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After UN Peacekeepers In Mali Shoot Civilians, Araud Refuses to Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 17 -- After Mali police shot at civilians in Kidal, French Ambassador Gerard Araud when asked by Inner City Press said there should be an investigation. That was at the beginning of December, Araud's (last?) month as UN Security Council president.

  Since then, the UN peacekeepers themselves have shot civilians. On December 16 Inner City Press asked Araud a question, and he said to ask the UN Secretariat.

   Inner City Press did, on December 17 but UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky did not answer whether the UN Peacekeepers have become "combatants," both by shooting at civilians and by being co-housed with the France Serval force, a party to an armed conflict.

  So this is a question that Araud should have to answer, both as Security Council president and as France's Ambassador to the UN. But at a stakeout later on December 17 about South Sudan, after agreeing to answer a non-South Sudan question from Reuters (predictably about removing Assad from executive power in Syria, a French desire), Araud sniffed and rejected this very question about Mali. Inner City Press YouTube video here, and embedded below.

  Are UN peacekeepers, under the command of Herve Ladsous the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, now combatants, co-housed with French troops and shooting at civilians?

  Araud launched into a lecture about how peacekeeping missions are structured -- France should know, of course -- and then told Inner City Press it should check into this philosophy before even asking a question.

  He then walked away from the stakeout microphone without answering if the UN peacekeepers have become combatants. An Agence France Presse scribe, who previously tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN with a complaint leading with how Inner City Press asked a question to Ladsous about rapes by his partners in the Congolese Army, stood smirking, as if empowered by Araud's walk-away from the stakeout. Et bien, non.

  Araud might use the stakeout to try to get more business for French companies in the UN Peacekeeping France already dominates -- we'll have more on this -- and to solicit softball questions while refusing to answer, two days in a row now, questions about the UN mission in Mali now shooting at civilians.

  But ultimately, as President of the Security Council this question about peacekeepers becoming combatants and therefore targets must be answered. Watch this site.


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