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As UN Plans $100 Million Bunker in Iraq, UNrest in Haiti and Cote d'Ivoire

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

UNITED NATIONS, February 3 -- The UN's envoy to Iraq Staffan de Mistura Tuesday painted a rosy picture of local elections in Iraq, and described the UN's planned $100 million campus there as a signal that the international community believes in the future stability of Iraq. Inner City Press asked about reports of voter confusion and corruption in Ninewa province, particularly in Mosul, and about the curfew in effect in Anbar province. 

  De Mistura countered with a rise in Sunni turn out from two to 42 percent, and did not comment on corruption.  Nor would he say how much the new UN headquarters would cost. Rather, he emphasized that it would not be "luxurious," but more than "campers or containers covered with sandbags." Video here, from Minute 12:30.

   While sources have raised questions to Inner City Press about the ability of the UN and its Department of Field Support to manage a $100 million project in such an environment, DFS chief Susana Malcorra on Tuesday afternoon told Inner City Press it is the UN Mission in Iraq, UNAMI, which will run the project, with DFS and the Procurement Division in New York providing oversight. She disagreed that this would be DFS' largest project -- the so-called Super Camps in Darfur come to mind.

UN's de Mistura sees how ballots are cast, $100 M bunker not shown

  Inner City Press asked Ms. Malcorra about reports of staff unrest in the UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, about which a question has been pending with the UN for five days. Malcorra shook her head, yes there is tension there, that she thinks can be resolved. Sources tell Inner City Press that international UN staff face a reduction in benefits.

  Also on Tuesday, UN deputy spokesperson Marie Okabe announced that still the UN Mission in the Congo is understaffed. Inner City Press asked if India has been asked for peacekeepers, given that Congo has said it does not any more troops from India.

   Inner City Press also asked if the UN has any comment on renewed fighting by rebels in the Ivory Coast, alongside the planned removal of 300 French solider there. On both counts, Ms. Okabe answered, "Let's ask DPKO." Yes, let's.  For five days, the Haiti and unrest questions have been pending, along with one about the UN's purported grown in Afghanistan. We will wait for answers.

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

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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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