Dodges Sudan Currency War, Lagarde Preaches to Friends at CFR
July 26 -- With a currency war and border state clashes
getting worse between South Sudan and the north, International
Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde appears in New York
today and pitches the IMF as “credible, comprehensive &
client-focused” and even seeing “connections both between and
are the four
C's she served at the Council on Foreign Relations on Park Avenue.
But is she credible?
IMF's biweekly media briefing, Inner City Press asked
if I may to a question from the Media Briefing Center [from
Inner City Press,] “with South Sudan now a U.N. member, what’s
the IMF’s program there and what’s the comment on currency war
talk from Sudan?”
you know, South Sudan has applied for membership at the Fund. That
was an announcement made on April 20. Concerning our involvement on
currency issues, earlier this year the Fund provided technical advice
on currency issues, including options for an exchange rate regime and
on a road map for the orderly introduction of a new currency.
of course, moved on since the time of that technical
assistance, advice, and we have not been involved in the launching of
the new currency announced this week. But going forward we, of
course, stand ready to assist the government of South Sudan in
strengthening its capacity to deal with currency issues and manage
its monetary policy. In the context, of technical assistance at this
stage, I should underline, since it’s not a member. For those of
you not familiar with the system here, it’s possible to provide
technical assistance to a country which is not a member of the Fund.
I don’t have a specific comment on currency wars.
of the new currency, in which the IMF was conveniently but
inexplicably “not involved,” which has stoked the currency war.
answer did not mention, either, any IMF communications with
the government in Khartoum, which now says it will not redeemed the
old Sudanese pounds circulating in the South.
this is not an
issue for the IMF, who is it for? And what is the IMF for?
Lagarde & Ban Ki-Moon, previously, action
on Sudan currency wars not shown
Lagarde's blithe speech rings so hollow. She calls the IMF an
“intellectual leader” whose “arguabl[e] most important client
is the international monetary system.”
dodge a new
currency war following Africa's “arguabl[e]” bloodiest two-party
war in the last decades? (There is, of course, the Congo.)
proceeds as if Africa does not exist, nor really Latin America, from
which her one challenger to replace Dominique Strauss Kahn, came. She
doled out jobs after winning the top post, French for French as it is
with UN Peacekeeping.
Then 22 days
in she appears in New York, in a
tightly controlled setting, concluding with a look “to you, our
friends at the Council of Foreign Relations, to share your wise
counsel on the critical challenges facing the IMF.” See above -- or
are only “friends” invited? There is no open IMF briefing until
August 18. Watch this site.
* * *
Sudan But Silent on Currency War, Only Monitoring Libya
21 -- With a currency war now threatened between newly
independent South Sudan and the north, and the Contact Group on Libya
recognizing the Benghazi-based rebels as the government, Inner City
Press on Thursday asked the International Monetary Fund about its
role in both countries.
David Hawley replied, “As you know, South Sudan has applied for
membership with the Fund, announced April the 20. Concerning out
involvement on currency issues. earlier this year the Fund provided
technical advice on currency issue including options on an exchange
rate regime and a road map for an orderly introduction of a new
of course, has been less than orderly, with north Sudan threatening
to not redeem Sudanese pounds circulating in the South. So what
have moved on since the time of that technical assistance,
advice... We have not been involved in the launchng of the new
currency announced this week. Going forward we stand ready to assist
the government of South Sudan to manage its monetary policy.”
perhaps understandably, “I don't have a specific comment on the
had submitted its questions to the IMF in Washington by computer in
New York -- specifically, from a laptop at a table in front of the UN
Security Council where both Sudan and Libya are considered. To the
reporters in the room in DC, Hawley explained that South Sudan is not
a member, but in the context of technical assistance, the IMF can
give it to non members of the Fund.
then reiterated a question about Libya it had earlier e-mailed to the
IMF, with this new information: since the IMF can assist non-members,
now that the Contact Group on Libya has recognized the National
Transitional Council as the government of Libya, can the IMF provide
the NTC with technical assistance?
this stage the role of the Fund is to closely monitor
developments and we stand ready to engage further as soon as
conditions allow. But there isn't anything fresh on contacts.” And
so it goes at the IMF - which won't have another briefing until April
18 - and in Benghazi and Juba. Watch this site.
