Somalia, UN Ban's Ould Abdallah "Takes All the Money,"
Bumbles in Politics
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 22 -- At the conference on Somalia in Istanbul, UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon read out an unequivocal call for
funding and support for that country's Transitional Federal
Government, whose control over a few square blocks of Mogadishu is
only maintained by Ugandan and Burundian troops shooting wildly
including into civilian areas.
Ban did not
mention was even the Somali
Parliament's opposition to UN Special
Representative Ahmedou Ould Abdallah, who most recently bumbled by
issuing loud support to a move by Somali's president which was nearly
immediately reversed as illegal.
The UN often
says it will not
comment on internal legal matters of sovereign states. But Ould
Abdallah is allowed by Ban to do whatever he wants, including having
called for a moratorium on media reporting of the killing of
civilians by the Ugandan and Burundian troops.
has been told by sources in the meeting that when the TFG contingent
met with Ban last week, they complained about how Ould Abdallah is
taking all the funding, leaving them with nothing.
He gets $25
million, they said, while they get less than a million dollars. Ban
said he'd never heard of this. Perhaps this explains his Turkey call
for more funding to the TFG?
UN's Ban and Ould Abdallah, Somali complaints not
shown or acted on
the UN's May 18
noon briefing, Inner City Press asked
Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky:
City Press: Yesterday there was a statement put out about the UN –
let me see how to put it — backing the President of Somalia’s
sacking of the Prime Minister of Somalia. It was put out in your
Office that the UN supported the move by the President to fire the
Prime Minister. Now the Prime Minister is saying that that was
illegal under the Somali Constitution and that the President had no
right to do it. What I am wondering is [Ahmedou] Ould-Abdallah
essentially taking sides in an internal dispute of Somalia, is it
something he did based on legal advice from OLA [Office of Legal
Affairs]? Was it his reading — apparently it was — that this was
a legal move by the President? And what does the UN say now that
many in Somalia dispute the right of the President to make that move?
First of all, Mr. Ould-Abdallah is well briefed — it’s his area
of expertise. As you know, he was here and spoke to you last week. He
will be present at the conference in Istanbul on Somalia this
coming weekend, and I am sure at the latest at that meeting there
will be a chance to discuss this particular matter. I do not have
any further comments to add to what we have from yesterday.
City Press: In the briefing that he gave with Mr. Pascoe, there was
this question of 300 parliamentarians saying that Ould-Abdallah
should in fact — that the UN should look into his actions there and
should fire him — that is what they called for. He was the one
that responded, and he said that was just a website. I mean, it’s
Associated Press which does have a website. But I wondered, I’d
wished Mr. Pascoe — and I guess I am asking you now on behalf of
the Secretariat — what is the Secretariat’s response to a host
country — 300 parliamentarians of a host country — saying that
the SRSG should not be in the job? What is the procedure? I mean, I
know that Mr. Pascoe said he is well seasoned or whatever he said,
but what is, we often hear that the UN can only do things with the
consent of a host country and a host Government, so what is the
response to a complaint of the host Government in this case?
As far as I know, there is a difference between the Government and
Parliament in a country.
City Press: Could it just be the President? As long as President
Sharif… I mean, I am just wondering.
I think you know how Parliaments and Governments work. There is a
distinction between the two. But what is more important here is that
Mr. Ould-Abdallah is the Special Representative of the
Secretary-General and, therefore, clearly is there doing that job,
not in Somalia itself as you know, posted in Somalia, but covering
that topic because the Secretary-General wants him to.
President's move was reversed as illegal. The BBC cites experts that
it undermine the credibility not only of the president but also of
the UN. Inner City Press sought comment from Ban's Spokesperson and
Deputy Spokesperson, but none has been received.
before Ban and his Spokesman Martin Nesirky headed to Istanbul on May
City Press asked:
City Press: Just one more on Somalia since you’re going to
Nesirky: Yeah, I am just about to run.
City Press: Absolutely. Yemen has announced the death penalty
against six Somali pirates. Given, you know, the role of the UN and
of OLA [Office of Legal Affairs] and Patricia O’Brien and sort of
suggesting to Member States how pirates should be addressed, what
does the UN, does the UN Secretariat, OLA or Secretary-General, what
do they think of these death sentences recently announced in Yemen?
Well, there are two points. You are quite right that this is a
topic — not the specific case, but the question of piracy — this
is a topic that is clearly part of the agenda at this conference on
Somalia in Istanbul on Saturday. The second point is, as you well
know, the United Nations speaks out quite clearly on the use of the
death penalty, namely that it should not be used.
City Press: So, this is the speaking out clearly about these death
I beg your pardon?
City Press: I mean, is this the speaking out clearly about these
particular death sentences?
The use of the death penalty anywhere is something that the United
Nations would not be in favour of. I am going to hand over now to
Mr. Adlerstein with apologies for being slightly late. And also
Marie, very kindly, is going to moderate. Okay, thanks very much.
Nesirky or Marie Okabe answered for two days this question:
that the President of Somalia has reversed his firing of the Prime
Minister after being advised it was illegal, and with the BBC
reporting "Analysts say the row has severely weakened the
president's credibility, and the UN's, which had backed him" (see
below) - I want to reiterate my question from Tuesday, now on
'Ould-Abdallah essentially taking sides in an internal dispute of
Somalia, is it something he did based on legal advice from OLA
[Office of Legal Affairs]? Was it his reading — apparently it was
— that this was a legal move by the President? And what does the
UN say now'?"
and when an
answer is provided to this question, we will publish it. Watch this
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