Won't Say Who's In Charge of Peacekeeping in Crisis in Sudan and Congo,
Haiti Passes Buck
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 9 -- UN Peacekeeping is in crisis, with Chad
seeking to throw UN Missions out, with its Darfur blue
helmets having handed their weapons to rebels without a fight, and
with its role in electoral fraud being raised in Afghanistan, Iraq
and now Sudan.
chief of UN
Peacekeeping Alain Leroy addressed a closed meeting of the Security
Council on two of these topics on April 8, after which it was
announced he would take questions from the Press.
But this Q&A
session was unceremoniously canceled, and Inner City Press was
informed that Leroy would immediately be going on ten days leave from
the UN, in the midst of these crises.
April 9, Inner
City Press asked UN Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq to confirm and
explain Leroy's leave, and requested the name of who would be in
charge of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations during the
Sudan elections starting April 11, and the Security Council trip to
the Congo to try to extend the Mission.
bristled, "We wouldn't have any comment on the leave of any of
our staff." Video here, from Minute 12.
that is not
true. In fact the UN Economic Commission for Africa, to which Haq
referred Inner City Press on a question of
a UN staff member's
illegal involvement as a pro-government Darfur rebel leader while
paid by UN ECA, had issued an on the record response to Inner City
Press and Haq that the staff member at issue, Al-Tijani Al-Sissi
Ateem, went on leave on March 8, 2010.
So the UN will disclose
"leave" when it suits it, but not when its time is
followed up, saying the request was not for where Leroy is going, but
who will be in charge. Leroy's titular deputy Edmond Mulet has been
named UN representative to Haiti, so the deputy slot is empty. Who,
Inner City Press asked, will be the DPKO Officer in Charge in this
crucial period? Is is some sort of secret?
UN Peacekeeping: who's in charge?
"there is, and I think there will be an announcement, an
additional Assistant Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations."
He said he would check "when we can announce that formally."
April 8, after
Leroy canceled his scheduled Q&A session, Inner City Press
observed him on the corner of 45th Street and Second Avenue speaking
at length with Tony Banbury, who was deputy of Field Support before
being send to post-earthquake Haiti. (In that job, Banbury famously
said that three rapes in the IDP camps left him "elated," a
comment Inner City Press reported and Banbury sought to clarify.)
wait to see
if Banbury is being formally returned to UN Headquarters from Haiti.
This appears to be the case, as he is scheduled to address member
states about military helicopters on April 14. Watch this site.
Also unceremoniously pulled from Haiti was Kim Bolduc, a mere four
months after she arrived and weeks after the UN praised her from the
highest levels. She left on March 30, Inner City Press discovered and exclusively
Haq confirmed this, but said as to why, the question should be put to
the UN Development Program. Video here from Minute 11:20. UNDP has
now been asked by Inner City Press:
Nov 2009, the SG announced that Kim Bolduc was the new DSRSG for
Haiti, a position she vacated just four months later. The UN
Spokesperson's office has referred my questions to you. First, in
her capacity as DSRSG, was Ms. Bolduc under an employment contract
maintained by UNDP or by the Secretariat's OHRM? Secondly, what was
the duration of her original assignment as DSRSG? Thirdly, Farhan
Haq says that she is now employed with UNDP. What is her new
is a lot of
buck passing to escape from answering. But we will follow up.
* * *
Sudan Elections, Susan Rice Explains Gration, UN Silent, Paid "Rebel"
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 8 -- As questions
mount about both the Sudanese
elections and the Obama administration's seeming two positions on
them, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice on Thursday took two such
questions from the Press. While the UN has in public been very quiet
about doubts about the election, Ambassador Rice said that in closed
door consultation, the head of UN Peacekeeping Alain Leroy described
government restrictions on political freedom, freedom of speech,
freedom of association, the opportunity for all political actors to
campaign without impediment, harassment of the media, limitations on
access to polling stations for many of the people of Sudan, in
particular in Darfur."
Press has reported on for weeks,
these are not things that the UN says
in public. Tellingly, despite a promise that Alain Leroy would take
questions from the Press after the consultations, his appearance was
President Yukio Takasu emerged to paint a more
positive picture of the "historic" developments in Sudan,
and to say that any questions should be directed to Alain Leroy, who
did not come and is leaving for ten days leave, sources say.
asked Ambassador Rice to explain the rosier outlook of the US envoy
City Press: Scott Gration has said that he thought the elections
would be as free and fair as possible, can you explain, I guess, what
that means, whether that is being kind of retracted in light of what
you said? Do you think that the UN, both UNAMID and UNMIS should be
more, they said very little about as these events are taking place at
least publicly, what is their role for trying to secure a free and
fair election without incident?
Rice: With respect to the characterization of the elections, I think
as we heard from Undersecretary-General Le Roy this morning, and as
we have said repeatedly at this mike and various other places, the
trends are not encouraging. There have been some significant
impediments on the ground, restrictions on civil liberties,
harassment of the media, reduction in the number of polling places,
insecurity, an inability, of many of the people, particularly in
Darfur, to be able to register and participate. So, we have overtime
expressed our concerns, those concerns are mounting as the election
approaches, and we are certainly underscoring the importance of steps
being taken immediately to try to mitigate, to the greatest extent
possible, in the time that remains, these very serious infringements
on free political activity.
sounded like an attempt to say that things have gotten worse since
Gration predicted that elections will be "as free and fair as
Susan Rice on April 8, Scott Gration (and Samantha
Power) not shown
With Sudan's Ambassador saying the elections will
proceed on April 11 -- he also said, "the war in Darfur is over"
-- Inner City Press asked if the U.S. favors any delay, as requested
by many Sudanese opposition groups.
City Press: Should there be a delay?
Rice: I think our view has been that if a very brief delay were
decided to be necessary, and we thought that a brief delay would
enable the process to be more credible, we would be prepared to
entertain that. That's obviously up to the authorities themselves,
but the larger picture is that much is awry in this process, and that
is a real concern.
are at least
two approaches to Sudan within the Obama administration. To the side
of the stakeout, Samantha "Problem from Hell" Power stood.
Could there be three U.S. positions?
Inner City Press also asked Sudan's Ambassador, and the UN, about the
propriety of pro-government
Darfur "rebel" leader Al-Tijani
Al-Sissi having been paid by the UN until March 8, 2010, as
exclusively exposed by Inner City Press.
Sudan's Ambassador said that
Al-Sissi is a "long time" rebel leader -- that is, before
March 8, while paid by the UN. The UN Spokesperson's office has
tried to refer all questions to Addis Ababa, where Al-Sissi worked.
But it is a question that goes to the top of the UN. Inner City Press
has submitted five questions and a deadline. Watch this site.
-- Regarding DPKO's Leroy's cancelation, it was explained that he
didn't want to speak if the Council president was speaking. But to his
credit Leroy has done so in the past. And in this case, President
Takasu said, "Ask Leroy." An attempt was made to get Leroy to come back
to the stakeout -- they said he "had a lunch" -- but this did not
happen. Leroy is usually open with the Press, making the failure of the
UN to speak on Sudan elections, and on the Al-Sissi scandal, all the