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On UN Eritrea Report, Press Elements Shot Down, UK Explains "Not Brilliant"

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 24 -- The work of the UN's Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group is taking fire from all sides, but the United States and United Kingdom do not want the Security Council to state this.

  In closed door consultations, a short statement was proposed that "some delegations" expressed concern about methodology, reliability and "validity of information."

  Inner City Press has obtained a copy of the draft press elements that the US and UK rejected, and is putting it online here. As a proponent said, if you want transparency, there should be transparency about Council members' positions on reports.

  Inner City Press heard that UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant admitted in consultations that the SMEG report was "not brilliant," and so went to ask him about it. Lyall Grant told Inner City Press that he had meant that since the Group could not get into Eritrea, it could not be brilliant.

  Since the Somalia report directly alleges that the US and the United Nations have violated the sanctions regime, and implies it of the UK, Inner City Press asked Lyall Grant about that. He said it was good that the Group was critical, and that the UK had "some response," that he didn't know off hand.

  As Inner City Press reported yesterday, "the UK among other things brought in weapons for its private security provider, G4S Security Services." Reuters, of course, in its breathless spin of the report did not mention this.

We have previously noted that since Reuters bureau chief Louis Charbonneau has been conclusively shown to have leaked to a UN official an anti-Press document that was labeled and promised to be internal to the ostensibly independent UN Correspondents Association, him reporting leaks that go the other way must be seen in that context.

See document here, story here, audio of Charbonneau here.

Reuters did report on one country's disagreement with the Somalia report -- Norway's. It did that without any analysis. In fact, as Inner City Press reported at the time, when Norway paid for Kenya's "Law of the Sea" filing to get some of Somalia's sea rights, many in Somalia surmised it was not unrelated to StatOil.

  Now even the SEMG says it; Norway disagrees and Reuters, supposedly a financially savvy wire service, prints it without analysis. Savvy indeed. Watch this site.


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