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Brazil's Patriota Speaks on Eastern Congo, Criticizes NATO, Qs of Syria

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 6 -- Brazil is the country that championed "Responsibility While Protecting" in the wake of NATO's bombing of Libya; it is also the country of UN "cowboy" Force Commander in Eastern Congo Carlos Alberto Santos Cruz.

  Inner City Press asked Brazil's foreign minister Antonio de Aguiar Patriota about each topic, NATO and Eastern Congo, on Tuesday afternoon at Brazil's Mission to the UN. Video here and embedded below.

In his speech to the Security Council, Patriota had said that "under the leadership of Brazilian General Carlos Alberto Santos Cruz, MONUSCO will play its role in the protection of civilians. The military component, however, should be seen as a tool in support of a political strategy, and, as Special Envoy Mary Robinson mentioned, 'one part of a comprehensive approach that embraces security and development.'"

Inner City Press asked Patriota what he thought of the abortive disarmament ultimatum announced by them: Carlos Alberto Santos Cruz and the Tanzanian commander of the Intervention Brigade. Patriota first asked who this "they" was, then on script said it was part of a consensus Security Council resolution.

The Intervention Brigade was, but it not clear that the ultimatum was. Rwanda continues to say that Mary Robinson was not informed in advance of the ultimatum; the Free UN Coalition for Access has asked Mary Robinson's foundation is this is true, without a response yet.

  Patriota said that the Congolese conflicts have been "festering too long," with "women suffering violence of all kinds." This is true. But if for example the rapes in Minova were committed by the Congolese Army, the 41st and 391st Battalions, how is continued UN support to these units designed to end or even limit such harm?

  In a quote sure to please some, Patriota said that there should be diplomatic pressure on countries instigating and fueling conflict. That is his position, which one assumes applies equally or more to those countries arming and funding rebels in Syria, for example.

  Patriota praised agreements in Addis Ababa, but said they were "not implemented."

  On NATO, Patriota said the ambiguity is created by its non-inscription as a Chapter 8 regional organization, and its claimed right to project force beyond the borders of its members. Patriota asked, what if other countries banded together this way?

   What indeed. He did not answer about Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Memorandum of Understanding with NATO; see Inner City Press exclusive story here. That has yet to be disclosed - something the Free UN Coalition for Access intends to work on, including via its advocacy for a UN Freedom of Information Act. Watch this site.


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