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UN's Ging Rings CAR Alarm, Doesn't Want Military Escort, Ladsous Behind Walls

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 29 -- The Central African Republic has been falling apart; in August the UN Security Council took no action on its due to the vacations of senior diplomats from France, which "holds the pen" for the Council on the CAR.

  Now Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proposes 250 troops, then 560, as security in the country. Inner City Press asked John Ging, the operations director of Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, if the idea is to use these troops to protect aid workers.

  No, Ging said. "On the guard force, it will be deployed in support of the security of UN staff on the ground. For us on humanitarian side of the UN, we will not engage the guard force excepy as a last resort. We don't want to be escorted in our regular duties."

  This is what some aid groups in the Eastern Congo have been telling UN Peacekeeping: they don't want to be seen as part of a military response, particularly in the Congo where the UN has become a party to the conflict.

  But even in CAR, Ging said, they want a firewall between humanitarians and military security. Ging said the force might be called if "offices are under attack."He said, "we try create a security environment based on an acceptance culture in communities built around delivery" of services.

  This seems honorable, as does Ging. Inner City Press thanked him for the Free UN Coalition for Access for doing a briefing about his trip, and suggested that other Departments -- UN Peacekeeping of the taciturn Herve Ladsous, and the Department of Political Affairs under Jeffrey Feltman -- should also start or revert to doing briefings on trips.

  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Martin Nesirky, as soon as Inner City Press said other departments should do briefings, cut in as if to block like a wall and said, "What's your question?" Video here, from Minute 21:29.

  Well, Ladsous' predecessors Alain Le Roy and Jean-Marie Guehenno do them; Ladsous is in another former French colony, Cote d'Ivoire. Will he return and take questions? Watch this site.


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