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

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On Libya, Ban Ki-moon 's Envoy Khatib Works in Jordan, Ruling Snubbed, Private Planes Demanded from UN

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 27, updated -- The ostensibly full time envoy to Libya of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Abdul Ilah Al Khatib, “does have some responsibilities still in Jordan,” Ban's acting deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told Inner City Press on March 25.

  For week Inner City Press has asked the UN about Al Khatib still being paid as a Senator in Jordan and about his business interests including as a director of Jordan Ahli Bank which is a co top 20 owner of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaise with the Gaddafi controlled Libya Foreign Bank.

  Now, Inner City Press has learned that after this questioning began, UN staff wrote to the UN Office of Legal Affairs seeking a ruling on Al Khatib's unprecedented double service. OLA, with Ban's top lawyer Patricia O'Brien not there, has rendered the obvious ruling, that such double service is not permissible for a staff member or UN Envoy.

Tellingly, Ban has yet to acting on the ruling by his legal department, the staff tell Inner City Press. Rather, as Haq belatedly put it on March 25, “because of the speed with which we felt the need to appoint an envoy, some of the terms of his contract are still being worked out.”

But these conflicts of interest were obvious before Ban offered Al Khatib the job, after being turned down by Lakhdar Brahimi and Kemal Dervis. Close observers say that while Al Khatib may not be able, particularly with these conflicts, to negotiate any less bloody outcome in Libya, he negotiated masterfully with Ban Ki-moon.

Ban & al-Khatib, Jordan pay not shown, who's playing whom?

  Once Ban publicly named Al Khatib as his envoy without getting any commitment to stop outside activities, Al Khatib has all the leverage. He is refusing to stop his activities, the sources say, and is in fact demanding that he remain based in Amman, Jordan.

Al Khatib wants UN staff assigned to him there -- already he “borrowed” a Jordanian spokesman from the Beirut-based UN Economic and Social Council for Western Asia, run by a Jordanian -- and demands to be met at airports and flown on private planes.

Al Khatib is a great negotiator,” a well place source tells Inner City Press, “just not in or for Libya.”

With Al Khatib serving as a Senator in Jordan, protesters have recently been killed in that country. When Ban unveiled Al Khatib as his envoy at a tightly controlled press stakeout, Inner City Press asked, “What about Jordan?” The two men walked away from the microphone. Last week, Inner City Press was not allowed to ask Ban about Khatib. Watch this site.

Update: at the UN noon briefing on March 28, the day after the above was published, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky declined Inner City Press' request that he confirm or deny the OLA memo and that Khatib wants to be based in Amman and use only private jets.

  Nesirky said that "some details are still being worked out" and he had "nothing to add to that."  Now Ban is headed to London - no chance to ask him. Might Khatib fly there on a private jet?

* * *

UN Now Says Envoy to Libya Khatib Still Has Responsibilities in Jordan, His Contract In Flux Amid Conflicts

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 25 -- After dodging repeated questions about whether UN envoy to Libya Abdul Ilah Al Khatib is still paid by Jordan, where he is a Senator, when Inner City Press again asked the question on March 25, Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that “the terms of his contract are still being worked out... he still has some responsibilities in Jordan.”

To some, this implies that contrary to UN charter and rules, Khatib is at the same being paid by and serving a particular government and the UN. Significantly, in Jordan this week water cannons were deployed on protests, leading to the death of at least one protester.

Beyond the financial conflicts of interest, including Khatib being a director of Jordan Ahli Bank which is a co top 20 owners of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises with Libya Foreign Bank, 100% owned by Gaddafi's Libya Central Bank, why would Secretary General Ban Ki-moon choose as his envoy to Libya the former foreign minister of a country his own advisers describe as an autocracy, which is itself now killing protesters?

Haq also on March 25 said that the decision about what political moves are acceptable to the UN in Libya will be up to Khatib. “Talk about the fox guarding the chicken house,” remarked one wag. The questions will continue to be asked.

From the UN's March 25 transcript:

Inner City Press: on the envoy, yesterday Martin [Nesirky] had said, it’s been going around for a couple of days, is… whether Mr. [Abdul Ilah] Khatib, what is his status with the UN? Is he a USG [Under-Secretary-General]? Is he a staff member? And is he still being paid by the Government of Jordan? It seemed like it shouldn’t be that difficult to get yes or no answers to those three.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Well, part of the thing is, because of the speed with which we felt the need to appoint an envoy, some of the terms of his contract are still being worked out. So I don’t have any firm answers about the nature of his contract to give right now, because that is being worked out with him. He does have some responsibility still in Jordan, as well as his position here with us.

    What ARE those responsibilities in, and payments from, Jordan? Watch this site.

* * *

UN Envoy Al Khatib Is On Board of Jordan Ahli Bank, Links With Libya Central Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- In selecting Abdul Ilah al Khatib as the UN's envoy on Libya, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved quickly -- maybe too quickly.

 Since serving as the foreign minister of Jordan, describe even some close to Ban as an autocracy, al Khatib has served on the boards of director not only of Lafarge Jordan Cement Company but also of Jordan Ahli Bank.

Jordan Ahli Bank is active beyond that country's borders. A sample connection: along with Libyan Foreign Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Libya, Jordan Ahli Bank is a top 20 shareholder of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises.

   Could there be conflicts of interest? Did the UN's Ban administration even consider these?

   Ban previously claimed that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure. But when Inner City Press showed this is not true -- even Ban's close ally Choi Young-jin, his envoy in Cote d'Ivoire, declined to make public financial disclosure -- Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban's statement had been “metaphorical.”

Now Ban names and injects al Khatib into a struggle about democracy and free press, when as Inner City Press noted yesterday

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."

  By what process was al-Khatib vetted and selected? Watch this site.

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

 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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