to Answer Mugabe Ambassador Question, Then Punts and Still Stonewalls
October 14, updated -- Three
days ago, Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky was asked if the UN could confirm,
and comment on, the Sudanese government's interrogation and
intimidation of internally displaced people who spoke with members
the UN Security Council during their trip to Darfur. Nesirky said,
“let's find out” -- but three days later, nothing.
another question asked by Inner City Press at the October 12 noon
briefing, about the Sudanese government's beating and arrest of pro
secession demonstrators. Nesirky said “I’ll see what we can get
you on that” -- but two days later, nothing.
8 am on October
14, along with reiterating these and other outstanding questions,
Inner City Press posed to Nesirky and his deputy Farhan Haq a few
simple, factual questions, asking that they be responded to by the
conclusion of Nesirky's October 14 noon briefing.
later, none of the question have been answered. One was
the Secretariat by the UN Mission in Sudan; another concerned
calls on Ban Ki-moon to not accredit the Ambassador sent by
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. Inner City Press asked:
Zimbabwe, what is the Secretariat's response to the contention that
the Ambassador sent by Robert Mugabe should not be accredited, as his
appointment did not comply with the process agreed to with the
involvement of the UN and Haile Menkerios? Is Mr. Ban going to meet
with and, separately, accredit the person Mugabe has sent?”
asked this question on October 13.
Mr. Ban and Nesirky, answers to simple questions not shown
Is it too much
to expect for an
office the size of his to be able to provide a response to, or at
least acknowledge receipt of, a simple factual question re-posed four
hours before his noon briefing? Apparently for now it is. [After 4 pm, a response was received and is
set forth in full below.]
also three totally unresponsed to questions on a topic that Nesirky
and Haq - and their boss? -- show most resistance to answering. These
October 8 in its “Week End,” Nesirky's office said that there
will be no October 15 noon briefing, just as another Friday noon
briefing was canceled despite other spokesperson's office staffers
being there. Nesirky has said that such cancelations are okay because
questions can be asked by email. But then he and his office neglect
to answer simple factual questions submitted by email four and more
hours before noon. So which is it?
5 pm: the following arrived:
question on Zimbabwe
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
To: Matthew.Lee [at] Innercitypress.com
Date: Thu, Oct 14,
2010 at 4:38 PM
appointment of a Permanent Representative is an internal matter
for Zimbabwe, which is to be decided upon in accordance with the
provisions of its own domestic law, the Secretary-General believes
that the Prime Minister’s letter highlights a source of concern
regarding the political transition in Zimbabwe.
regard, the Secretary-General urges all Zimbabwean parties to
respect the commitments they made in the Global Political Agreement
of 15 September 2008 and ensure that the Agreement is implemented in
its entirety in the interest of stability in Zimbabwe and the welfare
of its people.
encourages the guarantors of the Agreement, the
Southern African Development Community and the African Union, to
continue to accompany the implementation process and help build trust
between the Zimbabwean parties. The United Nations has expressed its
readiness to support that process, if requested to do so.
of a Permanent Representative is an internal matter for a
Member State, which is to be decided upon in accordance with the
provisions of its own domestic law. Ambassador Chipaziwa was
properly accredited as Permanent Representative of the Republic of
Zimbabwe to United Nations Headquarters in New York on 28 June 2010. We
will be bound by the letter of his accreditation until advised
otherwise by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
it took more
than eight hours to say... “we aren't going to do anything”? And
what about the numerous other unresponded to, not even acknowledged
questions? Watch this site.
* * *
UNMIS Dodges on Panel and Exclusions from UN Jobs & UN
October 14 -- Upon arriving in South Sudan a week ago, the
UN Security Council was met by two separate demonstrations.
reported one was pro-secession, in the run up with the referendum
scheduled for January 9. Also in the crowd, noted by more than one
journalist but at the time not reported, were signs and chants of
“workers rights are human rights.”
the Sudanese media on the UN flight from Juba to Darfur were thrown
off the plane. This was first reported by Inner City Press, then by
Sudanese publications and others.
the US early
on October 13, Inner City Press directed three questions to the UNMIS
spokesman in Khartoum. Twenty four hours later, responses were
But each was
a model of evasion, explicitly not providing
the basis information requested and in one case simply referring the
question back to spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New
York, Martin Nesirky, to whom it has been re-directed four hours
before his October 13 noon briefing.
