UN Holmes Confirms Return to UK, Ripert for the Job, and
US for Peacekeeping?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 24 -- Top UN humanitarian John Holmes has confirmed
to The Times that he will leave New York later this year, setting
a major powers game of musical chairs for senior UN posts. This comes
ten days after Inner City Press reported
that Holmes would be
returning to the UK, and Holmes denied the story vociferously on
margins of a press stakeout about Haiti and Somalia.
James Bone, Sir John will take over from Jeremy Greenstock at
the Ditchley Foundation, consider once of the easiest UK Foreign Office
putting together conferences on a country estate in Oxfordshire.
said it would not be seeking to retain the humanitarian post but
rather seek Political Affairs, currently held by American Lynn
Pascoe, or the S-G chief of staff post, currently held by India's
Vijay Nambiar. But the UK has clarified that no decision has been
made to forgo OCHA for one of the two other posts.
sources predict that former French Ambassador Jean Maurice Ripert,
who last year was given a temporary post as the UN's humanitarian
coordinator for Pakistan, may return to New York to take over Holmes'
OCHA post. Bernard Kouchner, Ripert's mentor, is said to want to
control UN Humanitarian Affairs. But this would require Alain Le Roy,
also French, to step down as head of UN Peacekeeping.
be rumors that the Obama administration would like to take over UN
Peacekeeping. During the last General Debate in September, Obama
convened a meeting about peacekeeping -- which India boycotted, as they
want the top post based on how many troops they contribute to the
UN. (If India somehow got Peacekeeping, Nambiar would have to leave.)
Ambassador Susan Rice, headed through bad
weather from DC to the UN for Wednesday's Security Council briefing on
drug trafficking -- she began her statement at 11:40 am--
spoke earlier this week on Peacekeeping, and Tweeted it too.
Susan Rice and and U.S. General Fraser are scheduled to meet with
Holmes on February 24 about Haiti.
Sir John Holmes smiling as he gets on a plane,
musical chairs not shown
the US to take
Peacekeeping, Lynn Pascoe would have to go. Then the UK could take
Political Affairs, and Ripert's France take over Humanitarian
Affairs. The Western Permanent Three play musical chairs.
of Nambair? What of India's aspirations for the Peacekeeping post? What
of Egyptian USG Shaaban Shaaban, currently under
fire in the UN Dispute Tribunal? If Shaaban is removed, perhaps
Egypt's Permanent Representative will get the UN post he has long
sought. Watch this site.
Also on the UK tip, when Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman came
to New York she
targeted invitations to female Permanent Representatives. But some
countries responded that their PR is otherwise occupied, and proposed
that the Deputy come instead. So the UK had to ask, or look up: is
the Deputy a female?
* * *
UN, Buzz of Holmes Leaving, Tibaijuka's Absence, Accountability on
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 12 -- At UN's annual signing of "compacts"
on Friday morning, the buzz from one Under Secretary General to
another was that top UN Humanitarian John Holmes "is leaving to
go back to the UK." Later another senior UN official, not
present at the Compact signing ceremony, told Inner City Press this
present to sign his Compact, being in Haiti. Anna Tibaijuka, removed
by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon inexplicably from running the UN's
Nairobi office, was equally inexplicably not present, even by video
conference. Her Nairobi chief successor Achim Steiner, handpicked by
Mr. Ban, was present, with the image of a tree behind him.
Compacts, as did Cheick Sidi Diarra, still moonlighting between Least
Developed Countries, Landlocked and Small Island Developing States
and the Special Adviser on Africa position, which some in the General
Assembly say has become moribund under Mr. Ban. The Assembly has
voted that the post must be filled, but it has yet to happen.
2009, Inner City Press was the only media organization there. Even
for the photo op, only UN Television and UN Photo were there.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ban in his prepared remarked said the UN was making
these signings "as public as possible."
reports on performance, will go only on the UN's intranet, not
available to the public, to "we the peoples."
of the Under
Secretaries General at the ceremony rarely if ever speak to the
press. Chief UN lawyer Patricia O'Brien, in her few appearances, has
stuck narrowing to issues of the Hariri Tribunal, refusing questions
even on the UN's involvement in Cambodia's tribunal.
Ahlenius, recently in the media for OIOS' alleged policy of not
pursuing former UN employees or third party contractors, has not held
a press conference in the Compact annual cycle.
Security chief Gregory Starr has not spoken with the press, other
than a single interview with the correspondent of the Washington
Times (which recently closed its UN bureau by means of massive
Starr is the
only new UN senior office since last year.
Now, a needed shakeup may be near.
Last year's group photo by UN, only DSS' Starr is
new since then
Shabaan, while affable, has yet to hold a press conference, despite
being in the news for a damning UN Dispute Tribunal decision about
his management. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, who sat in the corner
during the signing ceremony, announced only that Ban will appeal the
UNDT decision, but refused Inner City Press' question for a statement
of the basis of the appeal.
more than understandable. Lynn Pascoe, along with Ban's closest
advisor Kim Won-soo, was still on his North Korea trip. Mr. Ban told
the Press that he spoke with Pascoe, who had not met with Kim Jong-Il
to whom Ban sent a leather bound copy of the UN Charter in six
peacekeepers, Alain Le Roy nor Susana Malcorra, was present. Inner
City Press saw both of them less than an hour later going into the
Council, another USG spoke: Alan Doss, whose
six line e-mail urging UNDP to show him "leeway" and give
his daughter a job is still being investigated by the UN some eight
months later. Why does USGs like Doss sign Compacts, and abide by
them? As with everything in this UN, it is a work in process, not
necessarily in progress. Watch this site.