Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In UN Council, Pascoe on Yemen, W.Sahara & Hariri Tribunal, Non-Members Excluded

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 -- “The horizon is broad,” UN Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe told Inner City Press as he left the Security Council on Thursday morning. Inside behind closed doors, his briefing to the Security Council's 15 members was supposed to have not been limited to countries on the Council's agenda.

  One such country sent a diplomat, who was surprised to be barred from the meeting. “I thought it would be public,” he told Inner City Press. Another member of the Council dismissively called it an “exercise,” but noted that the Council “ is not a gymnasium.”

  The UK, whose innovation this was, declined through its Permanent Representative to list which countries had been discussed. Others present told Inner City Press that Yemen was mentioned, in the context of the Group of Friends which during the UN General Debate held a meeting, albeit across the street from the UN.

  Whether the recent posting of bombs made it more likely Yemen will be post on the Council's agenda is not known. Yemen still leads the Group of 77 and China, so any loss of control or sovereignty is unlikely.

Another delegation told Inner City Press that Western Sahara was discussed in a less formal way that usual. Did France speak? No, the delegate recounted, [Ambassador] Araud just smiled.

Pascoe & Russia's Churkin, closed door exercises not shown

Pascoe emerged with Assistant Secretaries General Zerihoun and Tarasco, who rushed in late. So, Africa and the Middle East. Where were D-2s like Tamrat Samuel on Asia and Horst Heittmann on the Middle East? The scuttlebutt on the latter is that his transfer from Security Council Affairs was meant to keep the Middle East seat under “non-Arab” control, while another DPA staffer aims for the post Heittmann vacated.

Pascoe, according to a source, urged the Council to go forward with a session on November 5 about Lebanon, specifically the Hariri Tribunal. On November 1, Inner City Press was told that the Tribunal would be discussed on Friday as Any Other Business.

  But on Thursday Ambassador after Ambassador told the Press to “ask Sir Lyall Grant” of the UK. Lebanon's Ambassador said he did not want to steal Lyall Grant's thunder, and would only speak about scheduling or the program of work when Lebanon regains the Presidency in September.

The UN Security Council is so full of secrets, one wonder how it functions. Does it? Watch this site.

* * *

Amid Darfur Force Build Up by Sudan, UK is Cautious, UN Cuts Off Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 2 -- The UK leads on Darfur for the UN Security Council, over which it presides this month. Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant what the UK is doing about the arrests which have followed the Council's visit to Darfur last month, and about reports of the Government of Sudan amassing forces for an assault on Darfur before the North - South referendum is scheduled on January 9.

  Lyall Grant said that it is “unclear who was arrested” and whether they met in preparation “for the Security Council meeting or actually met” with the Council members. He said it will be pursued, before the at the Council's November 16 session about Sudan. He did not address reports of a build up.

  Sources tell Inner City Press that tanks and troops have been seen in the North Darfur areas of Kutum, Kernoi, and Altina, while janjaweed gatherings have been seen in the West Darfur in areas of Geneina and Kulbus.

  When pro Government of Sudan volunteers reportedly landed in Kutum airport, one was asked by a Darfuri policeman, who are you and where are you going? The person reportedly answered, we are mujahideen and the government told us we have to fight the infidels and their supporters in Darfur. We came to clean Darfur.

   Some Arab tribes revolted and refused to participate in the operation. Sources say most of those revolted were in the army and belong to Bani Halba Arab tribe. The operation would start with aerial bombings with planes taking off from Dongola in the North Sudan (neighboring state to Darfur in th nile north) rather than from Darfur airports (due to the last noise regarding U.N.S.C. visit and arms embargo reports). The operation is timed to finish before referendum of Jan 2011. That's what sources say.

  Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky if the UN could confirm that its humanitarian coordinator in Sudan Georg Charpentier has ordered the cessation of all “non essential” monitoring missions and thus reporting, and if it could confirm the build up. Nesirky said that he will check and get back. He curtailed the Q&A session for Lyall Grant's briefing, and declined to continue it afterward.

UK's Lyall Grant & US Susan Rice stroll in Sudan, arrestees & Darfur build-up not shown

   During Lyall Grant's program of work briefing, Inner City Press also asked about the November 4 “horizon scanning” briefing by the UN's Department of Political Affairs, whether it was meant to be called “preventive diplomacy” but some countries opposed that. Lyall Grant did not directly answer, but said it should be free wheeling, as he said that evening's dinner and UK ship ride with Ban Ki-moon will be. We'll see.

Footnote: in setting the program of work, the UK service muffins and coffee, and gave each Council member a copy of a caricature of all 15 Ambassadors by artist Steve Nyman. Inner City Press asked UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham, said to have originated the idea of giving a caricature instead of, say, a clock, about the artist. It's said he has a web site. For the UK's knowledge, the names of two people arrested after the Darfur visit are Abdullah Ishaq Abdel Razek, the supervisor of the nutrition program of the camp’s schools, and Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed Al-Haj. Their connections to the Security Council visit are also on the web. Watch this site.

* * *

As Darfur Arrestees Named, UN Has No Comment, Gambari On Vacation in NY

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 27 -- Following the UN Security Council's visit to Darfur on October 8, the UN has been asked to verify the arrests by Sudan of at least two people who were present in the Abu Shouk camp for internally displaced people.

 On October 27, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm a report that the arrestees are Abdullah Ishaq Abdel Razek, the supervisor of the nutrition program of the IDP camp’s schools, and Mohammed Abdullah Mohammed Al-Haj, who gave a speech to Council members on October 8. Video here.

  Nesirky replied that if top UN peacekeeper Alain Le Roy had been asked to look into the situation, he would. But previously, Le Roy was asked to obtain and provide a “full understanding of the facts” underlying the deadly violence this year in the Kalma IDP camp, without doing so.

  In the opacity that the UN allowed after the Kalma violence, Sudan had demanded that the UN turn over five sheikhs of the Kalma camp. As exposed by Inner City Press with leaked documents, the head of the UN - African Union mission UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari was close to an agreement with Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti to turn the five sheikhs over, in exchange for a promise not to execute by Omar al-Bashir, indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

  On October 27, Inner City Press approached and asked ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo outside the UN Security Council for his view of UN turn overs to Omar al Bashir. I have nothing to do with that, Ocampo said. He said that Inner City Press' previous questions to the Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak were well placed. But what about the ICC?

  While Inner City Press has repeatedly asked Nesirky for Gambari's or the UN's view of Nowak's statement that to turn the sheikhs over to Bashir would violate customary international law, no response has been provided. On October 27, Nesirky belatedly told Inner City Press that Gambari is “on leave.”

UN's Ban & AU's Ping, Ibrahim "On Leave" Gambari and Kalma 5 not shown

Since according to Nigerian Mission sources Gambari had been in New York since Friday, October 22 -- but didn't appear at the UN Security Council for its October 25 session on UNAMID -- questions are mounting about the appropriateness of taking a vacation in the midst of Darfur's problems, and not even pausing the vacation to attend a nearby Security Council meeting about UNAMID. Watch this site.

Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

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

            Copyright 2006-2010 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -