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French UNSC Month Ineffective on Mali & Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan Says On Purpose

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 29 -- As France's month as President of the UN Security Council comes to an end, on a day when its Ambassador Gerard Araud canceled two media stakeouts, it seems time to review the 29 French days.

Click here for Inner City Press preview, leaked Program of Work.

  The focus, if there was one, was Syria. France presided over the dismantling of the UNSMIS observer mission, both in the Council and through Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row to head UN Peacekeeping.

  On June 15, Ladsous's DPKO notified the Council that it would limit mobile activities in Syria. After that, the day the mandate was extended for a "final" 30 days, a Security Council source complained to Inner City Press Ladsous had UN planes from UNAMA in Afghanistan idling on the tarmac in Beirut, eager to pull everyone out.

  But France outright dropped the ball on other important issues. On Sudan and South Sudan, now three weeks after Thabo Mbeki briefed the Security Council, no Presidential Statement has been issued.

   Sudan's Permanent Representative bragged to his state media Sudan Vision that Araud told him the statement is not needed. Inner City Press wrote and tweeted about it; France never confirmed or denied or took any more public questions for the month.

To be fair, Araud did more stakeouts and took more Press questions than expected, or than he did 15 months ago. And given that it was August, some of the lack of impact can be excused.

  Throughout the month, things got worse in Cote d'Ivoire. But no investigation was ever completed into allegations the UN Peacekeepers actively pushed Nahibly Camp residents perceived as Gbagbo supporters into the crowd to be beaten; no meeting was called to re-think the planned cost-saving withdrawal of an entire battalion of peacekeepers from Abidjan.

  Another big focuses trumpeted by France at the beginning of the month was Mali. But nothing was accomplished in the Council during the month. When Inner City Press was able to ask Araud about Morocco's proposal for a UN envoy, Araud said it was France's idea, an envoy for the Sahel. So where is it? Watch this site.

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