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On Killings of Peacekeepers in Darfur, UNSC Members Engage, Letter in 24 Hours?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 24 -- When the UN Security Council met on Darfur on Wednesday afternoon, already five UN peacekeepers had been killed there just this month, and two more taken hostage two months ago.

  After the meeting, Inner City Press asked Mark Lyall Grant, Ambassador of the UK, "penholder" on Darfur, what could or would be done about the killings in Darfur, of peacekeepers, IDPs and others.

  Lyall Grant said it is very serious, and that the Security Council plans some action in the next 24 hours. Inner City Press asked, a press statement? Lyall Grant responded, mentioning a letter.

  Later Pakistan's new Permanent Representative Masood Khan emerged and Inner City Press asked him the same question. While emphasizing that Pakistan will continue to contribute peacekeepers, he said "we are also engaging them on how best to go about it."

  If UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous refuses to answer Press questions about these killings of peacekeepers in Darfur, as happened October 22 after Ladsous had said things are getting better in Darfur, here's hoping that the Security Council, or if necessary specific troop contributing members like Pakistan or India or South Africa, can "engage" or hold DPKO accountable.

Here is DPKO's own transcription of Ladsous on October 22:

Question (Matthew Lee, Inner City Press): A question about Sudan. You said that you are right-sizing the Darfur force, but it seems like five peacekeepers have been killed there this month – first four at the beginning of the month and then a South African recently. And at least it seems that the attack was done with anti-tank guns and other very serious weaponry. What steps is UNAMID going to take to protect the peacekeepers? And also the peacekeepers that you have in Kadugli in Southern Kordofan, I wanted to know do they have any at least observing mandate? Can they, if they become aware of fighting or attacks on Kadugli? I heard that you mentioned in the Council in the South Sudan, Sudan briefing, you mentioned stuff about Kadugli, is that as DPKO or simply passing it on from others?

USG Ladsous: Mister, I told you already that I would answer your questions when you stop making insulting insinuations about me. Thank you.

Question (Matthew Lee, Inner City Press): What is insulting about these questions? Peacekeepers are dead. Can you answer the question?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Moving on.

Moving on? Watch this site.

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