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As UNSC Adopts M23 Statement, UN Doesn't Answer if Helps Bomb National Park

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19, updated -- At 4 pm on Friday the UN Security Council held a short meeting with a single speaker, Council president Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala, reading out a 12 paragraph Presidential Statement on the Democratic Republic of the Congo that was drafted by France.

  Several Council members joked to Inner City Press that they were sure the M23 rebels -- and the FDLR and Mayi Mayi, one said -- were watching this Presidential statement on UN Television, "on their plasma TV screens," the other said.

  The statement expressed support for the MONUSCO mission, condemned the M23 mutineers for setting up "parallel structures" and warmed external actors against funding or assisting them.

  Yet another Council member snarked, what if the Council issued this type of warning regarding rebel groups in other countries.

  After the statement, which mentioned the Resolution 1533 Sanctions Committee Group of Experts, Inner City Press asked President Rosenthal to confirm receipt of a filing by Rwanda about the Group's coordinator Steve Hege.

  In 2009 writings Hege was dismissive of the threat posed by the FDLR; once Inner City Press identified and linked to the writing, it was removed from the Internet without explanation.

  Rosenthal said the filing had gone to the Committee but had not yet surfaced to the Security Council. Since each Security Council is already represented on the Sanctions Committee, they have certainly seen the filing. What is the method for consideration and response?

  At Friday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked MONUSCO and indirectly about what is called the UN's "human rights due diligence policy" --

Inner City Press: a question about the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The army there, the FARDC, has said that it is bombing the Virunga National Park, that it is in some fighting, and I am just wondering, given MONUSCO’s [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] role sometimes in helping such action, is this a military operation in which MONUSCO is participating?

Spokesperson: I will check. I don’t have anything on that, Matthew, but I will check.

  Five hours later by close of business and deadline no answer was provided. Watch this site.

Update of October 22, 2pm -- even after the weekend, and after DPKO boss Herve Ladsous had refused to answer any Inner City Press question, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky had no answer to Friday's question. Meanwhile, candidate Romney online called DRC's "regime... brutal or inept." This view is not in the Security Council's Presidential Statement - or recent actions...

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