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At the UN, Ban's Schedule Tells of Niger Secrets, Sri Lanka Lack of Will, Chiselers and Consultants

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

UNITED NATIONS, May 15, updated -- A perusal of Friday's appointments of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is a profile in lack of accountability, lack of transparency, lack of independence and lack of will. At 11:30 is listed former chief UN lawyer Nicolas Michel, who was exposed as taking $12,000 a month in housing subsidy from the government of Switzerland while ostensibly working only for the UN, and then not including the payments on his UN public financial disclosure. Still he reappears, with UN benefits, as Ban's adviser on Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

  In terms of lack of transparency, while we are glad that Ban's stealth envoy to Niger Robert Fowler was released, no one -- including on May 14 Canada's Ambassador to the UN -- had been wiling to address the statement by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb that Fowler and colleagues were released in exchange for AQIM prisoners, nor what Fowler was doing visiting a Canadian-owned mine in Niger on the day he was kidnapped. Perhaps there'll be a press availability.

Update: at the May 15 noon briefing, when Inner City Press asked, Ban's Spokesperson said it's up to Fowler, and that no press availability was planned.

  Zalmay Khalilzad, former US Ambassador to the UN, shows up at 5:45, identified as "CEO of Khalilzad Associates." Certainly this publicly-listed face time will help his consulting business. But what's in it for the UN?

Update: at the May 15 noon briefing, when Inner City Press asked, Ban's Spokesperson said it's a courtesy call.

UN's Ban and Khalilzad, now consultant, Amb. Takasu, action on Sri Lanka not shown

    A week ago, Inner City Press asked if there was any change of Ban Ki-moon going to Sri Lanka before what the government is calling its final assault, given Ban's desire to attend the May 11 Security Council session on the Middle East hosted by Permanent Five Council member Russia, and to meet on May 15 with a minister of follow P-5 member China. The latter meeting hadn't been announced, but Inner City Press was told by well placed sources that talking points for Ban had been ordered up.

  And now it is confirmed: a meeting at 3:20 on May 15 with He Yafei, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, the country which most blocked Council action on the carnage in Sri Lanka.

  A long and telling day at the UN, and a worse -- at least in Sri Lanka -- weekend to come. Watch this site.

  On Sri Lanka

 On Friday May 8, Inner City Press asked Deputy Spokesperson Okabe:

Inner City Press: On the invitation by the Government of Sri Lanka to the Secretary-General to visit, is there any progress in thinking? In the alternative, is the Secretary-General, is he considering invoking Article 99 or responsibility to protect or making some other move of some type on the situation in Sri Lanka?

Deputy Spokesperson: I have nothing beyond what we’ve been saying from this podium this week on Sri Lanka, including what the Secretary-General himself has said earlier this week.

   What Ban said did not involve calling for a cease-fire, did not respond to the invitation to visit Sri Lanka, or the accelerating rate of civilians death over the weekend, during which no statement issued about Sri Lanka. Watch this site.

 Channel 4 in the UK with allegations of rape and disappearance

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel 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.

* * *

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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