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Rwanda's Mushikiwabo Calls UN Mission a Failure, HRW a Fraud

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- Rwandan Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo told the Press on Monday that she and Major Patrick Karuretwa, Security Adviser to President Paul Kagame are in New York and Washington "on UN business."

  When Inner City Press asked Minister Mushikiwabo for her view on the MONUSCO mission and its chief Roger Meece, her answer made it clear that radical change at MONUSCO, the Department of Peaekeeping Operations and even the Security Council which sent the mission 13 years ago are on Rwanda's agenda.

  Minister Mushikiwabo said that MONUSCO, spending $1.3 billion a year, has failed to protect civilians and may have "become local."

  Inner City Press asked Minister Mushikiwabo to respond to charges that the M23 mutineers in the Congo are assisted by Rwandan Defense Minister James Kaberebe, chief of defense staff Charles Kayonga, and General Jacques Nziza, a military adviser to Kagame.

  Minister Mushikiwabo said that she is a reader of Inner City Press, and likes independent investigation. She told Inner City Press, "I've seen some of your writings on this conflict, I used to be minister in charge of media, I always like to see reporters doing their own investigations instead of repeating reports." Video here, from Minute 12:54.

She denied categorically that these officials have assisted the mutiny, saying that in fact they had urged the mutineers not to break away, but rather to press the government in Kinshasa to live up to its commitments of March 23, 2009.

  Inner City Press asked Minister Mushikiwabo what changes Rwanda would like to see to the mandate of the MONUSCO mission.

  She said it should be rethought after 13 years, then gave the floor to Major Patrick Karuretwa, who proceeded to say that Human Rights Watch is a problem.

  Minister Mushikiwabo said that Human Rights Watch has "no credibility," that they think "because it's Africa, anything goes... a few exotic names and acronyms [then] fundraising dinners."

  She blamed the media which, essentially, ask Human Rights Watch about HRW's own flawed reports and then use the quotes.

At the UN we can say: the HRW representative is a former journalist from Le Monde who is routinely quoted by those he used to know as fellow correspondents. Yet when he and HRW boss Ken Roth were confronted with a rare case of a journalists in Headquarters facing death threats from extremists triggered from within the UN itself, HRW has done nothing.

  Inner City Press asked Minister Mushikiwabo about the status of Rwanda's run for a Security Council seat next year, with the election in October 2012.

  She said the campaign is on track in East Africa and the African Union, and that outreach has been made to Beijing and Moscow, Washington, London and Paris and other countries too.

  She said Rwanda is a major peacekeeping contributor, with 4000 soldiers in Darfur and others in South Sudan, Liberia and Haiti. Twenty years after the genocide, she said, Rwanda should be on the Security Council.

  Afterward Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky for his or DPKO chief Ladsous' response. First Nesirky referred the question to the Security Council.

  When it was made clear Rwanda is questioning MONUSCO's implementation of the mandate given to it by the Council, particularly on protection of civilians, Nesirky said maybe there will be an answer later. He cut off the briefing without allowing a question for which Inner City Press long had hand raised. Video here.

   Then Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice, back at the Security Council, about Minister Mushikiwabo's critique of MONUSCO. She said, "It's not on their territory."

  But it seems clear that Rwanda will be joining the Security Council that sets such missions' mandates, and considers Group of Experts' sanctions reports and annexes or addenda. So what will happen with the current annex in limbo? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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