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Ileka Atoki of DRC Says Fired Back at Rwanda, Uganda May Have Sent Arms

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 19 -- When Ileka Atoki, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's former Ambassador to the UN and now France, came to the Security Council Monday evening, he stopped and answered a half dozen questions from Inner City Press.

  This stand in contrast to the UN, which has refused three times to say whether DRC or the M23 mutineers broke the ceasefire on November 9. UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous wouldn't even respond. Ladsous directed his spokesman to tell UN staff to keep the microphone away from Inner City Press.

  Ileka Atoki, who has previously complained to Inner City Press about raping and sexual abuse by UN peacekeepers, answered question after question from Inner City Press in front of the Security Council. We report his answers here.

  Inner City Press asked Ileka Atoki if DRC had, in fact, shelled Rwanda. He said yes, that Rwanda had fired first, and DRC responded.

  Inner City Press asked Ileka Atoki if the DRC supports the European Union's November 19 invitation to Ban Ki-moon to explore appointing a new special representative to the region. He said it's not a bad idea, if the person is high profile enough.

  Inner City Press proffered, Kofi Annan? Ileka Atoki nodded and said again, if high profile enough. Inner City Press asked about a current UN official, Abou Moussa. Ileka Atoki just stared.

  Inner City Press asked Ileka Atoki if the UN mission MONUSCO moved all its helicopters from Goma to Bukavu -- something that Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Spokesman Eduardo Del Buey told Inner City Press he had "no information" on when asked at noon. Neither did Ileka Atoki at 7:30 pm.

  Inner City Press asked Ileka Atoki if DRC claims that Uganda is also involved in fighting. He said, not in the current fighting, but Uganda may have sent weapons

  When Inner City Press asked Ileka Atoki about something French Ambassador Gerard Araud had said, that only one Council member is opposed to listing Rwanda in France's draft resolution, Ileka Atoki nodded and said he is not sure if it is the position of the government at issue, or the "individual" in the Council.

  His reference clearly seemed to be to Susan Rice -- which we note some see to her credit.

  Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice earlier on Monday if the US thinks DRC President Kabila should speak to the M23. She said, "We think there needs to be a peaceful resolution."

   Inner City Press asked Ileka Atoki if Kabila had yet spoken with, or even been called by, Ban Ki-moon. The answer appears to be no. We'll have more on this. Watch this site.

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