UN's Moves, from Twin Cities to West Bank
10 -- People with no assurance of ever returning home
follow politics more closely than those who've never left. Hassan, a
Somali living in the Minneapolis neighborhood called the West Bank --
of the Mississippi River -- asked
bitterly why the United Nations
sent Ahmedou Ould Abdallah and now "the Tanzanian"
Augustine Mahiga, as envoy to his homeland. "Who not a Somali?"
Hassan asked Inner City Press on June 10. "Are we not good
Safari Express, an East African take out restaurant, in the Midtown
Global Market in south Minneapolis. Over a plate of chicken suqqar,
he recounted to Inner City Press how the civil war in his country
makes it impossible to return. Some, he said, return only to fight,
usually for Al Shaabab, "The Youth."
Chicago and Lake neighborhood, women in veils walk in front of liquor
stores and half abandoned buildings. The Ugbaad Cafe is closed and
boarded up, across the street from one of Minneapolis' Peavy Parks.
Two blocks further south, traversed on one of Minneapolis' bikes to
rent and share, nurses are picketing Children's Hospital.
rental bike?" a Somali calls out to Inner City Press. Yes it is.
From 11th and Marquette out to 30th and Lake is less than 20 minutes.
The same to the West Bank and Riverside.
It is June in
and aging rock bands play for free. There is a statue for Mary Tyler
Moore. Make it, Mary Tyler Moore in Mogadishu. "Don't go there,"
Hassan advises Inner City Press. "They kidnap you for money."
Ruins in Somalia, West Bank (of Minneapolis) not shown
fact, Inner City
Press traveled with the UN Security Council and Ould Abdallah to
Djibouti in 2008. Ministers of the Transitional Federal Government,
some from Minnesota, stayed in the expensive Kempinsky Hotel and
assigned themselves positions.
control four square blocks in
Mogadishu. The view of them from Riverside, from Minneapolis Somalis,
is less than positive. "We need our country back," Hassan
said over chicken. Then he smiled and went back behind the counter.
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Handed from Ould Abdallah to Mahiga, of Yemen's G-77
-- The UN's envoy on Somalia Ahmedou Ould Abdallah,
who called for a moratorium on press reporting of civilian deaths in
Mogadishu and cut a stealth deal about Somali off shore rights with
Kenya and Norway, has been relieved of his functions.
Inner City Press that he was being replaced by Tanzania's
current Permanent Representative to the UN, Augustine Mahiga. The
affable Ambassador Mahiga has been seeking a UN job for some time. He
put himself up for the number two post in the UN Development Program,
running against his own foreign minister. Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon and UNDP's Helen Clark bypassed the African Group and gave to
post to Rebecca Grynspan of Costa Rica.
June 4, rather
than simply write the story without receiving confirmation, Inner
City Press asked
Spokesperson Marie Okabe:
is leaving in July and seeks to remain as
an adviser to the Secretary-General. I just want you to confirm that
he is leaving, and to confirm or deny that Augustine Mahiga, the
Tanzanian ambassador, is going to be named the SRSG
[Secretary-General’s Special Representative].
nothing on any appointments.
Ould-Abdallah has said publicly that he is leaving
in July. Is that the case?
nothing on that.
nothing on appointments for Somalia today.
Press knew it to be true, confirmation was sought from
Mahiga himself. The Tanzanian Mission said he was in Europe thought
June 18, but they would ask him (the staffer said, "that is good
news"). But Mahiga, who previously asked Inner City Press to
email him articles, did not respond.
Inner City Press publicly asked about Mahiga and Somalia,
Ban Ki-moon has formally named Mahiga to the Somalia post, which is
actually based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mahiga, stars and bars behind him, TFG not shown
9, before the confirmation, Inner City Press asked
Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the UN had consulted with
the Transitional Federal Government about Mahiga. Haq said yes --
but we'll have more on this.
say that Mahiga is
"so pro American, he'll make it all about counter - terrorism."
Then again, that has already been the UN's approach.
the UN way for a diplomat to seek a Secretariat job is for he or
she -- almost always he -- to beginning selling out his Group and
even his country, in exchange for the coming favor. The Secretariat
uses the needs and wants of Permanent Representatives to obtain
certain actions or forbearance in the budget committee -- which has
continued meeting this week, despite the announced conclusion in May
-- the General Assembly and in this case the peacebuilding
placed source told Inner City Press. "With
all of the conflicts and problems, you might expect the UN to name an
envoy or otherwise get involved. But since Yemen managed to head the
Group of 77 this year, they use that leverage to tell the UN to do
nothing. In exchange for which, the Group of 77 does not move to hold
Ban accountable." Watch this site.
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