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On S. Sudan, MSF on Deaths in UN Camp, Resolution in Lithuania's February?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 5 -- Amid new evidence the South Sudan army burned down rebel Riek Machar's hometown of Leer, Inner City Press on February 5 put South Sudan questions to both the UN spokesperson and the UN Security Council president for February, Raimonda Murmokaite of Lithuania.

  To Ambassador Murmokaite, Inner City Press asked if UN Peacekeeping's desire to have a role in monitoring the on-again, off-again cessation of hostilities agreement might require another Council resolution, or could be accomplished under the existing mandate. She suggested waiting until the Security Council's February 11 meeting (the Free UN Coalition for Access has asked for question and answer stakeouts after each closed door consultation).

   To UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, Inner City Press asked about Medecins Sans Frontieres report that the number of people dying in the UN's Tomping Camp in Juba is over the "emergency" threshold. What is the UN going to do? Haq said he would check.

   On Sudan, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Murmokaite if she though the Panel of Experts' report on Darfur sanctions will be released despite opposition, as the Democratic Republic of the Congo Group of Experts report was despite Rwanda's objections. Or will opposition from within the P5 lead to a different result? Murmokaite earlier cited the ACT reform group, for a wrap-up session; on whether P5 and E10 opposition to release will or should have a different result, she did not opine, saying to wait and see. We will.

  Also on South Sudan, the day after UNICEF told Inner City Press it would seek to identify which South Sudan soldiers were wearing UNICEF backpacks while in uniform near Bor, Inner City Press on February 4 asked UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake about it. Video here and embedded below.

  Lake called it outrageous and said that UNICEF would be raising it in Juba. That might be more than Herve Ladsous, the chief of UN Peacekeeping which deals directly with and has support the South Sudan Army has done.

   An hour before putting the question to Lake, Inner City Press asked UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky if Ladsous' UNMISS mission would identify which SPLA units wore, and presumably stole, the UNICEF backpacks. Nesirky asked in response if Inner City Press was implying the UN gave the Army the backpacks. No, but what does "following through" mean?

   On February 4, in response to Inner City Press' question from the previous day, Nesirky said Ladsous did meet, from the opposition, with Rebecca Garang and Taban Deng Gai, while in Addis. Then in Juba, Ladsous met with "senior government officials" - did or will he raise this issue?

  On Central African Republic, Inner City Press on February 4 asked the EU's Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs about those, predominantly Muslim, who have had to flee attacks in the country from Christian anti-Balaka militia after France first disarmed the mostly Muslim ex Seleka.

  Piebalgs cited 20 million Euros from the EU for electoral process, saying that all those entitled to vote must be able to return. But what about those Muslim, in CAR for years, who were not citizens? Are they being, in effect, religiously cleansed out of the country? We'll have more on this.

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