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Ladsous Refuses to Answer on Cholera, Touts Cote d'Ivoire "Cooperation"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 12 -- For 24 hours the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations has had no answer on any steps it has taken to try to avoid a repeat of its bringing cholera into Haiti.

  When Inner City Press asked the UN's deputy envoy to Haiti Nigel Fisher on Tuesday, he said he could not answer for the wider DPKO.

  The spokesman for DPKO chief Herve Ladsous was present at Tuesday's stakeout. But, having received no answer, Inner City Press asked the question again at Wednesday's noon briefing to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky. He said he would ask DPKO.

  But five hours later, there was no answer. So when the chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous walked out of a Security Council "debate" on inter-Mission cooperation, Inner City Press waited until he had finished answering in French then asked him, "What steps has DPKO taken to not spread cholera."

  Ladsous did not answer. We will not here characterize his expression. But now it must be noted that most of his examples of cooperation involved former French colony Cote d'Ivoire, from which UN Peacekeeping and the French Force Licorne ousted Laurent Gbagbo.

  When Ladsous was spokesman for the Quai d'Orsay, he denounced Gbagbo, just as he had defended the ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

  Most troubling are Ladsous' statements in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide; he was taken to task inside the Security Council by Rwanda's Ambassador in 1995.

  Now Ladsous purports to objectively run UN Peacekeeping. But he refuses to answer questions about Eastern Congo, and today about cholera in Haiti.

  It was suggested to Inner City Press that if it focused on present day issues and not, say, Ladsous in 1994, Ladsous would answer. But he has not, even on the easiest questions, or the questions that he most should answer as head of DPKO. He is paid public money.

  We can add this: even people who knew Ladsous in 1994 say he has gotten worse and more arrogant. DPKO chief Alain Le Roy used to give out his cell phone number; he wanted to answer questions. (He also danced with his people and greeted the Press at DPKO's holiday party.)  Ladsous has a different image of himself. But again: he is paid public money. Watch this site.

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