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In SC Month, France Speaks for More UN $, Erases Mali Q, South Sudan

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 19 -- Amid the carnage in South Sudan, the only time this month that UN Security Council president Gerard Araud has spoken at the Council stakeout on the matter was two days ago on December 17.

Today December 19, Araud left a Council meeting on Peacekeeping chatting with UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold the post. Later in the session, Indian Permanent Representative Asoke Mukerji spoke of Indian peacekeepers killed in Akobo. Neither Araud nor Ladsous returned.

  In fact, when at the US' request the Council belatedly gets a briefing on South Sudan on the morning of December 20, it will reportedly not be from Ladsous -- who refused to speak with the Press on December 17 -- but rather from his deputy, Edmond Mulet.

  One of Araud's most traveled quotes this month was an attempt to get more money from the UN for France, delivered as part of an answer to Inner City Press' question on December 10 about France getting a non-public "letter of assist" payment from the UN for work in Northern Mali.

  The French Mission left that answer in its December 10 transcript; the issue was picked up, without Araud's name, in Le Monde.

But in the December 17 transcript, Araud's long and bristling answer to another Inner City Press question about Mali, are Ladsous' UN peacekeepers there becoming parties to the armed conflict, combatants, by shooting at civilians and co-housing with the French Serval forces, was entirely omitted from the Mission's "transcript," here. Compare to UN Video, here, from Minute 12:48 to 14:13.

  So does the French mission just erase the questions it doesn't like, or try to discourage them by telling the questioner to do more research before asking?

  This was done on the case of a Central African Republic figure aligned with Chad and France's former favorite, Bozize; this was done twice on the conversion of Ladsous' "UN" peacekeepers into bank guards and combatants.

  These are questions that any president of the Security Council should answer; this is particularly true of a Council president whose country has controlled the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for more than sixteen years in a row. Watch this site.


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