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In DRC, Will M23 Deal Be Signed, Will FDLR Be 2d or Mixed with Mai-Mai?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 6 -- After the UN Security Council met Wednesday behind closed doors about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Gerard Araud if France expects the DRC to go forward and sign an agreement or accord with the M23.

  Araud replied that the DRC is now hesitating, but told Inner City Press to ask the UN and its peacekeeping mission. Minutes earlier, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told Inner City Press the UN still expects an agreement to be signed. So which is it?

  Meanwhile while Araud at the stakeout said that there was agreement that the UN Mission MONUSCO must now go after the FDLR militia, sources in the meeting tell Inner City Press that some tried to mix the FDLR in with other militias like the Mai Mai. The FDLR should be second, they said. It seems some others do not agree.

  Inner City Press asked the DRC Permanent Representative about the 135 rapes in Minova by the Congolese Army, Battalions 41 and the US-trained 391st Battalion. He replied that MONUSCO is reporting on these -- in fact, the UN has repeatedly told Inner City Press to "ask the Congolese authorities," as it tried on Wednesday.

  Inner City Press followed up, it has been almost a year since the rapes, last November 20. The DRC Permanent Representative said the case is ongoing. We'll see.

  Araud said if the UN Force Intervention Brigade in DRC is a test of a new approach for UN Peacekeeping, this should be reviewed, perhaps at a retreat. Next stop would seem to be Mali, where France insists it will leave in January, leaving the UN's MINUSMA behind.

For a longer analysis of this trend in UN Peacekeeping by this author, on, click here.

From the French Mission to the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: Is it Franceís expectation that the government of the DRC would actually sign an agreement with the M23 ? Also what do you make of Ambassador Powerís proposal of having a court, some kind of domestic or international court. She said in a statement yesterday that there should be no impunity. Would you support such a court and should it apply also to the Minova rapes units of the DRC army or only to M23 ?

Amb. Araud: As for the proposal of the court I donít have any idea because I did not hear about it. So I cannot respond to this part of the question.

For the first part of the question, there wonít be a signing. What I understand from what Martin Kobler explained, the idea is not the signing of an agreement but there will be a sort of document. I understand that both sides donít accept now the idea of an agreement. But there should be a sort of understanding which could be agreed between both sides. You have to ask more precisely the question to Martin Kobler, to the Spokesperson of MONUSCO because it appears there are some hesitations on the side of the DRC authorities, now that the rebellion movement has been crushed, to sign a sort of agreement between equals. But at the same time the DRC authorities have reaffirmed they will behave in good faith for reconciliation.


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