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New on UNSC, Chad Sends 2 To Meet 10 of UN, Koenders on Nahibly, Conflicts?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 17, updated -- Hours after Chad was elected without competition to the UN Security Council, its foreign minister Moussa Faki Mahamat went up to the UN's 38th floor to meet Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The previous day, Inner City Press had asked Ban's envoy to Mali Bert Koenders about the gang rape allegations against Chadian soldiers serving in the UN Peacekeeping mission MINUSMA. Glaringly, the issue had not been mentioned in Koenders statement to the Security Council.

But at the UNTV stakeout, Koenders answered Inner City Press that the rape charges are being investigated, and witnesses not allowed to leave Mali, so they can be interviewed by Chadian authorities.

Inner City Press included this in a second story, while not there evern noting that Koenders' supervisor Herve Ladsous, as head of UN Peacekeeping, has continued to support Congolese Army units implicated in 135 rapes in Minova. But that is relevant, in assessing Koenders response to rape charges in Mali.

Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat was accompanied Thursday only by his country's relatively new Permanent Representative to the UN, Mahamat Zene Cherif.

  The UN on the other hand had no less than ten people present for the meeting, including Koenders, Ban's chief of staff Susana Malcorra, UN human rights deputy Ivan Simonovic and Herve Ladsous' deputy Edmond Mulet. Tweeted photo here.

Before the meeting started, Koenders approached Inner City Press and said, Monsieur, I answered that for you, why did you write that?

Inner City Press explained it wrote one story based on Koenders' statement to the Council -- which did not address the rape charges -- then a second one after the Council meeting was over and Koenders took Inner City Press' question at the stakeout.

Koenders also said that the answers on the killings (and UN inaction) at the Nahibly camp in Cote d'Ivoire, his last posting, were all in press conferences that he has given. But who has been held accountable, including on the UN side given reports that peacekeepers did nothing, even pushed IDPs off their truck in order to get beaten? This has not been answered.

But by answering at the stakeout, and this further answer a day later, Koenders is at least different from Ladsous, who outright refuses to answer Press questions, including on rapes by his parnters in the Congolese Army. Video here; UK New Statesman article here. Stonewalling cannot (be allowed to) benefit the UN.

 Also, Inner City Press does speak with UN Envoys, officials and diplomats off the record. But that was neither requested nor implied here. The answers on Nahibly? We hope to have more on that.

Ban started this Chad meeting with chit chat, then instructed two of his staff members (including one who until recently served in the Security Council that Chad will join in January) to sit on Chad's side, in "solidarity." Tweeted photo here.

The Press was escorted out. But one is left with a question of how the different pushes and pulls are handled. The Secretariat actively wants Security Council members to vote in certain ways, for example to approve or accept Ban Ki-moon's proposals on Syria.

At the same time, the Secretariat is charged with speaking out on the use of child soldiers, on sexual violence in conflict, on impunity. There are potential conflicts of interest here, to say the least. We will have more on this. Watch this site.

Update: Past six pm the following readout came in:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org
Date: Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 6:28 PM
Subject: Readout of the UN Secretary-Generalís meeting with H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad

The Secretary-General met today with H.E. Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad. The Secretary-General congratulated Chad for its election as a non-permanent Member of the Security Council for a two-year term, beginning on 1 January 2014. They discussed the overall situation in the Sahel. They also discussed the situation in Mali and in the neighbouring Central African Republic, including the planned Extraordinary Summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).

No mention of Darfur, much less of the alleges rapes by the Chadian troops with the UN's MINUSMA in Mali...


 

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