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French Vacations Victimize Central African Republic Again at UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 1 -- While some in the UN system wring their hands about the urgent situation in the Central African Republic, in the UN Security Council the country is a victim of the well known French penchant for August-long vacations.

  France has claimed for itself "the pen" on CAR, Council-speak for drafting statements and resolutions. Several Security Council members told Inner City Press on August 1 that while last month's Council president, the United States, had expected France to finally draft a resolution on CAR during August, that will not happen.

  Members were surprised when France, with Permanent Representative Gerard Araud having missed the most recent General Assembly session on Syria and his Deputy Martin Briens long not seen, indicated it could not or would not produce any draft resolution on their suffering former colony at least until September.

 (Inner City Press last week asked the French Mission by e-mail if France thought the Geneva Conventions apply to the UN Intervention Brigade in Eastern Congo; no answer. Today, the Free UN Coalition for Access asked France by another medium shouldn't its Ladsous disclose which Congolese Army units he support. No answer.)

  In the past, another Permanent member chided France when during an August heat wave, doctors refused to return from vacation to treat the thousands of elderly suffering and dying. Here, if diplomats can be considered doctors, Central African Republic is a victim of vacation. Again.

  Back on March 13, with the Seleka rebels on the offensive, taking at least two towns near CAR's Congolese border, Inner City Press asked the UN's envoy to CAR Margaret Vogt if she wants renewed Security Council action, if she was in New York for that. No, Vogt answered, she was in New York on vacation. Click here for more from that time. Watch this site.


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