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On DRC, 1 Country Pushed Back 5:30 Vote, ICP's Told It's US, On Outside Support

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 20 -- After Goma fell to the M23 mutineers without the UN's MONUSCO mission doing anything, at the Security Council on Tuesday France let it be known they wanted their draft resolution to be voted on by 5:30 pm. They describe their resolution as demanding that the M23 "disband," which seems unlikely.

  But after a closed door 3 pm meeting on Gaza broke up, French Ambassador Gerard Araud confirmed that "one country has invoked the rule of twenty four hours;" he said that meant the vote could be put off until 2 pm on Wednesday.

  Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice, as she left the Council, "What about DRC?"

  Ambassador Rice replied, "We're working on it," then continued up the stairs.

  Searching wherever possible for information on this, well placed Security Council sources say the "one country" is the United States, on several bases: that the references to outside support have not been proved, and questions about Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointing some new envoy.

   Another concern raised to Inner City Press is that Troop Contributing Countries should be further consulted on a change of mandate.

  More generally, just as the Security Council's Gaza process involves waiting to see what happens with the ceasefire talks in Cairo, on the DRC there's a move to wait and see what is agreed in Kampala, where DRC President Kabila, with whom Ban Ki-moon has not spoken, is meeting with Uganda's President Museveni and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame.

  The UN's role in the DRC has increasingly been one of failure. UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous has refused to answer "who broke the ceasefire" between the M23 and the Congolese army FARDC. He directed his spokesperson to tell UN staff to keep the stakeout microphone away from Inner City Press when it asked this question on Saturday, November 17.

  The next day another DPKO spokesman told Inner City Press that who broke the ceasefire was just "a distraction." No, it's a factual question, that still hasn't been answered.

  After the fall of Goma, on November 20 Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey, who made the decision for MONUSCO to not fight, and when?

  Del Buey replied, "the Force Commander on the ground decides what is best for safety of civilians, if to risk a firefight or hold fire" or "make sure you are observing and keeping records."

  Given the billions of dollars spent on MONUSCO and MONUC before it, one should be able to expect more than "record keeping."

  To many it is not credible that this decision, this glaring failure of the UN, was left up to the force commander on the ground. M23 had been advancing on Goma, this time, since at latest November 15. It pulled back and gave an additional 24 hour.

So where was UN Peacekeeping chief Ladsous? Since he won't answer Press questions, why not a video briefing by Ban's DRC envoy Roger Meece or the force commander Del Buey was referring to? The UN put Meece on a video teleconference, belatedly, after UN inaction on the mass rape in Walikale. Why not now? Watch this site.

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