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UN Top Peacekeeping Post Given to Herve Ladsous, "The Other Frenchman," Despite or Due to Bonnafont's Bragging

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 2, updated -- After leaving the UN's top peacekeeping job vacant for four weeks, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday as expected named a Frenchman to the post, but not the Frenchman who had been bragging that he had the job, Jerome Bonnafont.

   Inner City Press had been the first to name Bonnafont, and quoted Indian diplomats to whom Bonnafont bragged he had the job.  Even in front of the Security Council on Friday morning, the departing spokesman for the French Mission to the UN was unaware of dark horse candidate Ladsous.

  So were others in the French political world. On August 20, Inner City Press published a card of congratulation directed to Bonnafont at the UN in New York from French Senator Jean-Marie Bockel.

  But at Friday's noon briefing, the name read out was Herve Ladsous. Inner City Press asked Ban's new deputy spokesman Eduardo del Buey to describe the selection process, and whether any of the finalists had not been French. His answer was general, that all UN selections like the one through which he got his job are transparent.

  But the top peacekeeping job, and most Under Secretary General jobs, are different. Kofi Annan "gave" DPKO to France as part of being Secretary General. From Jean-Marie Guehenno the post went to Alain Le Roy and now to the third Frenchman in a row.

   Owning UN Peacekeeping is useful to France: just this week in Paris, Nicolas Sarkozy bragged of his country's military action in Cote d'Ivoire as well as Libya. As reflected in documents exclusively obtained and published by Inner City Press, France has no problem using DPKO to advance its economic interests, click here for examples.

  Who is Herve Ladsous? He was French ambassador to Indonesia, then a spokesman and diplomat in Paris, then Ambassador to China.  He appears in a 2006 Wikileaks cable about Sri Lanka, telling the US that he is angling to get appointed to an Ambassadorship in India -- where Bonnafont went -- or China. He does not appear to have any military experience.

  Tellingly, he was France's "deputy ambassador to the United Nations in New York."  We'll have more on this.

Ladsous, Bonnafont and selection process not shown

Here is the referenced Wikileaks cable from 2006:

"French MFA A/S equivalent for Asia, Herve Ladsous. Ladsous said that the GoF had no objections in principle to forming the two working groups, though, he added, France would probably not insert itself into a leadership position. He said that the GoF would support the formation of both working groups and noted that the group charged with examining LTTE financing would be of particular interest to the GoF given France's significant Tamil population... Ladsous mentioned that he was angling to become the next French Ambassador to China or India."

  And the rest, as they say, is history. We'll have more -- watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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