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March 1, 2011: Libya

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In Ban's UN, As Yonhap Fetes Photos of Cholera in Haiti, Sudan Qs UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee, News Muse

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- Amid killings in Syria and the endgame in Libya, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday night was the guest of honor at a photo awards ceremony thrown by the news service of his native South Korea, Yonhap.

On hand in the lobby of the UN General Assembly were Kim Sook, South Korea's Permanent Representative, and the country's Consul General, as well as at least three of Ban's Under Secretaries General: Kiyo Akasaka, Sha Zukang and political chief Lynn Pascoe, seen earlier in the day with Ban's "post-Gaddafi" adviser Ian Martin.

While the photographs were good, they were no better than those in the recent World Press Photo exhibit, which drew far fewer Ban Administration officials. That exhibit, still up but roped off in the GA lobby, was tagged with a sign saying that its display did not represent UN endorsement.

In the Yonhap awards, a top prize went to AP photos of cholera in Haiti - without a trace of irony, even though reports have essentially established that it was the UN, through Nepalese peacekeepers, which introduced this cholera epidemic into Haiti.

Ban, spouse and crew get ready to cut, Syria & Sudan not shown, (c) MRLee

  A $10,000 award was given to the UN Foundation, whose representative in turn thanks Ban's "deputy" chief of staff Kim Won-soo. The Permanent Representative of Kazakhstan was conspicuously present; her Turkish counterpart arrived later and told Inner City Press his view of Ban's Palmer report on last year's Gaza flotilla: on background, of course.

  Meanwhile one wondered where Ban and his envoy Al Khatib were during the crucial hours in Tripoli, and whether answers will be provided about UN vehicles illegally moving cassiterite in the Congo, or deaths and ethnic firings in Sudan. Monday night the noodles were excellent -- but where's the beef? Watch this site.

Footnote: even in the South Korea-heavy atmosphere Monday night, Inner City Press' longstanding questions about the UN post Ban gave to Samuel Koo during his recent stay in Seoul went unanswered. Ban's Office of the Spokesperson has twice refused to answer, referring the Press to UNEP, which as noted hasn't answered. We understand Koo's wife is a musician - but the lack of transparency has us playing the blues.

* * *

On Libya, UN's Martin to Doha As His "Post-Conflict" Post Called Misnomer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 22 -- Hour after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was sending to Doha his envoys Al Khatib and Ian Martin, in charge of "post-conflict planning" in Libya, Inner City Press asked Martin when he would go, and asked the Council on Foreign Relations' experts about the UN's performance.

  CFR's Robert Danin told Inner City Press that there's been planning in European capitals "but not at UN headquarters, since the UN has to be driven by a strong force to take action.

  Inner City Press put the same question to Daniel Serwer of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, who said that European planning, at least by the UK, was on the "civilian side," not policing or peacekeeping. He took issue with Libya being characterized as "post conflict," calling it a "misnomer" when Libya is not yet even fully "post Gaddafi."

  Ian Martin, to the surprise of some, was still in New York on Monday afternoon. Inner City Press told him what Serwer had said, contesting his "post-conflict" job title. Martin nodded, and was non-committal in response to repeated press requests that he give a briefing or answer questions.

  Others tell Inner City Press that Martin heads Monday night to Doha, and then will see where that will lead. Ban Ki-moon's call Monday morning for a new Security Council mandate won't bear fruit, this people say, for "a week or ten days," after a series of consultations.

Ban & Ian Martin, who's yet to brief the press: "post conflict"?

Footnote: Earlier on Monday, US President Barack Obama said he's told his UN Ambassador Susan Rice to ask Ban to "use next month's General Assembly to support this important transition" in Libya. While the first step would seem to be to re-credential Ibrahim Dabbashi as Libya's UN Ambassador, some cynics later Monday mused that to get the General Debate to focus on Libya rather than the moves for Palestinian statehood scheduled for September 20 might be one of Obama's motives. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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