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UN Wants S. Sudan to Let In Moroccan Troops, But What of Western Sahara?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 31 -- UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on December 30 criticized South Sudan for putting "caveats" on which countries' peacekeepers would be acceptable to come in.

   An hour later, African sources exclusively told Inner City Press that South Sudan is well within its rights to reject Morocco, which is not an African Union members due to its "occupation of Western Sahara," in the AU view. Click here for Inner City Press' exclusive December 30 report.

  Now more sources from the Continent, and from Europe, have chimed in, noting not only did Morocco publicly oppose having any human rights monitoring function for Ladsous' MINURSO peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara, but also they said had resisted the inclusion in MINURSO of peacekeepers from Spain.

   The question arises, why is Ladsous given this history so publicly putting pressure on South Sudan, "for Morocco," to waive any objections when his DPKO has allowed other countries to prevail with such objections?

  Even if the question of human rights monitoring in MINURSO is distinguished as a "political question," is it only the members of the Security Council which have a right to make political decisions?

    Ladsous on December 30 said "we will not look pleasantly" if there are, "as there seem to have been, some caveats" about which countries' troops South Sudan would accept as peacekeepers.

  "There should be no objection to anyone coming in," Ladsous intoned, before telling Inner City Press, "I do not answer you, Mister." Video here and embedded below.

  Inner City Press then set out to find which countries South Sudan was objecting to -- which is its sovereign right, as a number of other nations' diplomats pointed out, speaking exclusively to Inner City Press about this and which countries.

  Morocco is an ally of France, Ladsous' country which he represented on the UN Security Council as Deputy Permanent Representative in 1994 during the Rwanda genocide.

  But Morocco is NOT a member of the African Union, which South Sudan is, because of the issue of Western Sahara. South Sudan recognizes Western Sahara -- and therefore has a right not to want Moroccan troops in its country.

  Although the UN sent 73 Bangladeshi peacekeepers to South Sudan from a formed police unit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudanese sources tell Inner City Press they had a problem with Bangladesh's battalions in the past, mentioning Western Equatoria around 2005, "under Jan Pronk" then envoy to Sudan and what is now South Sudan.

  The problems included allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation, statutory rape, and lack of accountability. If UN Peacekeeping under Ladsous continues to allow this -- witness the lack of updates on the alleged gang rapes by Chadian peacekeepers in MINUSMA in Mali -- why should South Sudan put up no resistance to such deployments? Ladsous continues to say he does not answer Press questions.

  South Sudan is more than willing to take peacekeepers from, for example, "Nigeria or Zimbabwe," or Togo which like Morocco, Pakistan, Guatemala and Azerbaijan is leaving the Security Council after two years on December 31. (Inner City Press photo of Team Togo's December 30 goodbye at the stakeout, here.)

  So why, some wonder, would Ladsous be pushing back so publicly, for Morocco? They call it FrancAfrique. Watch this site.

Footnote: Anyway, Morocco is slated to send 500 "UN guards" to Central African Republic, see Inner City Press' exclusive story here.


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