of shaking down
money for taxi licenses.
document, France bemoans the failure of a visit of three African
heads of state to Cote d'Ivoire, including Nigeria's Obasanjo and
South Africa's Thabo Mbeki now active in Sudan, complaining that this
situation can be prolonged until the international community decided
to “impose a solution.”
document, France analyzed and critiques South African policy toward
Cote d'Ivoire and Gbagbo.
document, France analyzes Liberia's foreign policy as pro-American.
More recently, a purported interview of a Ouattara commander
describing coordinating with a French citizen working with the UN
Mission in Liberia has surfaced.
document, France analyzes the “discrete attitude” of the Malian
the largest set
of documents published today -- there are more -- France details its
work in the UN Security Council on resolutions concerning the UN
of the French
diplomats involved was Romain Serman, who was later arrested by the
New York Police Department. See arrest sheet and
here. Then French Ambassador de la Sabliere, to “avoid a scandal,”
sent Serman back to Paris.
in 2010 he was
re-assigned to the US, as general consul in San Francisco. And so it
Update at 1pm, April
8: at the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to describe how UNOCI has
allowed Licorne to lobby it and attend its meetings, and if other
countries have been allowed.
he would not comment on leaked documents, and also directed Inner City
Press to ask the (French) chief of the UN Department of Peacekeeping
Operations, Alain Le Roy. Watch this site.
* * *
on Cote d'Ivoire, Buzz of Martyrdom, Arms Embargo Violations,
April 7 -- The talk at the UN about Cote d'Ivoire on
Thursday was confused, ranging from predictions of Laurent Gbagbo's
impending martyrdom to a few belated hopes, of continued support from
Angola and even a Permanent Five member of the Security Council,
dissatisfaction by South Africa which was said to be sending 100
special forces troops.
Mission to the UN space event Thursday afternoon, Inner City Press
spoke with a dozen Ambassadors about Cote d'Ivoire. Some were most
concerned with their own diplomats
still trapped in Abidjan. Others
spoke of reports of arms shipments to Gbagbo to airports outside of
the day's noon
briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's
spokesman Martin Nesirky for the UN's response to the Canard Enchaine
article reporting that France armed Ouattara's forces, who were
allowed to sell gold and buy weapons in violation of the embargo.
article also describes helicopters of the UN or Force Licorne blowing
up a supermarket in Cocody.
answer about violations of the arms embargo, and of Cocody said that
the UN was defending itself and taking out heavy weapons. But who
gave Ouattara his brand new heavy weapons?
asked top UN humanitarian Valerie Amos, fresh back from Duekoue, to
respond to criticism of the UN peacekeepers for not moving to protect
civilians there, and to Ouattara envoy Yousoufou Bamba's
characterization of the NGO Caritas as “pro-Gbagbo” for alleging
told Inner City Press to ask Caritas about its numbers. But what
about the attack on this NGO as being biased pro-Gbagbo? Amos would
only say that the UN works with Caritas - she would not criticize,
apparently, anything on the Ouattara side, including broadsides
against humanitarian NGOs.
had told Inner City Press she hadn't heard about the lack of medicine
in Abidjan due to the EU sanctions that led to no ships in the port.
spoke Thursday about the independence of humanitarian work,
for the UN right now, at least in Cote d'Ivoire, it all seems to move
in lockstep. The unanswered questions is not if but now badly this
will impact the UN's credibility going forward. Watch this site.
From the UN's
April 7 transcript:
Inner City Press: On
Côte d'Ivoire, there was obviously, there is this incident of the
French freeing the Japanese ambassador; I am wondering if you have, if
the UN played any role in that. And also that the Canard
Enchaîné has come out with a report saying, among other
things, that the helicopter attacks — it doesn’t say whether it was UN
or French — blew up a supermarket in Cocody and that, essentially
implying that France has been arming the [Alassane] Ouattara forces in
violation of the arms embargo for some years. And I wanted to
know what the UN’s response is to that pretty detailed article.
Spokesperson Nesirky: On the first, the operations that have been
going on to help evacuate diplomats and other civilians are obviously
coordinated. As I mentioned to you, UN Mission staff peacekeepers
went to the Novotel hotel, where journalists have staying and they had
requested assistance. So, obviously it is coordinated; and either
Licorne — the French forces — or UN peacekeepers are carrying out
missions; it depends on the location and a number other factors.
On the reports that you referred to, I would simply say that the
operation that has been carried out was specifically aimed at
preventing the use of heavy weapons and that’s what took place.
So, what’s your next question?
Inner City Press: I have just one follow-up on that. Does the UN
have any knowledge of France providing weapons to the pro-Ouattara
Spokesperson Nesirky: I have said what I have to say, Matthew