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As DRC Refuses "Agreement" with M23, US Foggy on Format, Font or Pink Paper?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 14 -- Both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda have vied for support of the US State Department for their positions on the M23 and FDLR rebels.

  Now with the DRC government saying it will not in fact sign any agreement with the M23, only a declaration since they view the M23 as illegitimate or criminals, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was asked about the issue late in Thursday's briefing.

  Reading from notes Psaki said the DRC and M23 have not agreed on the format. There followed questions of if this meant the "font" or even "pink paper." Psaki said she would have to check.

  Admittedly, the US State Department has a lot on its plate. There were dozens of questions about Iran negotiations, about Israel, Syria, Pakistan and even belatedly on drones. But in terms of human casualties, Africa's Great Lakes top all of these. (We say "Africa" because after the question was called "Great Lakes," there was mention of US Lake Huron.)

  So how and where will the US (belated) position on the difference in the Kampala talks between agreement and declaration be known?

  Recently for a State Department briefing about, yes, the Great Lakes, Inner City Press inquired how to be put on Foggy Bottom's media list. The US Mission to the UN, whose UN responses we acknowledge, said on this to ask a former Mission staffer now promoted in DC; this led nowhere.

  A cold (or test) call on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access as well as Inner City Press yielded that these lists are only for big or "mainstream media" -- with that not even defined. Which might be OK (not really) except for things like on the Great Lakes on Thursday. It's not easy, we're sure. But as was elsewhere admitted in DC on Thursday, it can be done better and fairer. And that should happen. Watch this site.


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