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On DRC, Ladsous Speaks of M23 "Licking Wounds," Refuses FDLR Q

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 12 -- When UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous came Thursday for what turned out to be a mere four-question "press conference," there was a lot of history in the air.

Not only the history of Ladsous refusing to answer Press questions about the 135 rapes in Minova by his partners in the Congolese Army, but bigger picture Ladsous' own history in the region, having as France's Deputy Permanent Representative in 1994 argued for the escape of the genocidaires into Eastern Congo.

  Since the FDLR militia members are the descendants of those genocidaires, one expected Ladsous when describing the work of the Force Intervention Brigade under his comment to at least mention this group along with the M23 rebels.

  But instead, Ladsous explained with obvious relish how M23 has suffered casualities and is "licking their wounds," and only for that reason wants talks in Kampala. Video here, from Minute  19:06.

  Ladsous went on to brag the Congolese president Joseph Kabila has expressed gratitude to the UN Mission MONUSCO. But why not, if the UN is help kill or inflict casualities on Kabila's enemies?

  Before Thursday's press conference, Inner City Press sought out Ladsous' spokesperson and told him it would endeavor to ask a simple question about the Intervention Brigade, which it hoped Ladsous would answer.

  Well, Ladsous did not take any question from Inner City Press. Only four questions were asked, one of them wasted -- that automatically and indefensibly given to the UN Correspondents Association president, Pamela Falk of CBS who asked a typically US-centric or -obsessed question about Russell Feingold.

  Only on DRC, the selected questions asked how badly M23 has been hurt, and why Ladsous' drone isn't getting up faster. Ladsous blamed this on procurement rules -- strange, since the winner was long ago announced, seeming to end the procurement process.

 This question was from the servile wire to which Ladsous spoonfed his spin on the rapes in Minova by his partners -- they had two reporters in the press conference, ready to serve, as they say.

  This was the last question, and Ladsous got up to go. Inner City Press asked, Will you target the FDLR? Video here at Minute 26. Ladsous should answer that question, but did not.

  Likewise he should answer what accountability there has been for the 135 rapes in Minova, since he is still supporting the 41st and 391st Battalions who did the rapes. After Ladsous left and Inner City Press asked, Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesperson Farhan Haq said this is a question for the Congolese authorities.

  But earlier on Thursday, when Inner City Press asked the new chief of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka about the Minova rapes she said give her a month, and ask her about it again.

  And we will -- and will continue to cover UN Peacekeeping and therefore Herve Ladsous, despite ham-handed attempts to censor by denying access. The worsening case of Herve Ladsous is one for the Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info. Watch this site.


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