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On DRC Fighting, French Araud Says "Great, Exactly What We Were Hoping For"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive with audio

UNITED NATIONS, October 28 -- On Friday the UN Security Council expressed concern about renewed hostilities in Eastern Congo, called for "maximum restraint and de-escalation" and for a political solution. Video here.

   Inner City Press asked if the UN Mission MONUSCO was involved in the fighting and was told, by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spokesperson, no.

  On Sunday UN envoy Martin Kobler announced that a member of MONUSCO's Force Intervention Brigade or "FIB" had been killed -- how that happened without being involved remains UNclear. Then Kobler toured land re-taken by the Congolese Army which the UN supports, even in the face of mass rape.

  On Monday in front of the Security Council, French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud told the Press about the weekend's developments in the Eastern Congo, "What is happening is great. It is the collapse of the rebels... The DRC army is restoring the sovereignty of the country. It is exactly what we were hoping for."  Exclusive audio here.

  How is this consistent with the Security Council's calls, agreed to and actually drafted by France which "hold the pen" for the Council on the DRC, for "restraint" and for a political solution through the Kampala talks?

  Or some now ask, were those calls just lies or a diversion, at least for some that agreed to or issued them?

  When the Security Council traveled recently to Eastern Congo, France was allowed to hand-pick which media could go on the UN plane and cover the trip. These scribes, predictably, are not raising or reporting these questions.

  Inner City Press asked Araud, on Monday, if MONUSCO and its FIB had in fact been involved despite the statements that it was not.

  Araud said that the killed "Tanzanian was part of the Force Intervention Brigade. What I heard was the Intervention Brigade went to Kiwanja after the M23 withdrew, to protect civilians. At a roadblock, from the side of the M23, he was killed." He said Martin Kobler would brief the Council by video Monday afternoon.

  But will Kobler take and at last answer questions? Or has he fully inhabited the character of his boss Herve Ladsous, who refuses Press questions? Video here, UK coverage here. Here is Ladsous' history in the Great Lakes region, for France.

  Here is a question. Araud said, of the weekend's fighting, "It is exactly what we were hoping for. Who is the "we"? The Security Council? UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous? France? Is there any difference between the latter two? Watch this site.


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