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On DRC, Ladsous Refuses to Answer Who Broke Ceasefire, If Defends Pinga

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 17, updated -- When Herve Ladsous, the fourth French head of UN Peacekeeping in a row, emerged from the UN Security Council to speak and ostensibly answer questions about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he refused to answer whether the DRC or M23 mutineers had broken the ceasefire.

  This was a key issue, which since Ladsous refuses to answer any Press questions even on his peacekeepers killing civilians and even UN staff, in Abyei and in Haiti, Inner City Press posed to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky on November 13.

  On November 13, Nesirky told Inner City Press, "I don’t have anything specific at the moment, but I will come back to you."

  But he did not, perhaps because DPKO would not give any information for the Press.

   This supposition is based on Ladsous' DPKO spokesman openly asking UN including UNTV staff on Saturday not to give the microphone to Inner City Press to ask any questions.

  But there were few others with questions. Inner City Press asked Ladsous, "Who broke the ceasefire?" He refused to answer the question, and his spokesman sought out another questioner.

   After waiting out this "Q&A," Inner City Press asked Ladsous if his peacekeepers were equally defending Pinga from attack by a non-M23 militia, the Mai Mai or Mayi-Mayi

   Ladsous' MONUSCO has actually flown DRC officials to meet Mai Mai fighters and seek to recruit them to fight M23 (the UN, not Ladsous, replied that they simply flew FARDC to the meeting, did not ask or know what it was about).

  Ladsous refused to answer about defending civilians in Pinga, despite the public money his DPKO spends ostensibly on this.

   French Ambassador Gerard Araud did take three questions from Inner City Press, but on two of them accepted by his spokesman including on Pinga and DPKO's implementation of its stated Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, Araud responded that he did not have the information.

  In fairness, it is DPKO which would answer in the first instance on its Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, the substance of which is questioned.

   It was Ladsous who should have answered, but did not.

   M23 said that it was the Congolese forces that broke the ceasefire. The spin now is to focus on the after-arising fighting. This vagueness would not be allowed on other conflicts. But hey, this is the Congo, appears to be the attitude.

  How can a UN Under Secretary General openly refuse to answer a question as simple as "who broke the ceasefire"? Or "is DPKO defending Pinga?"

   Afterward it was suggested to Inner City Press, perhaps the failures of DPKO are understandable since it is headed by a person who cannot or will not even answer simple questions like "who broke the ceasefire" and "are you defending Pinga," and instead devotes publicly funded DPKO staff time to trying to avoid such questions.

   Security Council President for November Hardeep Singh Puri of India, which has its helicopter units active in the Congo, read out a Press Statement. We reproduce it in full below.

 Earlier, another Permanent Representative on the Council told Inner City Press sarcastically, "THAT will really stop M23" -- and then told Inner City Press on "who broke the ceasefire" that Under Secretary General Ladsous would be answering.

   Some Under Secretary General.

   To understand, Ladsous has justified not answering any Press questions by alluding to previous "insulting innuendos." For the record, Inner City Press has reported that Ladsous was France's Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. There is more, but that's enough for now. Watch this site.

Press statement on the situation in eastern DRC

The members of the Security Council express deep concern regarding the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to ongoing military activities of the 23 March Movement (M23).

The members of the Security Council strongly condemn the resumption of attacks by the M23 and demand their immediate cessation as well as the cessation of any further advances towards the city of Goma. The members of the Security Council demand that any and all outside support and supply of equipment to the M23,  cease immediately.

The members of the Security Council strongly condemn the continuation of grave violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law by the M23. They express their intention to apply additional targeted sanctions against the leadership of the M23 and those acting in violation of the sanctions regime and the arms embargo, and call on all Member States to submit, as a matter of urgency, listing proposals to the 1533 Committee.

The members of the Security Council express deep concern regarding the increasing number of displaced persons and refugees and call on all parties, in particular the M23,  to exercise restraint and to allow safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need.

The members of the Security Council call on all relevant States to use their influence on the M23 to bring about an end to attacks.

The members of the Security Council reaffirm their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the DRC.

The members of the Security Council commend the active steps taken by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) to implement its mandate, in particular the protection of civilians, and encourage the continuation of these efforts. They emphasised that any effort to undermine MONUSCO’s ability to implement its mandate will not be tolerated,

The members of the Security Council reiterate the importance of the efforts of the ICGLR to resolve the conflict and find a durable political solution. They call on the United Nations Secretary-General to continue his good offices to facilitate enhanced dialogue between relevant parties, and to report to the Council on the evolution of the crisis in the coming days.

New York, 17 November 2012

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