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In DRC, Some Applause for UNSC, But Why, As French Picked Scribes Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 5 -- The UN Security Council is in Kinshasa and there is a lot of happy talk. As of Friday night it was unclear if President Joseph Kabila would hold a direct meeting with the Council. By Saturday some Council diplomats were tweeting about Kabila's speech to the closing of the national consultation, and noting that they or the UN received applause.

It's nice. But what does it mean? If the SADC Intervention Brigade had killed more M23, or even just Rwandaphones, the Council members might be applauded. Would that be good?

Inner City Press was on a previous 2010 Security Council trip to Africa -- France banned it from this one -- and saw the Council applauded in South Sudan, and protested in Sudan. Did the cheering in Juba mean that everything was going to work out? Just ask people in Jonglei.

  The Council met with DR Congo foreign minister Raymond Tshibanda, who in the Council in New York in July said that all rebellions in Eastern Congo bear the same "genetic signature." Was this troubling line clarified? Or was the applause too loud?

  In 2013 many of the diplomats are doing their own tweeting, which is all to the good. Shocking is that the journalists that France hand-picked for the trip have send out NOTHING.

For Reuters, the last two tweets were October 2 and 3, both before the trip. The first was about humanitarian aid to Syria, blaming all blockages on the Assad government with no mention, for example, for the ISIS rebels' threats against aid workers in Jarabulus, which the EU's Kristalina Georgieva has acknowledged to the Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info (by twitter, no less).

The second was about child soldiers, a swipe at Rwanda. Maybe that's why Reuters will finally start reporting: to trash Rwanda and focus only on the M23, nothing on the FDLR.

  That's how Reuters presented the last Group of Experts report on the DRC, until Inner City Press obtained and exclusively put the full text online, showing DRC Army involvement with the FDLR, in illegal mining and, yes, recruitment of child soldiers.

The Security Council wouldn't get applause in Kinshasa for that part of the report. So should they not have reported it?

Voice of America's last tweets are not even about news - they are about the UN Correspondents Association, through which VOA tried to get Inner City Press thrown out of the UN, citing its coverage of Sri Lanka and, yes, France and the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping, Herve Ladsous, with his own troubling history in the Great Lakes region, here.

  Could that be why they were hand picked by France for this trip, which some for that reason call France's Genocide Joyride. But report, at least.

Inner City Press has asked the UN if there will be any meetings with opposition in the DRC, and to name the civil society groups to be met with in Goma. The UN won't respond - but Rwanda's foreign minister sent a response, about her countries hope for the trip.

But apparently some in the Council, and UN, measure the success of their trip by what applause they got. That is not the measure. Watch this site.

Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson Martin Nesirky on camera admitted that the decision on which media would be allowed to go on and cover the UNSC's Africa trip was made "in consultation" with the lead mission for the trip: France. Inner City Press YouTube channel video here:

This was sent to Inner City Press:

From: Jerome Bernard [at]
Date: Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Security Council trip to Africa
To: Matthew Russell Lee [at] InnerCityPress [dot] com
Cc: Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info

Hi Matthew,

I am sorry but because of the very limited number of seats in the UN plane it won't be possible for you to travel with the Security Council for this trip to the Great Lakes Region of Africa.

I am sure there will be other opportunities for travel in the future.

Best regards,

Jerome Bernard
Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

Inner City Press was told that Bernard would be providing information from the trip. Then not. Watch this site.


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