* * *
Says It Can't Move, No Comment on Sudan
-- Amid reports of worsening violence in Southern
Kordofan, not only at the UN peacekeepers there preparing to leave:
even while still there, they “cannot move” even if they see war
crimes committed in front of them, the UN told Inner City Press on
Peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told Inner City Press
that while they cannot patrol or use force, if the peacekeepers saw
something happen in front of them, they would respond “as
General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky on Monday disagreed
when Inner City Press asked for confirmation of Le Roy's statement.
“They cannot move,” Nesirky said, “whether you like it or not
or whether we like it or not, the United Nations does not have a
mandate to operate there.”
present in a war zone are told by the Secretary General's spokesman
that they “cannot move,” what does it mean to repeatedly say
“never again”? We'll see.
“cannot move” in Southern Kordofan, the UN didn't
even have a comment on North Sudan declaring itself ready for a
currency war with South Sudan, refusing to redeem billions in
Sudanese pounds circulating in the South.
Press asked for
comment, from envoy Haile Menkerios or new envoy to South Sudan Hilde
Johnson, but Nesirky said the UN has nothing to say.
what is the UN's
role in and on Sudan? From the UN's July 18 noon briefing
South Kordofan, I understand that a lot of it rides on
the Security Council mandate, but there have been over the weekend
more and more reporting of bombing, and of surrendering Nuba
soldiers. And so,have any of the existing peacekeepers left the
area? Are they there? What are they doing? What does the UN say
about events in the last 48 hours in South Kordofan?
think the answer remains the same as last week. Whether you
like it or not or whether we like it or not, the United
Nations does not have a mandate to operate there. It is something
that, clearly, we had wished to be otherwise. And the
Secretary-General made very clear that there should not be any vacuum
or gap in our ability to monitor what is happening. But that is the
case. That is the case. And as for the presence of the troops, the
peacekeeping troops there, they are in the process of moving out as
they are required to do under this liquidation resolution. But they
have not yet fully withdrawn. That’s where we are.
-- per the UN]
it’s very important here to look at the reality. The
reality is that the Security Council passed a resolution. The
reality is that the Government of Sudan did not allow the mission to
continue. Did we want it to be otherwise? Yes, we did. That’s
why the Secretary-General went to Khartoum. It’s regrettable that
we do not have the ability to do what needs to be done.
it Alain Le Roy, when at the stakeout, he’d said
they have no mandate to use force or to patrol, but if they witness
things, they will respond as humanitarians. So, have they witnessed
anything? Have they responded? He seemed to say that they wouldn’t
just sit entirely idly by, that there was some sort of baseline--
are not in a position to do that, they are not in a
position to move. They are not in a position to move, and that’s
the reality. That’s the reality at the moment, okay.
just less, less physical violence, but there is this
idea of a currency war that South Sudan is creating its new currency
and so North Sudan has said it is going to create a new currency and
won’t redeem any of the Sudanese pounds that are in circulation in
South Sudan. I am just… one, I am wondering if the UN has any
comment, and two is, is this the kind of issue that Menkerios would
work on or who is there? It seems to be…
don’t think we have any comment on that at the moment. If
that changes, I’ll let you know.
later sent the question to the spokespeople of the International
Monetary Fund, which is ostensibly a part of the UN system:
seen the IMF Survey stating on South Sudan that 'the parties have not
yet agreed on what will happen with the Sudanese pounds that are
currently circulating in the South.' But the deputy governor of the
Central Bank of Sudan, Badr al-Deen Mahmood, has said the north is
ready for a 'currency war.' Central Bank governor Mohamed Kheir
al-Zubeir say said: 'We do not want to buy [the old currency]. We
want them to surrender it to us because it is valueless.'
for the IMF's view of this 'currency war.'
briefing later this week. Watch this site.