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As Kiir Moves on Bentiu and Machar Accuses Uganda, Ban Praises Them

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 28 -- Amid reports of attempts to "retake Bentiu" and to re-retake Bor in South Sudan, and after Riek Machar accused IGAD-member Uganda of bombing troops loyal to him, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued this statement:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Sat, Dec 28, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Subject: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the outcome of IGAD Summit

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the outcome of IGAD Summit

The Secretary-General welcomes the outcome of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit held on 27 December, appointing a mediation team to work with the Government of south Sudan and opposition in reaching a cease fire, the release of the detainees and building toward a process of peaceful dialogue.

The Secretary-General commends IGAD for its work and offers his full support to this process.

The United Nations stands with the people of South Sudan and will continue to do everything within its means to protect civilians at risk and provide necessary humanitarian assistance.

All violence, attacks and human rights abuses must end immediately. The Secretary-General reminds those responsible that they will be held accountable. He calls on the Government and all concerned to ensure the rights and security of civilians are protected.

New York, 28 December 2013

  It sounds fine, but what about Bentiu? What of Machar's allegations against IGAD-member Uganda? As set forth below, what about the areas including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from which peacekeepers are being withdrawn?

  And, in light of Ban's spokesperson's apparent selective pre-distribution of a Ban statement about Japan, South Korea and China to some media 13 hours before others, did this one similarly go out in stages?

While the UN has refused to answer Press questions about the foreseeable impacts of moving peacekeepers out of the Eastern Congo, Darfur, Abyei and even Cote d'Ivoire, on December 27 it uploaded to YouTube a video featuring 72 Bangladeshi UNPOL peacekeepers arriving in South Sudan from now less-protected by unspecified parts of the DRC.

  The Bangladeshi move, approved quickly by prime minister Sheikh Hasina whom the UN has purported just a week before to be pressuring for flexibility in upcoming elections, was meant to show how seriously the UN takes the protection of civilians.

   But what is being left behind in the Congo? Why not answer that question? See longer form analysis on Beacon Reader, here.

  The UN Security Council, whose president for December Gerard Araud told Inner City Press that the impact of the shifting of peacekeepers had not been discussed, was slated to here from the UN's envoy to South Sudan Hilde Johnson on December 27.

  But that session was canceled, so that Johnson could go to the IGAD meeting in Nairobi and presumably make Salva Kiir's case.

  Now it is re-scheduled for 10 am on December 30. At least the Council is meeting on South Sudan -- with 11 peacekeepers killed this month in Central African Republic, the Council barely meets on it.

  France's president Francois Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban -- location undisclosed -- had a telephone chat and different read-outs on December 27. Hollande said he wants the UN to play a more important role (read, pick up the slack, save the bacon, cut and run) and Ban Ki-moon promised to consult with the Security Council on the coming days.

  But where is he? The UN will not say, despite a request from the Free UN Coalition for Access. This, the UN tries to erase -- or Ban -- from its transcripts, click here for that. Now, Ban's spokesperson gave some media a statement on Japan, South Korea and China between 7 and 8 pm on December 27 -- then emailed it to others, including the Press which has earlier asked about the tensions, a full 13 hours later. And so it goes in Ban's UN. Watch this site.


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