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On MDGs, Rwanda Says Its Not for Donors, Ban Cites "Gilani" of Australia

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 12 -- At the “MDGs Momentum” event in the UN's re-opened lobby on Friday afternoon, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon thanked the Ambassadors of the two countries chairing his MDGs advisory group: Australia and Rwanda. (Inner City Press photo here.)

  Both, as it happens, were elected to the Security Council this year. Australia may be said to represent donor countries, and Rwanda the developing world.

  But Rwanda's Permanent Representative Eugene Richard Gasana made a point of saying, in his speech, that his country is not for MDGs at the behest of donors.

  For Rwanda in the recent past, one wag noted, donors have been fickle: here today, gone tomorrow.

  Afterward Inner City Press asked Gasana about the line. “It's about national ownership,” he said. “It's all about us. Nobody should champion the MDGs because they got money.”

Another speaker, Jeffrey Sachs, said that Rwanda's neighbors are all inspired by its progress on the MDGs. Again one wag had to note, that's not been the message from the neighbor in Kinshasa -- which now, at least according to the UN's Herve Ladsous, is belatedly suspending military officers for the 126 rapes in Minova in late November 2012.

  In offering this thanks, Ban Ki-moon cited Rwanda's President Kagame and Australia's “Prime Minister Gilani.” Inner City Press was there, and heard and taped it.

 Afterward, the Australian delegation tried to insist it had not happened. And to respond to that, and because the UN often just doctors up its transcripts, Inner City Press is uploading the audio clip, here.

  In fairness, Ban was recounting his call -- on Skype -- to courageous schoolgirl Malala in Pakistan, and about kicking off a soccer game in front of 90,000 fans.

Afterward, more surprise was expressed that in his meeting Thursday with US President Barack Obama -- that's a name Ban wouldn't get wrong -- Ban didn't raise any issues about Africa, “not even about Mali,” as one African diplomat put it.

Maybe these things seem important to us here, but are not important even to Ban Ki-moon out there,” the diplomat continued, pointing outside to rainswept First Avenue. Perhaps not. Watch this site.

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