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


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

As N. Korea Breaks With South, US and Japan React, UN's Ban Has No Comment

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

UNITED NATIONS, January 31 -- Just after North Korea loudly announced a break of military and sea border agreements with its neighbor to the south, Japanese media quoted "UN diplomatic sources" that the United States and Japan have suddenly reversed course and now oppose full-scale resumption of UN Development Program operations in Pyongyang.

   At the UNDP Executive Board meetings earlier this month, neither country opposed UNDP's so-called "road map" to resume the operations, suspended in the face of evidence of irregularities brought forward by whistleblower Tony Shkurtaj. While UNDP insiders tell Inner City Press that Shkurtaj remains right about UNDP's lack of controls in North Korea, and that similar problems exist in, among other countries, Myanmar and Zimbabwe, this did not appear to be of concern to the US or Japan a mere two weeks ago.

   What changed? Only North Korea's relations with South Korea.

UN's Ban and S. Korean's Han, N. Korea breaks not shown

  At the UN's noon briefing on January 30, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe

Inner City Press: There is a report that North Korea ... has announced that it is scrapping its agreements on the sea border and military with South Korea.  I wonder if the Secretariat has any response to that?  Previously, there was a United Nations envoy to North Korea.  Is there any thought of having a new one?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I have nothing on that subject today.

   First, some find it surprising that Ban Ki-moon would have no comment on this major development, while issuing multiple other statements.

  Second, there is talk that a new envoy, replacing Maurice Strong, may soon be appointed through the UN Development Group.

  Third, if as Japanese media report UNDP despite what it procured at its Executive Board meeting will follow the late-arising demands of the US and Japan, the fingerprints are of Ad Melkert, who desparately wants to get the top UNDP post. But would this help is campaign? His opponents already include, sources tell Inner City Press, not only Jan Mattsson and Vijay Nambiar but also ministers from Norway and South Africa (although the latter recently got another UNDP post). We will continue to follow this.

Update: Despite a recommendation by UN Ethics Officer Robert Benson that UNDP compensate Shkurtaj with 14 months' back pay for violating his due process rights, UNDP has refused to comply with the recommendation. UNDP loudly created its own ethics office, and argued that the UN Ethics Office has no jurisdiction over it. It's said that Ban wishes it were otherwise. But will he make this a part of his selection process for the next head of UNDP? We'll see.

  A request Saturday to three spokespeople from the US Mission to the UN yielded a promise for an answer on Monday, which we will report on this site.

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.

* * *

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 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -