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On DRC, France Said "Our Own First," Rwanda Insisted Civilian Deaths In Too

By Matthew Russell Lee, With exclusive audio

UNITED NATIONS, October 28 -- When the UN Security Council met about Eastern Congo at France's request on Monday afternoon, France proposed a press statement only on the death of a Tanzanian member of the UN's Force Intervention Brigade.

  Rwanda counter-proposed a longer statement but was told those issues could be considered later. Rwanda agreed to that, but held firm that the death of Rwandans by shelling from the DRC should be included.

   Inner City Press is informed that Rwanda directly challenged the idea that the UN Security Council should first and foremost be concerned with "one of our own." Rwanda said that its citizens are people too.

   While it was France which made the proposal, and holds the pen (and more) on DRC, there was an attempt to make this fight one of Rwanda against the Troop Contributing Countries.

  But Rwanda is one of the largest TCCs, and said they would have no objection, if one of their peacekeepers were killed in Darfur, to including civilians in a press statement. There are no first and second class citizens, Rwanda said.

  It's worth nothing that not all TCCs have UN Peacekeeping missions in or next to their countries.

  Rwanda then suggested that two statement be issued. France, to avoid that, agree to include those killed in Rwanda -- and in the DRC -- in "their" statement, below (along with footnote on the International Court of Justice "private" meeting of Monday.)
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: 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.

  We note, in real time, a Kobler response to the Press late Monday, that "now the work starts." Inner City Press said "merci" and asked what's the plan to go after the FDLR?

  Here is another 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.

Footnote: In the private meeting on the ICJ, the question was raised why among the 15 judges each of the Permanent Five members always gets one. That is not in the charter. There was no convincing answer. We'll have more on this.

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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