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As UK Lyall Grant Regrets UN Envoy Banned from Sierra Leone, Of Meece's Meekness, Frechette in Breeze

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon capitulated to the government of Sierra Leone and abruptly removed UN envoy Michael von der Schulenburg from the country, some UN officials close to Ban complained to Inner City Press about "the S-G's weakness."

  "What kind of message does it send," a senior Secretariat official asked Inner City Press, "when Ban sells out his own appointees at at the drop of a hat?"

  On Friday, Inner City Press asked the Security Council president for March Mark Lyall Grant of the UK about Schulenburg's removal. Speaking in his national capacity because the Council won't discuss it until March 22, Lyall Grant did not directly criticize Ban, but said "the ERSG was put in a difficult position by the government of Sierra Leone.... We regret that, he left earlier than originally planned." Video here, from Minute 28:45.

  Lyall Grant went on to list other recent controversies about "host country consent," for example the Democratic Republic of the Congo where, he said, the government threatened that the UN Mission should leave. He added that was "resolved." But how?

  In DRC, Ban's envoy Roger Meece said almost nothing amid Joseph Kabila electoral controversy -- the blocking of opposition candidates, the torching of polling stations. While such meekness may be Meece's personality, Ban is sending the message that this is how to succeed in his UN.

  Notably, Ban has refused to support in any way his own appointee as chair of the Senior Advisory Group on Peacekeeping Operations, Louise Frechette, when she belatedly rule inappropriate the participation of Sri Lankan General Shavendra Silva, whose 58th Division is depicted in Ban's own Panel of Experts report as engaged in war crimes.

  While other Permanent Representatives of Permanent Five members of the Security Council make excuses for Ban, intent only on securing top UN management positions from him, Lyall Grant has shown himself willing to speak some truth. Watch this site.

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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

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

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