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Complaints that Maged Helped Keep UN Africa Post Empty, Got It as Reward

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 15 -- Amid a growing perception that the UN under Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has snubbed sub Saharan Africa, the African Group's call for the appointment of a full time Special Adviser on Africa was repeatedly rebuffed by Ban. Assisting Ban in this, numerous African Group sources complain, was Egypt's Permanent Representative Maged Abdelaziz.

  Now, the complaint continues, Maged Abdelaziz has ironically been rewarded by being handed the Special Adviser on Africa post. "He help Ban not fill the post," one Permanent Representative told Inner City Press on Thursday, "then he got it for himself."

  Even before March 8 when it was announced, Inner City Press on February 21 reported that Ban was leaning to giving this reward to Egypt's Mubarak era ambassador. (Back when Maged publicly criticized Ban for his canned statements about Egypt, well placed sources describe closed door communication far more embarrassing for both Maged and Ban.) But when the announcement was made, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Pres: What’s the Secretary-General’s response to criticism from the African Group that they no longer have the Deputy Secretary-General and that the Special Adviser on Africa post is going to a North African not sub-Saharan?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: Africa is a continent and Mr. Abdelaziz is from the continent of Africa.

  This answer was met with much derision in the African Group. Inner City Press asked, at least, Maged would be a full time Special Adviser. On March 15, Nesirky provided this response:

I was asked earlier about the posts of Special Adviser on Africa and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States. I can confirm that these will be two separate positions. Cheick Sidi Diarra is still the High Representative and, as you know, the Secretary-General appointed Maged Abdelaziz as Special Adviser on Africa on 8 March.

  Cheick Sidi Diarra is said to be headed for the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Ethiopia, whose incursion into Eritrea went uncommented on by Ban's spokesman Nesirky on Thursday despite a question, and Maged is said to not be too long for the Special Adviser job.

  Many are saying that sub Saharan Africa "at least" has to be given the Department of Field Support, which Atul Khare, Catherine Polland and maybe Tony Banbury are vying, or another of the remaining open Under Secretary General spots.

  But with Ban, you never know. Watch this site.

Footnote: Meanwhile ASG Jomo Kwame Sundaram is said to be vying for the top job in the International Labor Organization, just as Ban's adviser Jeffrey Sachs is openly campaigning for the presidency of the World Bank. Inner City Press has asked if this is a conflict of interest; Nesirky has so far not answered. Only in Ban's 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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