Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

UN Budget Fights Include Somalia, Syria, Computers and Capital Master Plan

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 27 -- The UN's budget committee, which toils three sessions a year in corners of the UN's basement, comes tonight to the close of the second of this General Assembly's three sessions. A Fifth (budget) Committee source spoke excitedly on Friday afternoon of what he called a breakthrough on Somalia, where the UN is considering a peacekeeping mission. Debate on an expensive plan for a back-up data center from the UN, to be set up by the International Computing Center whose business with the Indian Enron Satyam was misrepresented by the UN head to criticism of the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, which was defended, surprisingly some said, by Sudan.

    Others questioned if the Chad and Central African Republic mission, MINURCAT, should be dealt with now, or at the final session in May. Also at issue are "associated costs" of the proposed gut-rehabilitation of the Organization's glass skyscraper, and whether the Secretariat's budget can absorb some $30 million in extra costs. Syria, which in December used the budget committee to question the scope of the mandate of UN envoy Terje Roed Larsen, is said to be using budgetary moves to question the so-called Hariri tribunal looking into the Hariri assassination in Lebanon.

   The process on Item 118, including Roed Larsen's mandate, included amendments by Syria to incorporate the critiques of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, and "not to approve the revised narrative and logical framework for the budget of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1559 (2004) for the period 1 January to 31 December 2009 as proposed by the Secretary General."

  Back on March 20, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson Michele Montas for Ban's response to the critique.

Roed Larsen at the UN, Syria's critique and financial disclosure not shown

Inner City Press: There is a letter from the Syrian Mission to the Secretary-General disagreeing with his proposed framework for Terje Roed-Larsen’s mandate under 1559 (2004), saying that Roed-Larsen has overstepped, that he’s meddled in the Syria-Lebanese relation, and you know, it’s a follow-up on the budget debate that led to this.  Has the Secretary-General received it?  I mean, it’s on the racks, but what’s his response to Syria’s critique of Roed-Larsen’s expansion of his mandate?

Spokesperson Montas:  Well, the Secretary-General forwarded the letter to the Fifth Committee that takes care, as you know, of budgetary matters.  As you know, it was published under the General Assembly, as a General Assembly document for what they call agenda item 118, which has to do with the budget.  I am not going to comment on the letter because the Fifth Committee proceedings are going on.  What I would like to say is that Mr. Larsen continues to work as the Special Envoy dealing with the implementation of resolution 1559 and his mandate derives not only from 1559 (2004), but also from the subsequent resolutions taken by the Security Council -- 1680 (2006) and 1701 (2006).  And those resolutions provided a road map or benchmarks, if you want to put it this way, for securing Lebanon’s sovereignty, and that involved of course the delineation of the border with Syria.  So Syria is somehow of course part of that mandate.  Also, as I said, that letter is in front of the Fifth Committee.  It’s important to bear in mind that the Fifth Committee cannot give an opinion on the mandate.  The mandate is for the Security Council to review if it deems necessary.

    The March 26 draft by Syria rejects the Secretary General's framework. Inner City Press ventured twice this week to the International Peace Institute, where Roed Larsen moonlights as director. He wasn't there, as Inner City Press noted in an article including direct quotes from a session on Somalia there. This triggered an outraged response by an IPI speaker, and former UN advisor, which didn't specify which part of the report was so troubling. Could it be the questions of Roed Larsen? How can one serve two or more masters? We will continue to ask.

Footnote: on a concrete issue triggered by the Capital Master Plan, where the cafeteria, Delegates' Dining Room and Delegates' Lounge will go, word from CMP leadership is that the idea is to cut the ground floor cafeteria in half, and put the Delegates' Dining Room there. Once the fourth floor is gut rehabbed, then both operations would move up there, above the East River. There came a plaintive question, "but what about the bar?"

  On March 27 it was full, its bartenders and manager frazzled, its supervisor of recent years having decamped for a similar job at Goldman Sachs. A shadowy international NGO was no longer present, but charlatans and pitchmen still abounded as the river flowed by outside. Some noted the Times of London's "devastating" op-ed about the UN, and wondered what would happen next. Spring was in the air, though, and with it, the hope which springs eternal.

 An Inner City Press debate on UN topics will appear over the weekend here.

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -