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UN Reform Raised by French FM Fabius But Not Ban, UN Minus Ladsous?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 19 -- During a meeting the UN failed to disclose in advance, France's new foreign minister Laurent Fabius raised UN reform to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to a read out belatedly provided by the French Mission to the UN, which listed Syria, "the Sahel, the 'Rio +20' Conference and the efforts undertaken to reform the Organization."

   Ban Ki-moon's office never listed Fabius in Ban's daily schedule, and did not respond to the follow Press question:

"the French Mission has said that new Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is meeting with the Secretary General on Saturday, but checking the S-G's schedule it lists nothing for Saturday. IS the S-G meeting with Minister Fabius on Saturday? If so, at what time? Is there a photo op?"

     In fact, the photo released was by the French mission. Ban's office never answered the question, but summarized online:

"The Secretary-General met today with the Foreign Minister of France, Mr. Laurent Fabius. During their meeting, they discussed the situation in Syria, Lebanon, Guinea Bissau, Mali and the Sahel.  They also exchanged views on the Middle East Peace Process and on the upcoming Rio + 20 Conference in June 2012."

   Guinea Bissau, it might be said, is not in the Sahel, but not mentioned in the French summary. (French Ambassador Gerard Araud, who pushed for intervention to oust Laurent Gbagbo, has not urged much action on the coup in Guinea Bissau.)

   But it is also noteworthy that Ban Ki-moon's read out does not mention UN reform. In the past week, Ban's lawyer Patricia O'Brien issued a letter that doomed a draft resolution to reform the Security Council's working methods. Is it that Ban is of two minds about UN reform? Or is it something else?

  Some wonder in terms of concrete UN reform if uncommunicative UN Peacekeeping boss Herve Ladsous, who Nicolas Sarkozy pushed in as a last minute replacement for Jerome Bonnafont when the latter bragged too much about getting the job, should now himself be replaced by a less autocratic and more qualified French military figure.

  An urgent matter of UN reform is Ban allowing as one of his Senior Advisers on Peacekeeping an alleged war criminal, Sri Lankan General Shavendra Silva whose Division 58 appears in Ban's own report on Sri Lanka as shelling civilians and hospitals. Ladsous had refused to answer Press questions on this as well.

  There is also the question, much talked about at the UN, of when Ambassador Gerard Araud will leave New York, or at least the UN.

  There are other questions about this meeting: why not address or disclose addressing Western Sahara, since one of ousted foreign minister Alain Juppe's last meetings was with the new Moroccan foreign minister, who is trying to oust UN mediator Christopher Ross?

   Jean Marc Ayrault seems to have different view of Western Sahara. Does Fabius? The topic was not listed in either read out. Watch this site.

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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