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At UN, Ouattara's Bamba is Installed, Speaks of Genocide But Not How He's Paid

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 29 -- In New York on Wednesday, Laurent Gbagbo's former Ambassador to Austria Yousoufou Bamba became the Ouattara-nominated Permanent Representative of Cote d'Ivoire to the UN. After a ceremony with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Bamba sat to take questions.

  Inner City Press asked Bamba if the Ouattara government can confirm Gbagbo's use of mercenaries, and if it would support an investigation by the International Criminal Court of Gbagbo and his supporters. Inner City Press is putting exclusive video of the full Q&A online, here.

Bamba said first the killings must be stopped, before there is any discussion of the ICC. He referred, as the UN has, to markings on doors based on tribal affiliation, and said things are close to a “genocide.” He said there are Liberian mercenaries embedded in Gbagbo's Republican guard.

  With state broadcasters whom the UN has likened to those in Rwanda in 1994 now off the air outside of Abidjan, Inner City Press asked if Ouattara's forces had been involved in taking the stations off the air. Bamba refused to comment, just as the UN has.

UN's Ban & Bamba, call for ICC action and how paid not shown

  In light of Soro statements seeming to call for military action by ECOWAS, Inner City Press asked Bamba if Ouattara too supports outside intervention. Bamba said that there is a negotiation taking place that is sensitive, and that he would not discussion intervention, nor safe passage for Gbagbo.

  Inner City Press asked Bamba about his previous service to Gbagbo. Bamba responded that he is a civil servant of 25 years, who served under pre-Gbagbo Ivorian leaders. Later, Inner City Press asked Bamba how he is being paid, he called it “too personal” and said only that in his years as a civil servant he had developed savings.

  Since Bamba insisted repeatedly on his years as a diplomat, Inner City Press asked what he made of Russia's opposition in the Security Council to the press statement noting ECOWAS' recognition of Ouattara as the election's winner, and Russia's opposition to the change in credential from Djedje to himself. I was not here in those meetings, Bamba said, refusing to comment further.

  The presentation of credential ceremony included the same Ivorian Mission Deputy who served under Djedje, and has held the seat since. US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press he had not gone over to "the dark side," and he will apparently continue.

  How big a change Bamba will be remains to be seen. Watch the video -- click here -- and watch this site.

Footnote: present at Bamba's handshake with Ban Ki-moon was Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky. Throughout this week, Inner City Press has directed to Nesirky questions about Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan and other UN topics, without any answers. On Wednesday morning, Nesirky indicated there would be answers later in the day. As of this publication at 2:30 in the afternoon, no answers have been received. We'll have more on this.

* * *

On Cote d'Ivoire, UN Has Nothing on Mercenaries or Blocked Broadcasts

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 27 -- Five days after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for member states to help break the blockade and deliver supplies to peacekeepers in Abidjan, Ban's Office of the Spokesperson has stopped answering any questions about the UN in Cote d'Ivoire.

On December 23, Inner City Press asked Ban's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq why at this time the UN was planning to suspend all of its noon press briefings for the week starting December 27. After claiming that it was journalists who asked to receive less information, Haq said not to worry, while he was going on vacation until January 4, main spokesman Martin Nesirky would be in charge and answering questions.

On December 26, Inner City Press sent three Cote d'Ivoire questions to Nesirky and Haq, asking for responses for a 12:30 pm December 27 deadline. These were and are the questions:

What has the UN done about mercenaries in Cote d'Ivoire since Alain Le Roy confirmed the UN's sighting of mercenaries in that country?

Please confirm or deny the UN's knowledge of Angolan fighters in Cote d'Ivoire.

Inner City Press had asked Le Roy, when he came out from briefing the Security Council last week, if he could confirm Liberian and Angolan mercenaries in Cote d'Ivoire. Yes, Le Roy said, speaking of Liberian mercenaries who spoke English and not French.

Even after Le Roy's statement, Ban's deputy spokesman Haq denied that the UN had knowledge of mercenaries. The next day, Ban himself referred to them. Then the UN stopped answering questions, including about what if anything they had done. Inner City Press also asked on December 26:

Also in Cote d'Ivoire, confirm or deny any UN involvement in or knowledge of the blocking of broadcast stations beyind Abidjan. Separately, plea se provide Ban Ki-moon's and Choi Young-jin's comment on this article (link).

Ban and Le Roy had called state broadcasting in Cote d'Ivoire hate radio for what it said of the UN. Then when it went off the air, what did they say? Apparently, nothing.

UN's Ban and Y.J. Choi, spokespeople's answers not seen

If and when we get answers from Ban's office, we will publish another article. Watch this site.

Footnote: at 11:30 am Monday, Ban acting Deputy Spokesman sent the following, in response to the three Cote d'Ivoire and other questions outstanding since the previous week and before:

From: Farhan Haq [at]
To: Inner City Press, Martin Nesirky [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM
Re: Press Qs on Cote d'Ivoire, Darfur, Sri Lanka and Kosovo (and old questions... reiterated re [26] days ago

UNHQ is closed on Monday. Thanks.

* * *

As UN Seeks to Decertify Gbagbo Diplomat, Le Roy Reconfirms Mercenaries

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 21 -- After Cote d'Ivoire's UN Ambassador was targeted in a General Assembly speech by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, top UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy again told Inner City Press that Laurent Gbagbo is using mercenaries, and the ports of Abidjan have been blockaded.

Inner City Press asked Le Roy if the UN is asking other member states, like Nigeria or others in ECOWAS, to help break the blockade, as Ban implied. Le Roy said there is a Friday meeting of ECOWAS at which response will be decided.

Both Ban and Le Roy spoke about state media preaching hate and attacking on UN peacekeepers. Inner City Press asked if the UN would move to shut down the radio, as some in the UN say should have been done in Rwanda in 1994. Le Roy answered by contrasting a speech by Gbagbo ostensibly calling for peace with what the media is doing.

Inner City Press asked Le Roy to confirm that UN Peacekeepers have shot and killed at least one Ivorian. He said only that they had responded appropriately, but that there are more threats.

It was Le Roy's second confirmation to Inner City Press of Gbagbo's use of mercenaries. After the first one, still Ban's acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Tuesday at noon that it had NOT been confirmed. Video here.

  But Le Roy confirmed it again four hours later. Why did Haq deny it?

UN's Ban & Gbagbo, mercenaries and blockade not shown

In the hall of the UN's North Lawn building, Sudan's Permanent Representative greeted Ban and his chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, and then the Ambassador of Nigeria and ECOWAS, and Le Roy. At the stakeout, Inner City Press asked Le Roy about Sudan's destruction of IDP camps in Darfur. We are aware of that, Le Roy said. UNAMID is on the scene. We'll see.

Footnote: Inner City Press interviewed Cote d'Ivoire's Deputy Permanent Representative both before and after Ban's speech. Before, when Inner City Press asked if he would speak, he said “nous ne sommes pas mandate.” Afterward he said Ban's speech was only about the Permanent Reprentative Djedje, and that the new Ouattara Perm Rep Mr. Joseph previously represented Gbagbo: “He's a career civil servant.” Oh, diplomacy.

 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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