Cote d'Ivoire Troop Rollover Stalled by “Politics,” UK
January 18, updated -- As the UN Security Council met Tuesday morning
at the deadline to extend its extra troops in Cote d'Ivoire, two
Western Ambassadors for the first time admitted there's a problem.
Ambassador Wittig of Germany said there might be a “hiccup.” Then
Mark Lyall Grant of the UK came out and blamed it on Russia.
reported back on January 14, several Council members complained
that the “Westerners” had loaded up what was supposed to be a
technical rollover with “politics.” After a second draft by
France, sources told Inner City Press that while China was
“flexible,” Russia still had a problem with a paragraph about
surprise on Tuesday morning that the problem remains?
City Press asked Lyall Grant about the sanctions paragraph Russia was
known to have a problem with, even back on Friday. Lyall Grant said the
Council President -- Bosnia -- was talking to Russia, and that he
didn't think the Russians in New York knew what the issue, apparently
taken by their capital, was. But why call a vote, he asked, if Russia
doesn't have instructions?
Gambari and Lyall Grant, who will not second guess UN
Vitaly Churkin walked into the Council, Inner City Press asked him
about what Lyall Grant had said. Churkin asked rhetorically, We're
11:18 am -- Inner City Press is told the Council will have Cote
d'Ivoire consultations after its meeting on Sudan. At issue is not
only the “political” language that Russia still doesn't want in,
but also whether the new / Ouattara Ambassador, Yousoufou Bamba,
should be allowed to speak in the chamber. Inner City Press told
Churkin what was said about him “not having instructions.” He
replied, smiling, “I always have instructions.”
1:31 pm -- Russia's Churkin tells Press his country has agreed to
an “improved” Cote d'Ivoire resolution. “We inserted freedom of
expression,” he said, smiling. It will be voted on tomorrow. Inner
City Press asked Ouattara's Ambassador Bamba if he'll get to speak
and he said “yes.” Watch this site.
* * *
on France's Cote d'Ivoire Resolution, Russia Objects on Sanctions,
China "Flexible;" Kabila's DRC Change
14 -- The UN Security Council was slated to vote on
January 14 on a peacekeeping resolution about Cote d'Ivoire. But the
vote has been delayed, until January 18. Why?
is told by Council sources that “the Westerners” -- drafter
France and the United States -- loaded the resolution up with “too
much politics,” getting back into the same issues which caused a
long delay in issuing a mere press statement about Cote d'Ivoire.
so, with the
clock ticking, on the January 14 day scheduled for voting France
circulated another version of the resolution, with “some of the
politics” removed, aiming to have this voted on January 18.
Council experts meeting broke up at 5 pm on January 14, sources told
Inner City Press that the remaining problem is a paragraph about
sanctions that Russia is objecting to. "China is being more flexible,"
President coming out in favor of Gbagbo, there are rumblings
of other changes. A Congolese UN staffer approached Inner City Press
on Friday morning to ask that Ban Ki-moon be asked what he thinks of
Joseph Kabila's move to change his country's Constitution to avoid
the type of run off that allowed the UN in Cote d'Ivoire to reach out
and certify a winner.
UN's Ban: why rely on Gbagbo if UN certified as illegitimate?
told the UN's
handling of Cote d'Ivoire makes it less likely, many diplomats say,
that the UN will be invited in for any substantive role in their
elections. Merely logistical, one African Permanent Representative
told Inner City Press. “The UN should move the ballots around and
pay for things, but say nothing.” We'll see.
* * *
As Ouattara is Served “UN Food,” UN Dodges
13 -- When a crowd of Laurent Gbagbo supporters
d'Ivoire stopped and looted a UN food convoy earlier this week, the
UN said it
was a violation of international humanitarian law. On January 13,
Inner City Press asked for confirmation that the food trucks had been
bound for the luxury Golf Hotel, asked what kind of food it was and
who was paying for it.
Martin Nesirky did not answer the question during the noon briefing,
but inserted into the subsequent
transcript was this line: “The
food is UN food.”
World Food Program food, the sort of high energy biscuit or sacks of
rice and flour that the UN delivers in many part of the world?
told Inner City Press that the Alassane Ouattara camp -- hundreds of
people -- are being provided with “Presidential food” as one
disgruntled UN staffer put it, and all with UN money. There is talk
of linen in the hotel being changed every day: a new human right,
phrase mean, “UN food”? Does the UN have some warehouse of
steaks and even wine? Or did it put out a procure contract for these
would liked to immediately follow up on the “the food is UN food”
answer, but the answer was not provided to Inner City Press directly.
Rather it was said over a speaker system that is audible in the
cubicles the UN provides to the UN press corps, the so-called
whistleblower free zone. It would have been easy to e-mail the
answer, as Inner City Press has requested. But it was not done.
transcript, beginning with a still unanswered question:
Sure, I wanted to ask some questions about Côte
d’Ivoire. I understand that you said there would be some statement
on things on the ground. I just want to know, in advance of
deploring these things, is the UN confirming the burning of its
vehicles by supporters of Mr. Gbagbo?
I can confirm is that there have been a number of
incidents, including the burning of a number of UN vehicles in
There’s a pretty widely circulated — there’s been
in the French press now, among others — and no one knows if the
memo is true or not, so I want to preface it that way. But the buzz
is that the Forces Nouvelles intend to break out of the hotel around
January 19 to 23, there’s a document being circulated that purports
to be a kind of a plan for it — it could just be a de-stabilizing
document. But I just wanted to know, since the document says that
the UN will also get involved — the document seems to indicate that
incidents will precipitate action by both forces on that date. Has
the UN seen this? Does it deny that it’s playing any part in it? And
how would it view the Forces Nouvelles coming out of the Golf
need to check on whether the Mission is aware of the document
that you mention, and what their take is on it.
UN's Le Roy & Ouattara, food and cost -- and plot? -- not shown
One more thing, if you don’t mind — it’s just a
factual one. Maybe you’ll answer it or not, but I know that the
trucks that were looted were delivering food to the Golf Hotel. It
may seem like a strange question to you, but was the food — there
are a thousand people or more in the Golf Hotel. Who’s paying for
all this? Who’s paying the hotel bill, is the food UN food? If
so, how — I heard a figure of $5 million, maybe that’s too high,
but — is there some way to know what the actual kind of logistics
of this now month-long stay — unplanned stay at the Golf Hotel —
who’s paying the owner? Is the food from the UN, and is it WFP
[World Food Programme] food or some other, more presidential food? I’d
just like to get an answer on that.
Yes, Massoud? [He later said that the United Nations does
not pay the bills at the Golf Hotel. The food is UN food.]
food” mean? And how much does it cost? Watch this site.
* * *
& Paying Gbagbo Army, UN Is
and around the UN in New York there is open
talk about trying to cut off Laurent Gbagbo's access to cocoa customs
in Cote d'Ivoire, or to paying bribes to his military to defect.
is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon part of these discussions?
of January 16 is named for when payment is
due to Gbagbo's military. One Ambassador told some of the press that
Gbagbo's military is being told that “the ICC is watching,” and
that ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo told the Council that not only
Ouattara but also Gbagbo recently called him. France is described as
trying to blockade cocoa custom funds to Gbagbo.
asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky if, during Ban's
video conferences with his envoy in Abidjan Choi Young-jin the two
speak on these topics. “The Mission monitors such developments with
a close eye,” Nesirky replied. He added that “the Mission keep
Headquarters informed... They assess every aspect across the
spectrum.” Audio here, from Minute 18:40.
some, this was
a surprising answer.
UN's Ban & Choi, talk of cocoa customs & payments not shown
called for a Special Forces action
against Gbagbo and Inner City Press asked Nesirky about it, he
replied that the UN favors a diplomatic solution. Watch this site.
the UN could conclude that the deadly fighting in
Douekou was not related to the Gbagbo - Ouattara standoff. Rather
than explain, Nesirky read out a note that a seven person team from
Abidjan will go to Douekou with aid and to assess. Then what?
* * *
on Opposition Office, Ban's Spokesman
Passes Buck to DPKO Missions
in Cote d'Ivoire and whom
is it protecting? After forces of Laurent Gbagbo raided the offices
of the opposition Democratic Party of Ivory Coast, Inner City Press
asked the UN to confirm whether one or four people had been killed,
and to state where other that the Golf Hotel is it protecting, even
just in Abidjan.
Martin Nesirky, who earlier spoke about the ONUCI Mission's
“patrols,” replied that UN peacekeepers had “sought to gain
access but it was not yet possible.”
was purporting to protect offices of opposition
political parties, or by implication their officials.
“The focus is
Golf Hotel,” Nesirky said. As the UN says when civilians are
slaughtered or raped in Eastern Congo, he said UN peacekeepers “can't
be everywhere all the time.” Here we're talking about a foreseeable
attack on an opposition politicial party's office right in Abidjan.
The UN couldn't be there?
Press learned that the Council will in
all probability have consultations on Cote d'Ivoire on January 5.
“We're still consulting” a source told Inner City Press, “but
it looks like it will be tomorrow.
briefing, Nesirky added that he would “defer to [his] colleagues in
the Mission” to provide further answers. Video here,
UN's Le Roy meets Ouattara, answers on protection of
offices not shown
for Ban Ki-moon but for the UN Secretariat,
which includes UN peacekeeping missions, increasingly engages in this
passing of the buck. In just the past ten days, he has told Inner
City Press to go ask the UN Mission in Kosovo about a UN judge who
let an organ
theft defendant go free.
He has allowed the
UN - African
Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur to go 11 days without answering a
question about rape by Sudan government officials right next to UN
Nesirky has told to go ask MINUSTAH in Haiti
how much the UN pays an official. We'll have more on that one, and
the others. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.