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In DRC, Kabila Leaves UNSC Waiting, UN Won't Answer But Rwanda FM Does

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 4 -- The UN Security Council was in Kinshasa Friday night, planning to head to Eastern Congo on Sunday, but the UN in New York refused to answer basic Press questions such as if they would meet any opposition while in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Video here and embedded below.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it must be noted, a week ago met with Saudi-sponsored Syria rebel boss Ahmad al Jarba, and ignored a protest under the UN Charter of France sponsoring Jarba in a UN meeting room as the "sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people."

Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky on Friday also refused to answer Inner City Press' request for information about the Security Council's meeting in Brussels with the EU Political and Security Committee, saying "ask Council members."

   That's a neat trick -- Ban's Office "in consultation" with France rejected Inner City Press' requests to accompany and cover the trip on the UN plane, as it did in 2010 and 2008.

  Even thus Banned, Inner City Press mid-day Friday reported that the topic of the International Criminal Court came up in the Brussels meeting and Council members were told that the ICC is controversial in Africa because of its politicization (not unlike Ban's and France's Jarba meetings.)

  For this African trip, France hand picked three media to go along as scribes, including Reuters (whose UN bureau has spied for the UN, click here) and US state media Voice of America.

  Neither reported anything on the first day of the trip. The third media, a procedural Council reporter, was first to break radio silence -- and said that while Rwanda's president Paul Kagame has committed to meet the Council, a meeting with the DRC's Joseph Kabila was not yet confirmed. Amazing.

  When Inner City Press accompanied the Security Council in the past, it reported on waiting for hours in N'djamena while then French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert promised the Idriss Deby would come meet with Council member.

  Deby never arrived, and Ripert in anger stopped speaking to the Press. (In fact, Ripert confronted Inner City Press in the Kigali airport, but that's another story.)

  By contrast to Nesirky's refusal to provide basic information, Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo when asked by Inner City Press what the Rwanda government hopes results from the Security Council trip answered, "@innercitypress #UNSC #Rwanda Good/better understanding of regional reality, and what stakes are."

  So a foreign minister can be responsive, while Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson is not?

  Nesirky said that the function of his Office's staffer on the trip, Jerome Bernard, is only to "support the journalists on the trip" -- that is, those hand-picked by France. It seems M. Bernard himself was hand-picked: he worked for a dozen years for Agence France Presse.

  The Security Council still functions as a neo-colonial, non-transparent institution. This, not just the often cited vetoes, is what has held it back. Ban's Secretariat is too often a plaything of the P3. But we will continue to cover this trip. Watch this site.

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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