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Burundi Delay Capping Bardem Denial, Araud Out in July for Audibert

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 -- After reporting on the French Mission to the UN's troubling languor when faced with an April 3 cable from Burundi about the distribution of AK-47s to the Hutu Imbonerakure youth wing, word reached Inner City Press of the belated replacement as French Ambassador to the UN of Gerard Araud -- by Jacques Audibert, by July. It could not come a day too soon.
   Beyond the April ritual of opposing human rights monitoring for the UN's MINURSO Mission in Western Sahara, which even former envoy Peter van Walsom is urging President Francois Hollande to support, Araud is primed to speak about the Central African Republic resolution on April 10.

   Back on March 6 Araud denied the existence of a report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, dated January 20, that in the Central African Republic the French Sangaris force's disarmament of the ex Seleka left Muslim communities at risk of attack.

  Araud said, "There is no Navi Pillay report." But here it is. Earlier this week, when Inner City Press asked Pillay at the Security Council stakeout, she updated than fully 80% of Muslims have been displaced in and from CAR.

  Araud has said that Javier Bardem is lying when he quotes Araud saying that Morocco is France's "mistress." Araud's denial of the existence of Navi Pillay's report -- or statement -- puts his denial of the Morocco as mistress quote in a different light.

So too does Araud's angry claim in January that a New York Police Department document Inner City Press published after asking Araud's mission for comment is a fake. It is a New York Police Department incident report, here.

  In that case, it is Araud's claim that since the French diplomat Romain Serman -- now France's consul in San Fransisco -- claimed diplomatic immunity after being detained for attempted purchase of cocaine, it was not a real arrest record. But to yell that it is a "fake" and threaten to sue? Click here for that.

  Likewise, perhaps Araud means that Pillay's statement, which is on the Office of the High Commissioner's website, is not a report because it is a statement. But to claim, after walked away from the stakeout microphone without taking the question, that there is no Navi Pillay report?

   So what really is Araud's argument about Bardem quoting him that Morocco is France's mistress, on Western Sahara? Did Araud say it, but slightly differently? Will at least this question be answered, before July?

  Audibert has been active on the P5+1 Iran nuclear talks and other matters on which we'll have more. For the French Mission to the UN, it could be a (somewhat) fresh start. Watch this site.


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