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DRC-Bound, UNSC Meets EU Group Back from Georgia, Updates in Rain

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 4 -- On its way to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN Security Council delegation stopped Friday in rainy Brussels and met with the Council of the EU's Political and Security Committee.

  While that body met in June with the Africa Union's better known PSC, the Peace and Security Council, its work on Africa since then has not been much reported on.

  Most recently, starting September 29 apparently through October 2, the EUPSC visited Georgia, including Gori, and discussed continued non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia's Petr Iliichev is accompanying the UNSC delegation.

  The EU, like the United States and the African Union, has its own envoy on the Great Lakes, on which we will be reporting more. But given the relative distribution for now of UN Peacekeeping resources between the DRC and collapsing Central African Republic, it seems the EUPSC could or should be more relevant on CAR. But did the UNSC discuss CAR with them? We've asked.

  After two months of inaction, just as the UNSC trip left French Permanent Representative Gerard Araud told Inner City Press he would be distributing a draft resolution on CAR.

  After the October 2 "program of work" meeting, Inner City Press asked October's Council president Agshin Mehdiyev about the CAR draft -- as well as about DRC sanctions and why France was allowed to hand-pick the UN correspondents to accompany the Council's Great Lakes trip. UN Video here, from Minute 14:15.)

  Mehdiyev confirmed that Araud had said he WOULD distribute a draft resolution; he said that DRC Sanctions, a UNSC committee which he chairs, would not be the focus of the Great Lakes trip.

  This might surprise the Congolese activists and supporters who met Thursday night at the NYC Bar Association discussing conflict mineral - click here for Inner City Press story on that including USUN / Dodd Frank Act question,  here for UK question.

  But Mehdiyev did not answer on why France was allowed to pick (and ban) particular media to cover the trip. (This was confirmed by UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky, see Inner City Press YouTube channel video here.)

  Off camera, other Council members have told Inner City Press they had not been informed that France would monopolize (and we'll say, abuse) the media selection process, which has become more outrageous with Araud dropping out from the trip. (Araud has been replaced at the last minute by his recently installed Deputy, Alexis Lamek, who one would think will be answering and updating on this, listed as a "co-head of mission.")

  The US leads the Rwanda leg of the trip; the UK leads on Uganda. Even as P5 / P3 members, they played no role? If not, this is dysfunction. While we will have more on this, for now we will appreciate and cover what updates are sent, like this one (updated here.)

  So far from the media hand-picked by France, there is nothing, not even a single tweet. French #Fail. Watch this site.

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


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