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At UN, Pakistan Cites "Differing Views" on Drones, Says DRC Ceasefire'd be Good

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 3 -- When Pakistan's Ambassador Masood Khan, January's UN Security Council president, took questions Thursday about the Council's work, drones came up again and again.

  Inner City Press asked Khan not about US drone strikes on his country, but about the proposal by Department of Peacekeeping Operations chief Herve Ladsous to use drones in the MONUSCO mission in Eastern Congo.

  Khan said there are consultations but there are "differing views." He did not say Thursday, but other member states on the UN's C-34 have told Inner City Press, differences include who would get the information.

  Wouldn't all 193 member states have a right to it? Or only the 15 Security Council members? Or only the Permanent Five?

  Inner City Press also asked Khan about the call by the M23 rebels for the Congolese government to sign a ceasefire, for the Kampala talks to continue.

  A ceasefire is good, Ambassador Khan replied, they should cease fire. At noon, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky said much the same.

  But the Security Council's last resolution calls, unrealistically, for the M23 to disband. And the Council on New Year's Eve passed a travel ban which undermines the Kampala talks. That part of the question, Ambassador Khan did not answer. But it was a good start.

  Masood Khan pointed out that the current consultation on drones is under Operative Paragraph 9 of the most recent DRC resolution.

  But Ladsous, in an interview with the blog of the French publication La Croix, said drones would help in Cote d'Ivoire.  Inner City Press asked the UN, and got back this:

"On UAVs: DPKO says it is continuing with its feasibility study on the use of unarmed aerial vehicles by peacekeeping operations, and with its consultations with Member States."

 So under which paragraph or resolution, and for whom,  is Ladsous talking about drones in Cote d'Ivoire? This is question to which Pakistan or another large Troop Contributing Country might want to get and provide an answer. We'll see.

Footnote: Inner City Press on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, FUNCA asked Khan in advance if he will take stakeout questions after closed door consultation. Video here, from Minute 18:18. He replied that Pakistan's presidency will be transparent and inclusive. So far, so good.

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