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As IMF Position on Maldives Linked to Gitmo Prisoners, Silence on Climate Strongarm

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 16 -- Leaked cables link Maldives push for International Monetary Fund assistance with the country accepting prisoners released from Guantanamo Bay. The IMF has had nothing to say about this, and Thursday's end of year press briefing by IMF spokesperson Carolyn Atkinson was so abbreviated that the even the question could not be asked.

  The US also linked $50 million in aid to Maldives supporting the Copenhagen deal on climate change. Inner City Press asked UN official Robert Orr, who was extolling the more recent Cancun conference, about this, but he refused to comment on leaked cables, and called this just the “push and pull” of member states.

  But both revelations bring into question how members of the IMF's Executive Board use their voting and other powers with the IMF to accomplish other, unrelated political and economic goals. This will be a topic in 2011. Watch this site.

Gitmo prisoners, IMF votes and aid link not shown

  Inner City Press submitted, during Ms. Atkinson's briefing, the following question which has yet to be answered:

On Cote d'Ivoire, please describe the IMF's engagement in the past days and weeks: if with the Ouattara government, with whom and how? Any contacts with Gbagbo officials?”

When an answer is received, it will be reported on this site.

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IMF Fudges on Ireland & Democracy, on Africa's Reduced Votes, Maldives Deferred

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 2 -- At the IMF's press briefing on December 2, spokesperson Caroline Atkinson took question after question about Ireland while deferring answers on the Maldives and East African Community and ignoring questions submitted about IMF chief Dominique Strauss Kahn's statement that his successor should come from outside the US or EU.

The IMF talks much about governance reform, but even under its much hyped recent changes, Africa as a continent will see its voting share drop from 5.9 per cent to 5.6 per cent. Inner City Press asked Thursday about this, and this was one question Ms. Atkinson took. She referred to “dynamic and emerging” economies -- apparently not in Africa -- but said that lower income countries would also have their voices amplified.

Inner City press had submitted this simple question: “In light of Mr Strauss Kahn's statement that next IMF chief should come from outside the US and EU, is he going to formally propose that to the Board or any other step?” The question was not taken or acknowledged. We'll see.

On Ireland, despite massive protests and statements by the opposition that they are not bound by the deal with the IMF, Ms. Atkinson said that the IMF had “discussions with the major, uh, the opposition parties” and was “satisfied” enough to present the deal to the IMF Executive Board.

But what does this mean? Are successive governments bound by IMF deals? Inner City Press had first submitted this question: “on Ireland, what is the IMF's position on approvals needed inside the country?” But the question was neither taken nor even acknowledged.

Protest in Ireland of IMF deal, democracy & answers not shown
  Also on democracy, Ms. Atkinson was asked about Ukraine's President vetoing an IMF suggested tax increase due to protest. Ms. Atkinson said she hadn't heard of it, but would provide information later if she did. Inner City Press had asked it. So again, we'll see.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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