Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the United Nations to Wall Street to the Inner City

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

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYT Azerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .


Follow us on TWITTER

Home -

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


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

As Tobruk's Arms Request Is Blocked, on Libya Dark Talk of Repsol, ENI

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 9 -- Amid multiple blocks to Libya Tobruk-based government's request to the UN Security Council to import weapons, some are questioning the position(s) of UN envoy Bernardino Leon, who spoke for a naval blockade then backed away from it, below.
  Some are going every further, and linking Leon's Spanish nationality to Repsol's business interests in the zone controlled by Libya Dawn. There's talk of Italy's ENI, too. Inner City Press reported on the UK's role in placing Leon to replace Tarek Mitri as UN envoy. And so it goes.

  In a parallel universe -- in the Security Council -- Federica Mogherini,  High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said Monday that "first of all, we need the Libyan factions to take the first step. Libya's political leaders should now make every effort to find the necessary compromises, to grasp this last chance and agree on a transitional national unity government. This should happen within days, not weeks, as time does not work on our side."

  Tobruk and its General are bombing Tripoli's remaining airport again.

   Mogherini on Monday said that “with the crisis getting deeper, Da'esh franchise is spreading thousands of miles away from the Levant. Human traffickers have already put at risk the lives of too many migrants, with no State control on Libya's coasts or land borders."

  About the coast, amid contentious discussions of imposing a naval blockade on Libya, the UN's envoy to the country Bernardino Leon has been quoted, and then "clarified" by his UNSMIL mission.

  AP reported on March 7 that "in an interview published Saturday with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Bernardino Leon said he not only favors a blockade, but that it is necessary and the only thing that can be done concretely at this time. 'There's a measure that the European Union can take right away: Come out in force to guard the seas off Libya. Italy can't do it alone. It needs help,' Leon was quoted as saying. Leon said he was certain that such a mission would receive the blessing of the UN Security Council."

  This is not usually how a UN envoy is supposed to talk; there is some history to the way Leon was put into the roll (and Tarek Mitri of Lebanon pushed out), here.

   Quickly on March 7 the UNSMIL mission issued a "clarification" that

"In an interview published on Saturday 07 March 2015, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya Bernardino Leon was quoted as saying in response to a question that he favors measures to be applied off Libyan shores.

"Mr. Leon actually said these measures could be part of a larger system that includes building the capacity of Libyan forces and securing the borders of Libya. While he favors these measures as interim action, he said that it will not be enough, and that there are attempts to reinforce the capacities of the Libyans through the political process to counter not only illegal migration, but also terrorism and weapons trafficking through land border control, training, etc.

"Since this is a problem affecting Europe and the international community, Leon thinks EU and International support should be appropriate."

 We publish the "clarification" in full. But is it clear?

  The idea of a naval blockade has been pushed, including by leaking to and using Reuters, at the UN for some time. This is a pattern. This too: the head of the UN Correspondents Association (now, UN Censorship Alliance) has twice used "his" set-aside first question to push for the naval blockade. We'll have more on this.

  Hours later on March 7, UNSMIL said the talks in Morocco will resume on March 11. We'll be covering them.

  Back on March 4 when Libya's long-time representative to the UN Ibrahim Dabbashi spoke in the Security Council after UN envoy Bernardino Leon, he made a point of criticizing “one Permanent member” of the Council for saying that ISIL in Libya is only being fought by Ansar al Sharia, and by implication not by the Tobruk-based government Dabbashi now represents.

   After this open meeting ended, Dabbashi came to the area beside the UNTV stakeout and spoke to the press, specifying that he had been referring to the United Kingdom. (He later added he personally has no problem with UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant.) But he said what he said. Inner City Press video here.

   Inner City Press has asked the UK Mission to the UN for its response and has been pointed to a transcript of  Deputy Permanent Representative Peter Wilson answering this seemingly mis-phrased question:

"the Libyan Ambassador criticized the UK and said that you support Islamic militias and Ansar al sharia - do you want to split Libya?"

DPR Peter Wilson: "No. The clear thing we support the UN lead process to lead to a government of national unity in Libya. Bernadino Leon was very clear. We very strongly support this. This is a Libyan process, for Libyans to come to an agreement themselves about how they wish to govern their country together, and that will enable them to take the fight to ISIL."

  Meanwhile, not all member or even Permanent members believe things must wait for the formation of a unity government. Russia's Vitaly Churkin, also to the side of the UNTV stakeout, said Russia supports the Egyptian and now Jordanian proposal with regard to the arms embargo on the Tobruk government - but add that due to concerns about where the weapons might go, some system of control would be needed but has yet to be established.

  One wanted to ask March's Security Council president Francois Delattre of France about this view and mechanism when he came to the UNTV stakeout.

But he took three questions, handpicked by his Mission -- France 24, Agence France Presse and Voice of America -- declining to answer the Press' question even on Mali (on which he delivered Elements to the Press but took no questions, spokesperson's follow-up added here.)  Watch this site.


Share |

* * *

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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

Click for re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-2015 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]