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As Chirac Slams UN in DRC, Ladsous Cited by AFP But Not Held to Account

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 25 -- When former French president Jacques Chiraq was presented on Christmas Day in Le Monde and Agence France-Presse as deeply concerned about the Congolese, Inner City Press returned to Chiraq's memoir "My Life in Politics," recently published in English (though hardly reviewed anywhere).

  Nowhere in the memoir's six page index is there any mention of the Congo. The longest reference to Africa concerns the Bokassa and the Central African Republic, which France left in the terrible shape it finds itself today.

  So when Chirac could have done something for the Congo, he did nothing. Now long out of the limelight, promoting a book, he reappears as an opportunist. calling on the UN Peacekeeping mission MONUSCO to do more.

  Signing with him are, among others, Francophony minister Yamina Benguigui, Rosario Dawson, Muhammad Ali, Eve Ensler, Jonathan Demme, Angelique Kidjo and Valerie Trierweiler of the Danielle Mitterrand Foundation.

  AFP's Christmas story, emphasizing Chirac's call for the UN to fulfill its mandate, adds a quote from UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous last week that MONUSCO is on alert and reinforcements would be sent if necessary.

  The AFP story does not note that Ladsous served on one of AFP's boards; click here for a recent French-language profile of Ladsous.

   But at the UN last week, as the weeks before, Ladsous refused to answer Press questions about the Congo, specifically about 126 rapes in Minova by the Congolese army which Ladsous' DPKO supports.

  Click here for Ladsous' December 18 "seize the microphone" video; click here for his November 27 "hallway service" video, including Ladsous retreating to the hallway to brief a reporter from AFP and two others whom he has collaborated with.

   Despite the belated grandstanding, some feel, if France really wanted to do something for the Congolese people it would replace Ladsous as head of UN Peacekeeping.

  Not only does he refuse Press questions - in the past week there have been two separate killings of four peacekeepers each time, and Ladsous has not come forward.

   His predecessor Alain Le Roy, also French, would invariable come and speak after such incidents. Ou est Herve Ladsous? And where should he be? Watch this site.

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