Leaked French Documents Show Cote d’Ivoire Strategy At UN Of France On Liberia, Mali & Even San Francisco
This article by Matthew Russell Lee was published by Inner City Press on 8/4/11.
UNITED NATIONS, updated — With Cote d’Ivoire’s defiant Laurent Gbagbo surrounded after French and UN military action in Abidjan’s Cocody neighborhood, internal French government documents obtained by Inner City Press and published exclusively today [8/4/11] paint a picture of France’s communications with the UN Mission UNOCI, its analysis of the politics of Guillaume Soro, Liberia and the Malian press, even its recycling of a French diplomat arrested in New York as France’s new general consul in San Francisco.
In the first document, France’s Force Licorne (Unicorn) wrote to the Special Representative of the Secretary General about Gbagbo’s import of heavy weapons. Click here to view. More recently, France is accused of violating the arms embargo by providing and facilitating weapons to the forces of Alassane Ouattara.
The second document is an internal French cable detailing the Financial Organization of the Rebellion, down to a “racket” of shaking down money for taxi licenses.
In the third document, France bemoans the failure of a visit of three African heads of state to Cote d’Ivoire, including Nigeria’s Obasanjo and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki now active in Sudan, complaining that this situation can be prolonged until the international community decided to “impose a solution.”
In the fourth document, France analyzed and critiques South African policy toward Cote d’Ivoire and Gbagbo.
In the fifth document, France analyzes Liberia’s foreign policy as pro-American. More recently, a purported interview of a Ouattara commander describing coordinating with a French citizen working with the UN Mission in Liberia has surfaced.
One of the French diplomats involved was Romain Serman, who was later arrested by the New York Police Department. See arrest sheet and signed statement, here. Then French Ambassador de la Sabliere, to “avoid a scandal,” sent Serman back to Paris.
But in 2010 he was re-assigned to the US, as general consul in San Francisco. And so it goes.
Update at 1pm, April 8: at the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Martin Nesirky to describe how UNOCI has allowed Licorne to lobby it and attend its meetings, and if other countries have been allowed.
Nesirky said he would not comment on leaked documents, and also directed Inner City Press to ask the (French) chief of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Alain Le Roy.
Matthew Lee is a senior reporter at Inner City Press. He can be reached at Matthew.Lee [at] innercitypress.com.