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UN's Ban "Dismayed" By Fiji Coup, But Won't Forego Peacekeepers, Helen Clark on Spot

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

UNITED NATIONS, April 13 -- After the military coup in Fiji in late 2006, then-Secretary General Kofi Annan said that unless democracy was soon restored, the UN would stop using Fijian peacekeepers. More than two years later, not only has democracy not been restored, now according even to the UN the Constitution has been abrogated, the judiciary dismissed and elections put off for another five years. Current Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 10 expressed "deep dismay" at this, saying he "strongly deplores these steps."

  On April 13, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq is Ban's "deep dismay" means that finally Kofi Annan's threat, to stop using and paying for peacekeepers from Fiji will be implement. Haq responded that future use of troops from Fiji will be on a "case by case basis." Video here, from Minute 9:39.

  But after the coup, the UN continued to rotate Fijian soldiers in and out of Iraq, and Haq admitted their numbers were not capped. Now even with Ban's stated "deep dismay," nothing is said to have changed. How deep is that dismay, again?

Bainimarama during 2006 coup, Ban's 2009 "deep dismay" not shown

  Late on November 28, 2006, after Inner City Press asked at that day's noon briefing about it, the UN issued a statement that "The Secretary-General also wishes to stress that further prolongation of the crisis may damage Fiji's international standing, which it has built carefully over the years, as an important contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and more recently as a member of the Peacebuilding Commission."  If 29 months followed by suspension of elections for five more years is not "prolongation," what is?

  Notably, New Zealand's then-prime minister Helen Clark as reported by Inner City Press in 2007 said, "We've made it very clear to the UN that we do not believe they should be using Fijian troops." Now Ms. Clark is coming in as UN Development Program Administrator, described as the third most powerful position in the UN system. What will she do on this? It will be among her first tests. Watch this site.

  Click here for a new YouTube video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

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.

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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

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