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On DRC, UN Says No "Formal Communication" from Uganda, SC Vetted Hege

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 6 -- The UN continued Tuesday to deny it had heard from Uganda about pulling its troops out of peacekeeping missions in Somalia and elsewhere, despite acknowledging a Ugandan delegation meeting with Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson. Inner City Press question, and answer, here from Minute 10:51.

  Meanwhile, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press that vetting the coordinator of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Group of Experts Steve Hege and his writing about the FDLR militia was and is entirely up to the Security Council.

  On November 5, Inner City Press asked Nesirky

Inner City Press: Uganda has said... a delegation is coming to New York and specifically going to meet with the Secretary-General. I don’t see it on his schedule yet, but is there such a plan for such a meeting and what are the Secretary-General’s thoughts of Uganda saying that it would pull its peacekeepers from Somalia, Central African Republic and I believe one other country in response to the report?

Spokesperson Nesirkry: Well, first of all, I am not aware of any meeting scheduled today of that nature. And we’ve obviously seen the media reports; there have been varying and various media reports — we’ve seen all of them. What I can confirm at this point is that the United Nations has had no official communication from the Government of Uganda in relation to this matter.

This last line was reported. But once Inner City Press was informed that the Ugandan delegation met not with Ban but his Deputy Eliasson, on November 6 Inner City Press asked again.

Nesirky acknowledged the meeting with former Ambassador Rugunda, and said "the discussion was about this report of Independent Experts that falls under the Security Council."

He insisted there still had been "no formal notification of the kind we are speaking of... no official communication from the government of Uganda related this matter." The delegation and meeting was official. Perhaps the reference is to not stating the troops will be pulled out?

In Kampala, the government says "don't call our bluff." Rugunda, at the UN even after he left as Permanent Representative, delivered the African Union position on Libya in and after a closed meeting in the UN's North Lawn building.

Inner City Press asked again about Hege, if the Secretariat had vetted, or any "lessons learned." Nesirky said "no, but again, as I've mentioned before, including just a couple of seconds ago, this is under the Security Council."

But Council sources, while acknowledging they could have blocked Hege or tried to, assign a role to the Secretariat. Perhaps Rwanda now taking the Council seat it was elected to last month will help get to the bottom of this. Watch this site.

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