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Araud Declares "Military End" of M23, Dead Rwandans Added to Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee, With exclusive audio

UNITED NATIONS, October 28, updated with Statement -- After the Security Council met about Eastern Congo at France's request on Monday afternoon, the first announcement came from French Ambassador Gerard Araud.
  He said the M23 has met its "military end." Others noted that while M23 left towns it had controlled, it was not wiped out, a la Sri Lanka (no matter how much it seems France would have liked that.)

   The meeting was called by France on the death of a Tanzanian member of the UN's Force Intervention Brigade or FIB. Inner City Press asked Araud of the UN's role in the military "finishing" of M23.

  Araud, more detailed than in the morning (see below) said that the Tanzanian soldier had his helmet on, but was shot in the neck.

  Inner City Press understands that in the consultations, the 21 shells into Rwanda from the DRC were raised, leading to the death of two civilians and injuring of ten. Araud told Inner City Press, that is in the press statement. [Added below: "
condolences for the loss of civilian lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Rwanda following shells landing on its territory."]

    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.

As emailed out by UN past 5 pm:

Security Council Press statement attacks against MONUSCO

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attacks by M23 rebel group against the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in North Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing one Tanzanian peacekeeper.

The members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the family of the peacekeeper killed in the attack, as well as to the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and to MONUSCO. They called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo swiftly to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.
They also expressed their condolences for the loss of civilian lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Rwanda following shells landing on its territory.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for MONUSCO and called on all parties to cooperate fully with the mission.

28 October 2013


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