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UN Confirms Malcorra Met M23, ICP Scoop and Question, By Mass Email

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up to Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 28 -- While UN official Susana Malcorra traveled to the Great Lakes region last weekend, sources told Inner City Press, she went to Goma and met M23 leader Sultani Makenga. 
  Inner City Press exclusively reported this on Wednesday morning, also asking French Ambassador Gerard Araud
if France supported Malcorra meeting with M23.  Araud told Inner City Press with a smile, "There is no question of supporting, she has already done it."

  Also, it emerged that Malcorra claimed that in her visit to Makenga in Goma she saw weapons indicating external support. "Since when is she a guns expert?" Inner City Press quoted an attendee. "These are just DPKO talking points."

 At Wednesday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Eduardo Del Buey to confirm Malcorra's meeting with M23, and to respond to those, including in the Council, who questioned on what authority she did it.

  Del Buey said he did not have the information but would check.

  Now at 3:38 pm on Wednesday, the UN has send out a mass e-mail:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [or]
Date: Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 3:38 PM
Subject: Note to Correspondents --on questions concerning the Chef de Cabinet’s travels to the Great Lakes region
To: undisclosed recipients

Note to Correspondents On questions concerning the Chef de Cabinet’s travels to the Great Lakes region
Given the Secretary-General’s personal commitment finding a sustainable solution to the current crisis in the Eastern DRC that ensued following renewed fighting between the Congolese armed forces and M23 rebels, he sent his Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, to the region as his personal emissary to maintain contact and dialogue with key actors.

With the agreement of the leaders of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, Ms. Malcorra met Sultani Makenga, the head of the military wing of the M23, to convey the Secretary-General’s concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation as well as reported human rights violations. In this capacity she encouraged him to stop the fighting and pursue his objective through political dialogue and lay down the arms.

Ms. Malcorra’s mission was to engage regional actors and assess how the United Nations could best assist in addressing the crisis in the DRC and, in the short term, to leverage the Secretary-General’s Good Offices and his vision to contribute to a cessation of hostilities to enable the necessary political process to unfold.
New York, 28 November 2012

  As of 4:10 pm on November 28, Google News indexed only one story mentioning Malcorra and Makenga: the morning exclusive of Inner City Press. The same was true in, in French. Then the second "Malcorra Makenga" story was this one, reporting the UN's confirmation of Inner City Press' scoop.

  The UN's 3:48 mass disclosure was made the day after UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, who did not go to Kampala or the region, briefed the Council along with Malcorra and then refused to answer any Inner City Press questions.

  Instead, as we reported at the time, Ladsous led a group of favored correspondents to the hallway next to the stakeout and spoke only to them. Inner City Press filmed it, from the stakeout as it is allowed. Did he speak of Malcorra's visit with M23?

  On Wednesday, when Ladsous left the Council with a Permanent Five member's Deputy Permanent Representative, Inner City Press asked, "Should Malcorra have met with the M23?" We'll have more on this. Watch this site. 

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