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At UN on Sri Lanka, US Call for Pause, UN Bobs and Weaves, Briefing Wednesday

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, April 21 -- As in the UN Security Council a series of speeches were given Tuesday about the UN's mediation work, Inner City Press asked United States Ambassador Rosemarie DiCarlo for the U.S.'s position on recent military action in Sri Lanka. “We want a pause,” Ambassador DiCarlo said. “We need to see more” on the Sri Lanka government's compliance with their “agreement with Mr. Holmes and Mr. Kaelin.”

   John Holmes, the UN's top humanitarian, is currently in China, it was announced at Tuesday noon briefing in New York. Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe to explain Ban's statement on April 20 that he “deplores the continued use of heavy weapons in the vicinity of civilians, and the use of force by the LTTE in preventing the departure of civilians from the conflict zone.” Who is Ban saying is using heavy weapons?

   Ms. Okabe called Ban's statement “clear and strong,” and chided Inner City Press for having allegedly missed another statement she read out as Inner City Press “set up shop there” in the briefing room. Some note that the UN's “noon” briefing starts 10, 15 or even 20 minutes late. In any event, the statement wasn't missed, just non-responsive.

US #3 Ambassador DiCarlo at the Council, UN answers not shown

    Inner City Press asked Ms. Okabe to square her Office's statement to Inner City Press on April 13 that the UN had repeated complained to Sri Lanka about the detention of UN staff in the government's IDP camps with Sri Lanka's statement that the first complaint was two days after Inner City Press raised it, on April 15. Ms. Okabe said she wasn't certainly of the timeline, and later produced a one-line answer from Mr. Holmes' spokeswoman Stephanie Bunker, that the UN has complained “since February.” Inner City Press has asked the UN to Please comment on / respond to the following public statements by the GoSL:

"The Government has received a letter from the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator Neil Buhne requesting movement for UN staff in refugee camps in Vavuniya, Resettlement Minister Rishad Baduideen said yesterday. “We received the letter on Wednesday evening and it was from Neil Buhne,” Minister Baduideen said. .. Minister Baduideen said he had not received a letter from the UN and unless they receive a formal complaint that they cannot look into it, and as and when they do they will discuss it with the military officials. END

    So are you saying that the UN's raising of the issue since Feb was informal? To whom was it raised, given the above? And what is the current status?

The UN's response will be reported on this site after it is received. On the timing of UN envoy Vijay Nambiar's briefing to the Council, Ms. Okabe says he is “at Headquarters,” and Council sources it will be Wednesday afternoon, in the basement.

  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.

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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

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Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

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