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As UN's Ban Meets Sri Lankan Enforcer, His Has Eyes on S. Korea, Nambiar As Malloch?

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

UNITED NATIONS, January 26 -- With civilians and journalists being killed hourly in Sri Lanka, the UN's Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday meant with one of that country's president's brothers, Basil Rajapaksa. While another brother who has American citizenship serves as Defense Secretary during the assault on Tamil Tiger strongholds, Basil who reportedly has a U.S. green card is known in Sri Lanka as "the enforcer."

   A source on the UN's 38th floor analogized Basil to Ban's senior advisor Kim Won-soo, but then noted that Ban usually meets with heads of state, foreign ministers or Permanent Representatives, not an "M.P., Senior Presidential Advisor" as Basil is identified on Ban's late-provided daily schedule. Even as a Member of Parliament, Basil was appointed, not elected. Some have sought to have him indicted for war crimes, click here for that.

  Inner City Press went up to the 38th floor for the photo opportunity belated provided for the meeting. Ban was accompanied by, among others, his political advisor Nicolas Haysom and his  chief of staff Vijay Nambiar (more about whom is below). Basil was accompanied by four members of the Sri Lankan mission to the UN.  

   After the photos were taken, Inner City Press and a handful of others there to document the meeting were ushered out. So what did they later discuss?  Could it be the killing and beating of journalists?  

UN's Ban and Sri Lanka's President, brothers' immigration status and war crimes questions not shown

Two weeks ago, Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickramatunga was ambushed by killers on motorcycles. Then Upali Thennakoon, editor of the Sinhalese language weekly newspaper Rivira, was beaten and stabbed by a gang of thugs, also on motorcycles, as he drove to work.  Previously, gunmen destroyed the studios of MBC, Sri Lanka's largest private broadcaster.

    Recently in the U.S. Congress criticism of Sri Lanka on this score was heard. Basil, it seems, is on a tour to Washington and New York to try to explain away these killings.

Footnotes: inside the UN word circulates that Vijay Nambiar may be in consideration to take over for the departing Kemal Dervis atop the UN Development Program. This would be consistent with the United Kingdom's long-rumored desire to gain the chief of staff position. Ironically, it would be a "reverse Mark Malloch Brown," referring to the now UK minister who moved from UNDP to become Kofi Annan's chief of staff.

  Of Kim Won-soo, sources tell Inner City Press that during Team Ban's recent jaunt through the Middle East, Mr. Kim was adamant that media priority be given to South Korea's Yonhap News. While interested in Gaza in Seoul is relatively low, interest in Ban Ki-moon, including as a potential presidential candidate, is high. Perhaps there is interest in Mr. Kim as well.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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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