UN on Haiti, EU Ashton Dodges, Cannon Fires at Fowler, French Jet
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 1 -- Amid the self-congratulatory Haiti fest
at the UN
on Wednesday, there was bragging by the European Union, Canada and
others, corporate plugs for Coca-Cola, and many Haitian excluded from
Commissioner Catherine Ashton closed with the dramatic phrase about
the scale of death "in 35 seconds." But earlier on
Wednesday, when Inner City Press asked her about what's described as
her powerplay to get EU development aid under an External Affairs
Unit she is setting up, she dodged as in a quake. There's no
controversy, she said. But that's not what development and poverty
asked Ashton about two EU members, Germany and France. The former's
been called stingy by German Agro Aid. French development minister
Alain Joyandet spent over 116,000 Euros taking a private jet to a
meeting about poverty in Haiti. Ashton smiled as that question was
asked, but did not answer it. The German question she left to her
Eastern European co-panelist.
stakeout in front of the Trusteeship Council Chamber, high profile
participants praised the meeting and themselves. Canadian foreign
Minister Cannon lauded his country's response. Inner City Press asked
about the criticism by former Canadian (and UN) diplomat Robert
Fowler, that the conservative Canadian government has turned more and
more inwards, and taken sides in the Middle East.
would not respond to Fowler, only that he is -- and by implication
Fowler should be -- grateful to the countries which helped get Fowler
released from Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, after he was scooped
up in Niger working for the UN and perhaps Canadian mining interests.
EU's Ms. Ashton previously on Haiti, power play not shown
press spokesman of Japan's foreign minister Okada described his boss'
trip to Washington, Ottawa and New York in seemingly great detail.
But he omitted the discussions of the relocation of American forces
on Okinawa. When asked by Inner City Press, he dutifully described
the issue for the few representatives of Japanese media in the
briefing room, as if they'd never heard of it. And then the briefing
with an unwieldy seven person press conference in the UN's basement.
Only three questions were allowed, each apparently pre-selected.
Ban's spokesman called on Spanish wire service EFE, which he had left
off Ban's first trip to Haiti, whose president's spokesman called on
a Haitian journalist from "Scoop." The U.S. State
Department called on Reuters, which asked Hillary Clinton about Iran
and the UN Security Council.
President Rene Preval rolled his eyes and Ban urged that only Haiti
questions be asked, Hillary Clinton, France's Bernard Kouchner and
Brazil's foreign minister each answered the question. Brazil said as
a non permanent member of the Council, it was not in the loop.
said that the U.S. viewed seeking Council sanctions as diplomacy,
even negotiations. Kouchner said that "we did try to talk to the
Iranians, we did." Why not allow a question or answer about his
development minister's 116,000 Euro private jet trip about Haiti,
then? And so it goes in the UN.
Some, including Haitians who had traveled to New York in good faith for
the conference, could not get in. A misleading UN web site allowed
people to register and even receive confirmation. They appeared prior
to the conference but were told another step had been needed, and that
the event was "for donors."
This contrasted to Bill Clinton's statement, following his high
security hobnobbing with Coca-Cola which has tried to brand the
earthquake, that the conference "heard from Haitian civilian
society, and not just from me."
Inner City Press also questioned the IMF's Dominique
the stakeout, on the IMF's failure to yet forgive Haiti's debt, in
contrast to the IADB. After reporting
yesterday, Thursday morning Inner City Press asked for more detail
the IMF's bi-weekly briefing, on this it will report before the IMF's
10:30 a.m. embargo time. Watch this site.
* * *
Haiti, IMF's Strauss-Kahn Dodges on Debt Forgiveness, Past
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, March 31 -- Amid the congratulatory talk about help to Haiti
at the UN on March 31, it emerged that the International Monetary
yet to forgive Haiti's now over $270 million in debt to the
IMF, while by contrast the Inter American Development Bank has
forgiven all of its $479 million in loans to Haiti.
asked the IMF's Dominique Strauss-Kahn why the IMF's loans had yet to
be forgiven, and to address the IMF's previous conditionalities on
Haiti which results, experts say, in the destruction of the country's
scoffed at the latter question, saying that this -- a press stakeout
in front of the pledging conference in the UN's Trusteeship Council
Chamber -- was not the place to discussion conditionality. On the
still unforgiven loans, he argued that they are not due until 2012,
and bragged that Rene Preval is happy with the IMF's, and presumably
stakeout, Strauss-Kahn made a point of hanging around with President
Preval in the hallway in front of the Trusteeship Council.
UN's Ban, Zoellick and Strauss-Kahn, IMF debt
forgiveness not yet shown
representative of the IADB came out, and confirmed that full
forgiveness of $479 million in loans. Inner City Press asked, what
explained the IABD's fast forgiveness, and the IMF's continued delay?
representative diplomatically mentioned the meeting of finance
ministers in Cancun. But there are been a number of IMF Executive
Board meetings and/or actions since Haiti's earthquake.
whether Strauss-Kahn's perhaps related fixation on Greece -- where
he's said the IMF would "intervene" if asked -- and his
personal political trajectory, not only vis a vis Nicolas Sarkozy but
also Martine Aubry, have made him and the IMF slow on Haiti. One
wouldn't know it from Wednesday's bluster, but facts... are facts.
Watch this site.