Gabon's Ali Bongo Faces Libya Questions & Obiang of
February 25 -- When the world's
#16 dictator, Equatorial
Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo was slated Friday to meet
up-and-coming son Ali of the #11 dictator, Omar Bongo and the UN's
Ban Ki-moon, the treaty signing photo op was set for 12:45.
City Press got there, the UN announced in French, Spanish and English
that there had been a delay. The largely African media contingent
wanted to ask Ali Bongo about his Libyan
friend Gadhafi and his
mercenaries; Inner City Press wanted to ask Bongo about the UN
playing host to Gabonese opposition figure Mba Obame. (The UN has
dodged questions on this for weeks.)
had his representatives waiting. Inner City Press spoke with Obiang's
lobbying, for today with an Equatorial Guinea Diplomat pass from the
UN, Gregory Lagana. After introductions, he told Inner City Press he
used to be with the US State Department. This checked out -- assigned
for the UN to San Salvador, Quito and Rome. He was also the spokesman
for DynCorp, the private military contractor a/ka/ mercenary firm.
UN's Ban and Obiang, US lobbyist with UN "D" pass not shown
oil, and head of the African Union, Obiang is trying to rehabilitate
his image. He tried to get a prize from UNESCO but this was shot down
after opposition. Now he comes to the UN to sign a treaty with his
neighbor Gabon, where the opposition figure has had to seek physical
protection from the UN.
briefing, Inner City Press again asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky
if Ban would raise to Ali Bongo the crackdown on opposition protests,
and the UN's hosting of Mba Obame. I don't want to pre-judge what
will happen, Nesirky said, promising a read out later in the day. But
with the treaty signing photo op put off, nothing was assured. Watch
* * *
on Libya, ICC and Conservatives Lurk in UK Draft, US Called AWOL,
No-Fly Won't Fly?
Russell Lee, Exclusive
February 25, updated -- While at the UN Security Council the UK draft
resolution on Libya, on which Inner City Press reported exclusively
mid-Thursday had not yet been circulated late on Friday
morning, Council member sources described the issues to Inner City
usual package,” one said, “arms embargo and travel
source did not
predict the inclusion of a no-fly zone, which NATO is discussing, but
did predict a fight over inclusion of language about the
International Criminal Court.
Earlier in the
week, the ICC, Prosecutor put out a press release that he can only get
the Council makes a referral, as it did on Darfur. Ironically, there
are moves afoot to suspend ICC prosecution of Sudan's Omar al Bashir,
just as referral of Gadhafi and his sons is considered.
sources marveled at how quiet the United States has been. “Is it
just because Susan Rice is away?” one asked, referring to the US
Permanent Representative's trip to South Africa for a UN
UN's Ban & Gadhafi, Goodwill Ambassador daughter
firing not shown- or heard
put the UK
draft resolution in the context of UK politics. “This is the
Conservatives sticking it to Labor,” one said. “Labor cut the
deal with Libya, and now the Conservatives want to make them look
sons has called for Tony Blair to him “crush” the Colonel's
enemies, and UK firms did recently sell weapons to Gadhafi. We've yet
to hear the UK Mission to the UN address this.
brief the Council Friday at 3 pm, then talk to the media at 4:20. It
is expected that some Council members will ask for a delay in any
vote on the resolution, and that others will demand weekend meetings
to show their seriousness, as one source put it. Watch this site.
Update of 11:17 am -
the UK and France have circulated elements of the draft resolution to
other EU members, Inner City Press is told -- again with the question
why the US is so AWOL.
Update of 2:26 pm -
At Libya's Mission to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi held another presser,
telling Arabic media that an International Criminal Court reference
WILL be in the draft resolution. Inner City Press has replied to the US
Mission's Twitter response, asking for US positions: watch this site
* * *
Libya, UK Quietly Drafts a Resolution, Ban to Brief, Gadhafi Kin
24 -- With criticism mounting about inaction on
Libya by the UN and the Security Council the UK is preparing a
resolution, Inner City Press is told, while Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon is being asked to brief the Council on Friday.
news, as Western countries' diplomats were saying very little. The US
is represented by Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo,
with Perm Rep Susan Rice away in South Africa for a UN sustainability
panel. DiCarlo said only, “We are all very concerned.” UK Perm
Rep Mark Lyall Grant ignored shouted questions on his way into the
said that the UK is drafting a resolution, and that in
Thursday's “Any Other Business” consultations, it was decided to
ask Ban Ki-moon himself to briefing, since Department of Political
Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe will be out of town in Egypt.
press briefing, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky was asked if Ban is in
favor of Libya being thrown off the Human Rights Council. He replied,
that's up to the states on the Human Rights Council -- HRC, or as
someone snarked, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is headed there on
had asked Nesirky since February 20 about Aicha Gadhafi, daughter of
the Colonel, being a UN system Goodwill Ambassador. After refusing to
answer by email, at the February 22 noon briefing when Inner City
Press asked in person, Nesirky said he “understood” she is a UNDP
Goodwill Ambassador, on AIDS. On February 23 he announced, in
response to questions from the previous day, that she was fired by
Aicha Gadhafi said she had heard nothing from the UN system
about no longer being a Goodwill Ambassador. Inner City Press asked
Nesirky how Aicha was informed. Ask UNDP he said, adding that he had
been clear. We'll see.
being the quiet drafter is ironic: Beyond the current
controversy about delay in getting UK nationals out of Libya, it's
reported that Gadhafi's “Khamis Brigade was supplied with the
British-made Bowman tactical communications and data system in a
$165 million deal with General Dynamics UK.”
Switzerland has gone forward to freeze Gadhafi's assets, it
echoed Switzerland previously blocking Libyan diplomats from travel
to Europe, after a spat about Gadhafi's son's physical violence in
Switzerland and Gadhafi's call for a jihad. One of the officials
blocked, it was reported, was then President of the UN General
Assembly Ali Treki.
is Treki now? Permanant Representative
Shalgam, it's said, is at his -- or Libya's -- house in New Jersey,
brooding and “very emotional.” On the Libyan mission on 48th
Street, the new/old black Libyan flag is flying, reportedly allowed
by Deputy Perm Rep Dabbashi.
* * *
Hopes Gadhafi Kin Not UNDP Ambassador, Belated Firing,
Ban Ki-moon Dodges
Amid the UN's sudden claims to be getting
tough with Libya, Inner City Press since
February 20 has been
reporting that the UN system named Aicha Gadhafi, the Colonel's
daughter, a Goodwill Ambassador.
sought comment in
writing from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin
Nesirky, without answer.
Inner City Press asked at the noon briefing for confirmation:
confirm that Colonel Qadhafi’s daughter,
Ayesha, is a UN system Goodwill Ambassador with a Laissez-Passer that
remains open until 2013? And what does… If so, what does the
Secretary-General think about this goodwill ambassadorship? Will it
be revoked? Is it, what is your position on it?
it, she is a national Goodwill Ambassador
in Libya for UNDP [United Nations Development Programme]. On the
other details you have asked, I will check.
gotten the answer from and about UNDP, it is unclear why
he didn't answer the pending written question. Perhaps he hoped that,
with briefings truncated by meetings, the question couldn't be asked
in person, Inner City Press asked former UNDP Administration Mark
Malloch Brown about Aicha Gadhafi being a Goodwill Ambassador.
“I hope she's
not a UNDP Ambassador,” he said. “I don't think it's UNDP. I was
surprised when I saw that... she was an Ambassador to any part of the
it was UNDP.
And only on February 23, the day after Nesirky's first confirmation,
did the UN announce a belated removal of the Ambassadorship:
was asked yesterday whether one of Colonel [Muammar] Qadhafi’s
daughters is a Goodwill Ambassador. And as I mentioned, Aisha
al-Qadhafi was appointed as National UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for
Libya on 24 July 2009. Her appointment at that time enabled UNDP to
address the issues of HIV/AIDS and violence against women in Libya,
both culturally sensitive topics in the country. Following the
recent events, UNDP has terminated the agreement with Ms. Qadhafi,
based on article 30 of the UN Guidelines for the Designation of
Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace. By the way, I can tell
you that UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors do not get paid, they volunteer
their time, and they do not hold UN laissez-passer travel documents.”
Ki-moon appeared at the UN North Lawn second floor stakeout
and took a handful of questions. When asked if he was calling on
Gadhafi to step down, Ban dodged the question then left.
event, the selling of his new book “The Unfinished Global
Revolution” in the UN bookstore, Inner City Press asked him about
the process for selection the UN Secretary General. He replied that
he had wished Ban's 2006 selection had included “hustings and
this with the “two most successful
Secretaries General, Dag Hammarskjold and Kofi Annan,” while noting
that those who voted for them hadn't read their biographies.
daughter of Libya's dictator, who killed his
opponents as far back as the 1970s, have been made a UN system
Goodwill Ambassador? Watch this site.
Inner City Press' question, said it
should buy a copy of his book, for the “pain extracted from me for
so many years.” While it may refer back to some profanity he used,
compared to current UN system leadership, at least Malloch Brown purports to take
and answer questions.
* * *
is UN Ambassador, UNDP Silent
in Libya the forces, including
mercenaries, of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi shoot and kill peaceful
protesters, the UN has been nearly entirely silent.
the morning of February 20, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:
down of 46 democracy protesters in Libya’s
second largest city, Benghazi, by security forces under the command
of Colonel Gadafi, is the UN reassessing its relationship with Col
Gadhafi’s daughter, Aicha, who the UN has designated a “Goodwill
the UN’s special relationship
with its Goodwill Ambassador Dr Aicha Gadhafi to persuade her father
not to use such excessive force against peaceful demonstrators?
all from the UN. Inner City Press also asked Ban's
spokesman Nesirky “in this context, the Secretary-General's planned
trip to California to meet and greet 'the entertainment industry,'
how much is this trip costing, and is it funded by the Regular Budget
of the UN -- and if not, what is the funding source?” Again, no
Inner City Press had asked Nesirky
thought of using the existing UN programs on
the ground, whether it is UNDP or
otherwise? There was some
criticism of this training of police in Egypt
prior to the — there
was criticism by NGOs that it didn’t bring in human rights
activists but rather Government people. Is there some thinking of
how — the UNDP website about Libya hasn’t been updated now in
several months, I guess — it seems to some, due to the turmoil. What
about these UN…?
Who is it, these people who think it
at it and have seen that it was updated
all the way, until suddenly there was turmoil in the country and then
it is not updated any more.
role, according to the
Secretary-General, of the existing UN programmes in countries like
Libya and Yemen, where Helen Clark visited and didn’t say anything
of, as you know, across the region,
there is a UN presence in different constellations; country teams
with different components, whether it is UNDP or other UN agencies,
funds and programmes. Of course, given that they are already on the
ground, given that they have been working there in different
capacities on different projects, they are well placed to be further
involved. But this is part of a bigger picture, and it is being very
change of policy? I guess I am saying,
given that the announcement today that the UN is sort of taking
cognizance of all this, is there, is that…?
an announcement today. This
is something that has been said consistently for a number of weeks
now. And indeed, further back, as you know, the Human Development
Reports on the Arab world have been saying this for the best part of
a decade. So, okay, thank you very much.
what had the UN
been doing about Libya? Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
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
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.