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On Annan's Mission, Stonewall on "Extra-Budgetary Resources," Swede Blocked

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 26 -- Inquiring further into the proposed budget for the Syria mission of Kofi Annan, now dubbed the Seven Million Dollar Man, Inner City Press has gotten answers from the UN's budget committees but not yet from Annan's office.

  Budget committee sources confirm and complain about a lack of transparency in where the "extra-budgetary resources" alluded to in the budget proposal are coming from.

  The budget document states, "Extrabudgetary resources have been allocated for three Political Affairs Officers (P-5, P-4, P-3) for six months to provide backstopping within the Department of Political Affairs, and for a general temporary assistance position for a Senior Adviser for three months, based in Geneva."

   As one budget committee source told Inner City Press, "member states or even NGOs like those of Bill and Melinda Gates or Ted Turner" can stealthy fund UN operations. "Identity is not formally disclosed to Member States, as there is practically NO General Assembly oversight of extra-budgetary posts. WEOG's appetite for transparency seems to run out whenever the issue comes up."

  WEOG is the Western European & Other Group at the UN, including the United States, the EU and for example Norway, whose General Robert Mood now appears slated to be accepted as the force commander. Many are surprised that Syria would accept a NATO general; others says, "they know him."

  Syria blocked an observer from Sweden, which was publicly reported as based on Sweden's participation in the so-called Group of Friends on Syria.

  Inner City Press is told it was based on particular statements by the observer, who worked at UNTSO in Damascus. But either way, wouldn't Syria want to know who is paying for members of envoy Kofi Annan's team? Wouldn't anyone, even as a matter of safety?

  As the budget committee source continued, "aren't the observors at greater risk if the Syrian government feels they're somehow being directly bankrolled by the usual suspects? The Fifth Committee will consider the Annan budget now in May. If the ACABQ report is not finished, they'll do it as soon as they come back from vacation, while we're still in session, but we'll definitely consider the Annan mission budget during the second resumed session."

  We will be covering this, including these extra-budgetary resources. Inner City Press has asked Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi about the extra-budgetary resources, along with

"quick questions about the budget presentation -- '11 substantive international staff (1 USG, 2 ASG, 2 D-2, 2 P-5, 2 P-4, 2 P-3) -- which of the positions have already been filled or designated, and by whom? Likewise, what (and how high) are the "extra-budgetary resources" for three Political Affairs Officers for six months, and a Senior Advisor for three months? Has the Senior Advisor been chosen? Who? And, the "refurbishment of office space ($30,000)" -- which office is this?

"Today at the noon briefing I asked how the UN / Mission will respond for example to Finland's office of ten observer that they are already themselves training. Does the JSE's office and team have anything to do or say about this?"

Today in the above was now yesterday, April 25. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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