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UN Mine Action Calls Chechnya a Country, Uses Troubled UNOPS, Downplays Ossetia Cluster Bombs

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 4 -- "There were some issues of managerial performance at the UN Office of Project Services," the UN's rule of law chief Dmitry Titov told the Press on Wednesday, suggesting that any further questions be directed to UNOPS. But Titov was briefing about the UN's Mine Action Projects, which use UNOPS and its private contractors as "implementing partners" in many countries, including Afghanistan. Inner City Press asked, what is the value added of having UNOPS and these private contactors? The question was not answered. Video here, from Minute 47:55.

   Meanwhile UNOPS has been refusing to provide basic documents about its projects in Afghanistan, and an expose is brewing.

   Inner City Press asked Titov to explain the statement, in the thick book of Projects he was promoting, the statement on page 284 that "Chechnya is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world." Is Chechnya a country? "As a citizen of Russia," Titov said, "it's a territory, please interpret it that way." Interpret the word "country" as "territory"? It's reminiscent of a UN arms publication that referred to Taiwan without adding, "Province of China." The mis-prints were destroyed, and China stopped reporting.

UN's Titov in Timor Leste, Chechnya as country, cluster bombs in Ossentia not shown

  Inner City Press asked Titov about cluster bombs in South Ossetia. "Relatively small," Titov said. In Chechnya, the UN has no de-mining program, just a mine avoidance training program. And what about Ingushetia?

  Even those UN Mine Actions Cris Stephens has said the UN has lost 5 million Euros in currency exchange in Afghanistan in the last two months, a colleague of Titov's whom he introduced as Simon Parker said, "We don't have that problem anywhere we work." Video here, from Minute 33:59. This we will revisit.  Because what about Myanmar?  On that, it was announced past 5 on  December 4 that the following day, Ban Ki-moon with meet with his Friends on Myanmar, andt then speak with the Press.

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

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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