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French Drafted Statement on CAR Doesn't Have Bozize's Exit Or Child Soldiers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 11 -- Just after the UN Security Council was briefed Friday morning about the Central African Republic, the French Mission announced that the Council would issue a press statement.

  Unlike last Friday's CAR fiasco, UN Television left their camera up.

  But as later afternooon arrived, still there was no Council statement on CAR. A Council source told Inner City Press, they're still working on it. Then after 5 pm, Council President Masood Khan of Pakistan emerged to read the statement.

  There was less media interest than last Friday on CAR, or yesterday on Mali, another failing former French colony. In fact, only Inner City Press posed questions to Khan about the statement, three of them in total.

  Inner City Press asked if the statement meant the UN Security Council was taking note and relying on President Bozize's commitment not to run for another term in 2014. Khan said, we didn't get into that level of detail.

  To some that seems problematic, since it's Bozize's failure to follow through on previous agreements that had led in large part to the current crisis.

Inner City Press asked if anything is being done to finally find a chair for the UN Peacebuilding configuration on CAR, a position left open for months as the European Union has tried to get it despite opposition since it it not a UN member state.

  The EU could have known this would be raised, given the fight involving CARICOM and others to the EU trying to speak before member states in the General Assembly.

  Khan said there is work going on in this regard but that he didn't have the details. Earlier on Friday an EU source told Inner City Press they still want and deserve the chair, as the largest donor, but they're waiting to see how this most recent Libreville agreement is implemented.

  Finally Inner City Press asked Khan about sexual violence in conflict envoy Zainab Hawa Bangura having recounted how a planned remobilization of child soldiers from the CPJP rebels went bad, with the children moved at the last minute and the rebels insisting that girl child soldiers were wives of the combatants.

  Inner City Press asked, will the UN follow up on these particular child soldiers?

  Khan said Council members had been outraged. We'll see.

  Too often the UN and Security Council do not follow up, on such specific cases like for example the case of the 126 rapes by the Congolese Army in Minova and DPKO's Herve Ladsous refusing to answer which FARDC units were there, and if MONUSCO works with them.

  That one is directly in the Council's (and OHCHR's) purview -- yet nothing has yet be done. And what about these proffered then withdrawn child soldiers and sex slaves in the Central African Republic? The Council heard about them, and they continue in captivity. Will they simply be forgotten? Watch this site.

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