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In Addis, Ban Is Selective on Mali, Shows Ladsous Gun-Jumped on Drones, War

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 -- At the African Union summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's speech on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Cote d'Ivoire was tell.

  In French, Ban said "We are considering establishing a peace enforcement capacity within the Mission to address the threat of armed groups in eastern DRC."

  Back in New York, as a sort of pre AU summit sales pitch using the embedded media (AFP, Reuters, BBC), a UN official left unnamed on January 25 was more specific, serving up to friendly media more details: three battalions of 850 soldiers each, and tellingly three drones.

  The head of Ban's UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to hold that post, has been moving forward on UN drones even before receiving even limited approval.

  As Inner City Press exposed on January 25, Ladsous' DPKO launched a procurement for drones back on November 28 -- the day after he refused to answer Press questions on the Congo, and took the same media out into the hall for a private briefing, video here.

  So did Ladsous' DPKO similarly jump the gun declaring war in the DRC? In any event, it seems no matter what Ladsous does or doesn't do, Ban Ki-moon would not and could not replace him. UN Peacekeeping "belongs" to France. And that is part of the problem.

  The UN read-out of Ban's meeting with Alassane Ouattara of former French colony Cote d'Ivoire had not a word about Ouattara supporters killing perceived Laurent Gbagbo supporters in a camp for Internally Displaced People.

   While the UN peacekeepers there, who "work with" the the French Force Licorne, are accused of pushing IDPs off their UN trucks and into the mob to be beaten to death, Ban's and Ladsous' envoy to Cote d'Ivoire Bert Koenders has twice self-exonerated the UN.

  On Mali, where France has been bombing Timbuktu, Ban cited the "bilateral support" received by the Malian authorities -- without saying the word France.

  Ban did not mention that these Malian authorities including coup leader Amadou Sanogo, nor about the Malian Army's executions in Sevare and elsewhere. Even Ban's description of the UN's deployment did not mention human rights. But Ban spoke in French.

   To be fair, the non-enforcement of the UN's supposed Human Rights Due Diligence Policy is not limited to Ladsous' ongoing cover up (video here) of 126 rapes in Minova by his partners in the Congolese Army, or looking the other way while the Malian Army is, well, the Malian Army.

   In Somalia, with no French connection, the UN and its Department of Field Support have had little to say or follow up with the recent killing of seven civilians, five of them children, by the AMISOM forces that the UN through DFS supports.

   The UN Security Council is supposed to provide some oversight on all this. But today they are belatedly in Yemen, where even motorbike traffic has been Banned. Back in New York, the UN Staff Union last week adopted by 186 to 45 a resolution that they have "no confidence" in Ban. We'll have more on all this. Watch this site.

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