Loses Focus on Darfur, Pushes to Silence Questions of it Climate
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 20, updated
-- Darfur, which along with climate change used
to be called the UN's and Ban Ki-moon's top priorities, has fallen
further by the roadside.
Days ago, the UN's
own broadcaster in Sudan,
Miraya FM, reported that "the Sudan Liberation Movement
(SLM)-Abdul Wahid Nour Faction called on the United Nations/African
Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to intervene and rescue civilians
from aerial bombings [by the] Sudan Armed Forces in Kutum, North
in New York, Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky has for the past week
resisted in noon briefings taking any questions except about Haiti,
telling Inner City Press "today I'm sticking to Haiti." So
Inner City Press asked UN top peacekeeper Alain Leroy about the
Darfur report, at the end of a briefing on Haiti on January 18, but
has yet to receive any answer.
January 20, Mr.
Nesirky said he would at last take non Haiti question. Inner City
Press asked about Darfur and climate change (but was cut off from
asking if the UN is doing anything about the 400 killed and 4000
displaced in ethnic and religious clashes in Jos, Nigeria. Ironically, subsequent to this cut-off,
the UN Secretariat prepared, approved and issued a canned statement on
report, by the UN's own radio station and on its ReliefWeb.int,
Nesirky said he hasn't heard of it. On climate change, when Inner
City Press asked about a quote
in the UK Guardian by top US climate
negotiator Jonathan Pershing that it is "impossible to imagine a
negotiation of enormous complexity where you have a table of 192
countries involved in all the detail."
that Mr. Ban had seen the Guardian interview, and that Pership had
been contacted and said he was misquoted. The Guardian, however, has
not run any correction, and it is unclear if Pershing or the UN has
would have asked, but Nesirky insisted that no further questions
could be asked at the briefing. (He said it could be asked
afterwards, but as noted he has left unanswered for weeks numerous
questions Inner City Press has emailed to him, and even some asked
during the briefings this year.)
Press and UN's Nesirky, watching TV, Miraya FM and
Darfur not shown
would also have asked, on Sudan, about the death sentences just
imposed on JEM rebels for the attack on Omdurman, on the "sacking"
of numerous governors in the run up to an election the UN said it
cared about, as well as other questions -- but Mr. Nesirky permitted
no more questions, even after a week.
the UN says
it was able to procure a statement by Pershing that his seemingly
anti-UN statement was misquoted, one wonders if the UN saw one of its
Darfur experts on Al Jazeera last week, calling "extremist"
those who say that Omar al Bashir should actually being put on trial
in The Hague, where he has been indicted. Is that now UN policy? Or
is the UN just not paying attention? Watch this site.
of Jan 20, 6 p.m. -- better late than never, two days after
then after a second ask, this was provided:
Re: Follow-up on your questions
DPKO at UN.org
Inner City Press
1/20/2010 5:51:16 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
is information from DPKO concerning Darfur:
of fighting between GoS forces and SLA/AW fighters around Insuru area
on 16 January, UNAMID team conducted a security assessment patrol to
the area on 17 January. The team visited the scene of attack at
Furoge village (40km northwest of Kutum) and interacted with the
SLA/AW commanders and locals who reported that on 16 January, at
about 12:00 hours, GoS military supported by Arab Militia from Dowa
(13km northwest of Kutum) and Birmaza (53km northwest of Kutum)
launched an attack at Furoge market area. During the attack, 15
locals were reported killed and 20 others injured. On 18 January,
UNAMID Team Site in Kutum carried out humanitarian assistance in the
area and offered medical treatment to critically injured patients at
Furuge Clinic. The team site also plans to supply water to residents
have more on this, watch this site.
* * *
Gambari, From Iraq Swan Song to Darfur on Thursday, UN in Transition
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 18 -- With the UN in transition, its Ibrahim
Gambari's losing his job in Iraq. Monday was the swan song, in a
standing room only conference room in the UN's new North Lawn
The Press was invited to attend, but was then told it had
to leave after Gambari's speech. "Good turn out," Inner
City Press complimented the staff. The response, delivered with
pride, was"Seventy Ambassadors!"
sources say "they had to call around to get the Ambassador to
come." Several came late, and UN staff asked non Permanent
Representatives to give up their seats. The Palestinian Observer, for
example, displaced a lower ranked Asian. The Observer swept in half
an hour later, with his Egyptian counterpart. Presumably the walling
off of Gaza was not being discussed.
how Iraq's leadership came to resent the International Compact with
Iraq, to feel it was a
test whose questions had to be answered. Iraq's Ambassador said he
wished Gambari had added that Iraq had passed the test.
