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At UN, Malcorra M23 Meeting Panned, Angolan Presence in Bukavu Acknowledged

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 28 -- After the UN Security Council extended Congo sanctions on Wednesday morning for another 14 months, Congolese representative Ileka Atoki then his Rwandan counterpart spoke in the Council chamber. Dysfunction was on display.

   Rwanda made a pointed reference to some Security Council members' "escapades" in the Great Lakes region. Chief among these would be France. Notably, sitting in the chamber now representing UN Peacekeeping was Herve Ladsous, who was France's Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN during the Rwanda genocide in 1994.

Afterward in front of the Council the references became clearer, with the Habyarimana regime, which France in 1994 supported, being named.

Further details emerged about Tuesday's closed door consultations, after which Ladsous refused to answer any Inner City Press question, including what his MONUSCO did while the Congolese Army committed at least 21 rapes in Minova.

  The photographs Ladsous showed were called "pathetic." It emerged that Susana Malcorra claimed that in her visit to Makenga in Goma she saw weapons indicating external support. "Since when is she a guns expert?" it was asked. "These are just DPKO talking points."

  Inner City Press has been exclusively told that France confronted Malcorra and asked her by what right or authority she spoke with the M23 rebels. One Council member mused, what about the rebels in Syria?

  When French Ambassador Gerard Araud left the Council on Wednesday, Inner City Press asked him, to be sure, if France supported Malcorra meeting with M23.  It is already happened, Araud said with a smile. "There is no question of supporting, she has already done it."

   The more nuanced argument is that the Security Council is undermining the decision of the International Community of the Great Lakes Region, the type of regional organization the Council says it supports. The ICGLR said among other things that the Kabila government should address the legitimate concerns of the M23.

  It emerges that in consultations, a member insisted that is only one legitimate force in the DRC: the government. This is NOT what that government says about the government of Syria, it was pointed out, so it is a position of politics, not principle.

  Also afterward, Inner City Press spoke with Ileka Atoki of the DRC, asking about the rapes in Minova, which Ladsous refused to answer about. (Previously, Ileka Atoki has referred to UN peacekeeper's baisodrome on the Congo, their sexual exploitation.)

  Ileka Atoki to his credit expressed concern that the military leader sent to Minova might be too hard line.

When Inner City Press asked Ileka Atoki about reports of Angolan troops in Bakuvu, positing that these must have been false, Ileka Atoki told Inner City Press exclusively, "not so false, a line had to be drawn."

  Inner City Press asked, but what about the sanctions and arms embargo on the Congo?

Ileka Atoki replied that there were there only as part of the (future?) Innernational Neutral Force. He said that the UN Security Council should listen more to SADC than the ICGLR, since SADC will be providing the troops.

So are some major members in the UN Security Council picking which regional group to purport to support? And how can the head of UN Peacekeeping get away with refusing to answer questions about his peacekeepers' inaction while the FARDC they partner with committed at least 21 rapes in Minova? We will have more on this. Watch this site.

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