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
NATIONS, January 31 --
Just after North Korea loudly announced a break of military and sea
agreements with its neighbor to the south, Japanese media quoted
diplomatic sources" that the United States and Japan have suddenly
reversed course and now oppose full-scale resumption of UN Development
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
remains right about UNDP's lack of controls in North Korea, and
similar problems exist in, among other countries, Myanmar and Zimbabwe,
did not appear to be of concern to the US or Japan a mere two weeks
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
City Press: There is a report that North Korea ... has announced that
scrapping its agreements on the sea border and military with South
Korea. I wonder if the Secretariat has any
to that? Previously, there was a United
Nations envoy to North Korea. Is there
any thought of having a new one?
Spokesperson: I have nothing on that
First, some find it surprising that Ban Ki-moon
would have no comment on
this major development, while issuing multiple other statements.
is talk that a new envoy, replacing Maurice Strong, may soon be
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.
Despite a recommendation
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
recommendation. UNDP loudly created its own ethics office, and argued
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
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
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