At UN, As Sudan Heads G-77, Ban
Offers Praise Despite War Crimes
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, January 23 -- The
surreal nature of the UN was on display on Friday, culminating in a
Sudan, replete with melting ice sculptures of fish and the Sudanese
the occasion of the take-over of the Group of 77 and China by a nation
president the International Criminal Court prosecutor wants locked up
crimes against humanity.
All day, the UN dodged the irony. At 11 a.m., Ban
Ki-moon through his Deputy Asha Rose Migiro congratulated Sudan. At
City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas if, on the day
she had read
out the condemnation of Sudan for war crimes, Ban had any comments for
for the "incongruity" of the two announcements --
City Press: in your opening, you read two items that seemed to be sort
related, but you didn’t relate them.
One, Mr. Ban Ki-moon had congratulated Sudan on
becoming the head of the
G-77 and you also read out this report by UNAMID, among others, that
violated international law in the Kalma camp.
Has Ban Ki-moon said anything to Sudan on that? Do you see these as in any way related? Do you have any comment on these two
seemingly incongruous facts?
Montas: They are not incongruous
facts. Both are true and both are
directed towards different aspects of the issue.
City Press: So his congratulation
remains the same, even given today’s findings?
Montas: Yes. [Video
UN's Ban with Sudan's al Bashir, indictment
and heading of G-77 not shown
Now to be fair, in the UN system
nominations like Sudan's are made by regional groups, and others just
along. But some wonder if the head of an organization ostensibly
human rights should congratulate, without further elaboration, Sudan,
and then decline any further comment.
Inner City Press asked a senior UN official, the
head of Peacekeeping,
if he thought Sudan's new position atop the G-77 might give it more
negotiations with the UN. While he demurred, he did not disagree with
City Press' analysis that not only does the G-77 chair legitimate
also gives it power over the UN budget process. Ban Ki-mute
might -- might! --
call or want to call President Al-Bashir to demand cooperation with
UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur. And now Sudan could say, do you want
human resources, ERP or other proposals to pass the General Assembly's
commitment, where the G-77 has much power?
Sudan's party Friday
night in the Delegates' Dining Room was the most expensive spread that
contractor Aramark provides. It included lobster, shrimp on ice,
chocolate-covered strawberries, and the above-noted ice sculptures.
interim U.S. Permanent Representative Alejandro Wolff. It's said his
boss, Susan Rice, will present her credentials to Ban Ki-moon on
January 26 at 10:30 a.m., and has already requested a meeting with her
counterpart. We'll see.
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