Press and a TV station filming were told they had to leave, a source
who remained in the meeting says that after the Deputy Special
Representative spoke about good governance and human resources,
Iran's Ambassador called his foreign minister's visit to Baghdad
the EU and UK
spoke, which after the Lisbon Treaty seems strange. According to the
source, Lebanon's Ambassador erred and called for better relations
between "Iraq and Iraq." Presumably he meant Iran,
representing as he does Beirut's Hariri faction.
hall Inner City Press stopped Mr. Gambari and asked two questions
about his new job in Darfur. A staffer says Gambari's Darfur bound on
rebels are calling for the UN to protect civilians in
North Darfur. Gambari'd yet to hear about it.
UN's Ban and Gambari on ICI, focus on Darfur not
put to UN Peacekeeping, along with one about Chad's
MINURCAT's mandate should not be renewed in March. And they said
Darfur and its spill over were a major priority. Perhaps Gambari's
role in Darfur is to shut UNAMID down. Come and visit, Gambari gamely
said. Time will tell.
is, sources tell Inner City Press, a connection between the end of
Gambari's job with the Compact with Iraq and him being assigned to
UNAMID. Part of his salary came from Iraq, and part from Myanmar. When
the Iraq stream stopped, something had to be done. With Nigeria
clamoring for one of its nationals to take over UNAMID, after their
Martin Luther Agwai was replaced by a Rwandan as force commander, it
was two birds with one stone. But the Secretariat has yet to describe
Gambari's salary structure, or whether Bob Orr's ASG position legally
exists and how it's funded.
the Temporary North Lawn Building is looking better. The
Great Wall of China, from the old Delegates' Lounge, now hangs on the
first floor. Contractor Aramark tells Inner City Press that,
following requests and complaints from diplomats, it is looking more
likely that a bar will re-open in the new building. A Delegates'
Lounge in exile has been tried, but not the same. On this, watch this
* * *
Holmes Hasn't Heard of Mercenaries, Haitian Staff Records Only
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 18 -- Fresh back from Haiti, top UN humanitarian
John Holmes told the Press on Monday that fuel is coming in from the
Dominican Republic, and that towns outside Port au Prince will soon
be served by the UN, which has a facility, "though not
humanitarian," in Jacmel.
asked for Holmes' and the UN's reaction to reports that private
military contractors, also known as mercenaries, are offering their
services to NGOs and others in Haiti. I haven't heard that, Holmes
what do you
and the UN think of it?
Holmes said, it depends on what services are being
offered. Video here.
A lawyerly answer, though perhaps surprising from a UN
humanitarian coordinators after the events in Baghdad (and the U.S.
the UN did not include its national Haitian staff in its counts of UN
staff, Inner City Press asked Holmes if finally the UN had checked in
on its national staff. Holmes said that the funds, programs and
agencies have -- for example, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP -- but that for
the UN Peacekeeping MINUSTAH, the work is still ongoing.
this to all personnel records have been destroyed in the Christopher
Hotel. But are these records computerized, and a copy stories
somewhere else other than in the physical headquarters?
UN's Holmes speaks on Haiti, staff records and
mercenaries not seen
denounced what he called a CNN report that UN peacekeepers ordered a
Belgian humanitarian and search team to stop working, due to unrest.
That's false, Holmes said. He was asked, what about a similar report
in French media? I haven't seen it, Holmes replied.
scribe asked when the troops and police requested by Ban Ki-moon
could start to arrive. Holmes said, we already have 9000 there. So
why the rush to vote to increase the number, except to show the UN's
doing something? Click here for Inner City Press' coverage
Security Council meeting and politics of aid. Watch this site.
despite, as simply one example, coordinated attacks throughout Kabul,
the UN has apparently canceled its Monday noon briefing. In its place
will be a four p.m. briefing by Peacekeeping, on Haiti only. There
are other questions. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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