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As Colombia Pushes Back at UN on Child Soldiers, Its FM Seeks UN Post from Craven Ban Ki-moon?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 3, updated -- While Colombia pushes back against the UN on child soldiers and other issues, its foreign minister Maria Angela Holguin is said by Inner City Press sources to be seeking a senior UN post, as early as June.

  On April 3 at the UN, Inner City Press asked a panel from the Watchlist on Child and Armed Conflict about Colombia's record. The answers ranged from the government's pressure on and against the UN mechanism to its opposition to inquiries by the International Criminal Court, in which outgoing ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo concurred.

  As Inner City Press reported from the Security Council, in connection with the last briefing by also outgoing Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy, Colombia accused Coomaraswamy of mission creep, saying that the UN should stay out of the issue. The argument, made more recently, is that this is merely crime, and not technically armed conflict.

  While pushing back on the UN, Holguin is said to be seeking a UN job. There are only four open Under Secretary General positions in New York available: Public Information, Economic and Social Affairs, Field Support and Conference Services.

  Some wonder how Ban Ki-moon's five year rule applies for example to Alicia Barcena at ECLAC, when her counterpart in Africa has recently been replaced.

  How craven, some wonder, can Ban Ki-moon become? He has ceded UN Peacekeeping to France, and Political Affairs to the US. But, the question goes, to give a USG post to a country and official which pushes back at the UN?

  The Watchlist in responding to Inner City Press noted child soldiers in Myanmar as well. Ban Ki-moon has said he may go there this month. But would he raise child soldiers?

  From Tuesday's UN noon briefing, on the topic of DPA and Inner City Press' scoop on Jeffrey Feltman:

Spokesperson Nesirky: The recruitment process for these positions — and I am talking in particular about the ones that were recently advertised, unusually so, as you know, — but that’s a recruitment process that is under way. And when it is completed, we will make the appropriate announcements. I don’t have anything at the moment. I think you can also rest assured that our colleagues in the various departments are perfectly able to keep things moving along quite smoothly. Yes, Matthew?

Inner City Press: One follow-up on that. Some people say that, DPI, DGACM, DESA — these were all advertised in The Economist and there is a whole process, where as DPA wasn’t. So, some people interpret this to mean this is designated for the United States, maybe for Jeffrey Feltman. And I just wonder, what is the rationale for advertising some empty USG posts and not others — other than the explanation that I have just offered you?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, it sounds like you are doing my job for me. So, I am not sure I need to answer that. I think put simply, there is a transparent process under way to appoint senior officials, and when we have announcements to make on these appointments we will do so. I don’t have anything else at the moment.

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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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