Ban Slams Zim on Bias, But Lets Slide Russia's Kosovo Critique and N.
Korea's Lack of Voting and Human Rights
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
July 13 -- Minutes after the UN
Security Council's draft resolution to impose sanctions
on the Robert Mugabe
government failed on July 11, subject to a rare double veto by both
Russia and China, Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the UN Boniface
told the Press that the office of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has
cannot "be an impartial arbiter of the situation in Zimbabwe." Inner
City Press asked him why the resolution's proponents had insisted on
vote, even once they knew that there would be not only an abstention by
and five votes against, from South Africa, Viet Nam, Libya and Russia
with their vetoes. It was "the arrogance of the Americans," Chidyausiku
said. Video here,
from Minute 2:37.
the evening of Saturday,
July 12, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Michele Montas, issued a
statement that "we strongly regret the highly inappropriate and
unacceptable comments by the Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe
the Secretary-General's impartiality toward events in Zimbabwe." The
response was at odds with the usual position, that the
to and does not comment on the Security Council or member states.
July 9, about
other Council member comments critical of Ban Ki-moon, Inner
City Press asked
City Press: Yesterday at
stakeout, Russian Ambassador Churkin said the Secretary-General had
his bounds in the reconfiguration in Kosovo, and he specifically took
with this idea that the EULEX force would not be reporting either to
to the UN in New York. Is there any
response to what Churkin said?
Montas: This is the
position, of course, of the Russian Ambassador and he expressed his
that's all I can say.
Zimbabwe's Ambassador similarly questioned the Secretariat's actions,
Spokesperson did not let it go as one Ambassador's opinion and "that's
I can say." Rather, the Zimbabwean's comments were strongly criticized
"highly inappropriate and unacceptable."
arises: what's the difference?
Mugabe and Ban, questions of outside
influence and bias not shown
Is it, as some close
observers opine, that while
the U.S. and to a lesser extent UK / European Union shape Ban Ki-moon's
policies both on Zimbabwe and Kosovo, it was considered to have less
cost to lash back at Zimbabwe than at Russia? Is it that Russia is a
Five member of the Security Council, with veto power not only over
but over a possible second term for Ban Ki-moon?
Until the vetoes were cast, South Africa's Mbeki was
viewed as Mugabe's main supporter, and the U.S. has signalled that with
Jacob Zuma waiting in the wings, critique of Mbeki, and in this case of
Zimbabwe, can be ratcheted up.
Ki-moon's approach to Zimbabwe with, for example, his approach to North
government which widely violates human rights, and which doesn't even
to have elections. In the past week, Inner City Press conducted an
wide-spread poll in the UN, whether people would rather live in
North Korea. The results were similar to those in Equatorial Guinea,
Ki-moon has not criticized -- an over 90% win, in this this case for
Zimbabwe as a comparatively better place to live than North Korea. But
compare the UN's statements.
Here is what Zimbabwe's
Ambassador said on July 11:
believe that the office
of the Secretary-General is good offices for the resolution of any
situation in the world. He must have the
perception that, that office is impartial.
What we have witnessed in Zimbabwe, all the reports
that have come from
the Department of Political Affairs, are pro-opposition and they never
anything positive about the government of Zimbabwe.
We believe they are partisan and with that
type of an approach, there's no way they can be impartial arbiter in
resolution of the situation in Zimbabwe."
critique is of the Department of Political Affairs and "they," that is,
Team Ban. When the
Secretariat has been making statements in recent weeks about Zimbabwe,
question was muttered, who is
writing this stuff? Some pointed at the
nationality of the head of the Department of Political Affairs, Lynn
former U.S. State Department official. Mr. Pascoe was slated, along
American Robert Orr, to appear with Ban Ki-moon at his July 10 press
Perhaps concerned with how
it would look, to finally appear for a
sit-down press conference flanked by two senior advisers both from the
country, Ban ended up appearing accompanied on the rostrum only by his
Spokesperson, who once again controlled
the question-asking in such a way that
of these issues, including Kosovo and objectivity, were inquired into
in a small but telling detail, the Spokesperson's daily summaries of
press converage of the UN and Ban Ki-moon systemically omit certain
critical and investigative coverage. In light of an interesting report
of Ban reading in the Mugabe-controlled Herald of Harare
critique, and laughingly commenting, I guess he doesn't like me much,
the shrill Saturday slap-down is all the more surprising.
charitable, since Mr. Ban seems pleasant and has long been a diplomat,
some wonder if all of the above originates with him. Watch this site.
And this --