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Anger at UN as Ban Gives Africa Post to Egyptian, ECE to Conflicted Alkalaj, Kane Disarmament as ICP Predicted

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon replaced his Tanzanian deputy Asha-Rose Migiro with a Swede, Jan Eliasson, on Thursday he filled the Special Adviser on Africa post with Egypt's Mubarak era Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz.

  Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky to respond to criticism from many in the African Group, that sub Saharan Africa which makes up so much of the UN work and of the agenda of the Security Council now has even less in Ban's UN. Nesirky said "Africa is a continent, and Mr. Abdelaziz is from the continent of Africa." Video here, from Minute 16:14.

  Meanwhile Jeffrey Sachs, who appears to be Ban's real adviser on Africa by "lording it over Migiro" as one insider put it, on Thursday answered Inner City Press that "I have been nominated by a number of governments to be World Bank President."

  Inner City Press then asked UN spokesman Nesirky how UN conflict of interest rules apply to a sitting UN Special Adviser, who also runs programs and directs funding in particular countries, actively campaigning and seeking these countries' nominations for top post in the World Bank, part of the UN system.

  Nesirky said "I don't have any comment on Professor Sachs and whether or not he is running for the World Bank" -- despite Sachs having said while right next to him "I have been nominated by a number of governments to be World Bank President."

   In fact, as Inner City Press reported last week, Maged Abdelaziz has also been charged with a conflict of interest, for example speaking in the General Assembly in support of Ban's position, days before being given the Special Adviser on Africa job by Ban.

How long ago did Maged apply? Another African diplomat told Inner City Press angrily that at least "Maged should have sent his deputy to speak in the GA... this was like singing for his supper." But this is how it works, or doesn't, in Ban's UN.

  When Ban last week announced the replacement of Tanzania's Migiro, Nesirky took questions on other topics but none from Inner City Press. On March 8, he tried again to avoid the question, saying "last question" as he pointed to another journalist. Video here, from Minute 15:36. Then he tried to limit Inner City Press to one question, despite allowing others repeated follow ups. This too is Ban's UN.

Confirming something Inner City Press reported last month, German Angela Kane was given the UN Disarmament job, over the Permanent Representatives of Peru and the Philippines, who worked himself hoarse chairing another disarmament related event. But as one insider put it, "German had to have a seat, and Angela turned down some other jobs."

The post at the UN Economic Commission for Europe went not to another German, Franz Baumann "or bigger," but to Bosnian Sven Alkalaj. But there's a problem, or more than one:

"Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj faced to step down for breaching decrees of the Law of Conflict of Interest, the Election Commission said in the capital Sarajevo Thursday. An investigation by the commission revealed that... Alkalaj was a paid member of the supervisory board of the VGT insurance company of Visoko, which did business with government bodies."

  But this is Ban's UN -- perhaps this formal investigation for "breaching decrees of the Law of Conflict of Interest" were counted by Ban as in Alkala's favor. But in light of Nesirky's claim that the due diligence was "rigorous," beyond the investigation for conflict of interest how about this video?  Others say the the Eastern European Group didn't fully sign off on this appointment. So Ban has rebuffed the African Group, and the Eastern European Group. Who's next?

A well placed Permanent Representative told Inner City Press, shaking his head, that Ban's belated "fix" will be to "name a black African to DFS," the Department of Field Support post being vacated by Susana Malcorra. Too little, too late, said another. Watch this site.

Footnote: as Inner City Press reported yesterday, to replace Kane at the Department of Management, Yukio Takasu is the Japanese candidate. In this game of musical chairs of Ban Ki-moon, it's better to not like Africa get left without a chair....

  One of the UN Secretariat's better officials, Fink Haysom, is as Inner City Press first reported going to Afghanistan as the Deputy. He stood up for things he believed in, and cared about them, increasingly rare in the North Lawn building where he will be missed. We wish him well: the UN needs more people like him.

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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

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