City Press' three questions among with explanation, and UNMIS
spokesman Ashraf Eissa's responses:
provide by email asap what UNMIS put out about the incident with the
Sudanese journalist(s) on the tarmac in Juba in the Security Council
this question was a journalist on the trip referring to a canned
UNMIS statement put out in writing in the UN Spokesperson's Office in
New York. It was no longer there when Inner City Press checked. So
Inner City Press asked UNMIS. But after 24 hours, Eissa replied:
has received formal complaints re the incident from the two
institutions with which four journalists who traveled with the SC
group are affiliated. UNMIS has formally responded to these
not say what
the “formal response” was? Security Council members, including a
Permanent Five member whom Inner City Press spoke with about it, saw
and then read out the ejection of the Sudanese media. What is UNMIS'
response? The Council meets on Thursday morning about its Sudan trip -
will it exclude this aspect?
provide the response of UNMIS / the UN to the "The
Sudanese Drivers and Mechanics Association... cit[ing] UNDP, UNMIS
and Kenya Commercial Bank among the organizations that continue to
employ foreigners in positions that many unemployed indiginous should
hold, rendering local drivers redundant.”
employment. It is for other organisations to answer, but as far as
UNMIS is concerned, All national staff jobs are exclusively for
Press was told, while at Juba airport, that much (but not all) of the
protest of the UN was directed UNDP, the UN Development Program, and
not only at UNMIS, doesn't UNMIS have some role to speak for the UN
system, at least in South Sudan?
example, the UN
system's Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative Georg
Charpentier is, he seemed to say in El Fasher, an employee of UNDP.
But still he purports to speak for the wider UN system. (Inner
City Press has posed these and other questions to UNDP).
formal spokesman like Eissa do the same?
UN's Menkerios, reclusive UNMIS chief, responsive
info not shown
UNMIS' stated mandate
includes “promoting understanding of the peace process and the role
of UNMIS by means of an effective public information campaign,
targeted at all sectors of society... promoting the rule of law,
including an independent judiciary, and the protection of human
rights of all people of Sudan” -- including, presumably, those
Sudanese protesting their exclusion from jobs of the UN system,
the Council and media were in Sudan, UNMIS one-year chief Haile
Menkerios did not speak with the press, despite requests made to the
UN. Media based in Sudan say Menkerios rarely provides responses to
reporters. What about “promoting
understanding of the peace process and the role
of UNMIS by means of an effective public information campaign" ?
third questions, not related to what it saw first hand in South
describe how Benjamin Mkapa, António Monteiro, Bhojraj Pokharel
their staff are being compensated or having their expenses paid.”
and financial question, UNMIS' Eissa has responded:
SG's Panel is a totally independent panel from UNMIS. It reports
directly to the Secretary-General in NY.”
panel in South Sudan and Abyei until October 15 is breathlessly
reported on UNMIS' website, so Eissa's response seems too
Even though answers
promised by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson in New York
Martin Nesirky back on October 11 have still not been provided,
City Press is re-directing this and other questions to Nesirky. Watch
* * *
Ban Meeting with Sudan Archbishop Excludes Press, No Answers on
October 11 -- The UN says that the situation in Sudan is of
much import to it. But then the UN refuses to answer questions, and
refuses to let the Press cover what the UN is doing about Sudan.
schedule of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon included a 4:30 meeting
with “Sudanese Church Leaders.” Every other appointment continued
the name of the counter-party.
meetings begin with a
photo opportunity. This one was no different -- except only UN Photo
and not the Press was allowed to photograph the meeting.
asked the UN Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit if it could
photograph beginning of the meeting. It was confirmed that UN Photo
was going; the staged handshake would take place. But “Farhan” --
on information and belief, acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq -- said
no, Inner City Press could not attend the already scheduled
photo op. No reason was given.
City Press went to the North Lawn building, two stories below
Ban Ki-moon's office. Francis Deng, the Sudanese advisor to the
Secretary General on Genocide, went up, stopping to confirm to Inner
City Press that he was attending the meeting. Then a UN Photo staffer
went up. But Inner City Press was not allowed.
the meeting, Inner City Press waited and spoke with the Episcopal
Archbishop of Sudan, Daniel
Bul. He told Inner City Press that everything must be done to
ensure an on time and peace referendum, that was the only way to
protect the churches in North Sudan.
He told Inner City Press: "they have to push
to have a peaceful Sudan, the referendum [in time] - once done, you've
brought a peaceful country."
But few whom Inner City Press spoke while
covering the Security
Council's four day trip to Sudan were hopeful for an on-time much
less peaceful referendum. And the demonstrators in Khartoum on October
9 were saying that only unity could bring peace.
Inner City Press asked about resource
sharing, Abyei and oil. The Archbishop said the CPA contains the
mechanism: 50 / 50. But even now the mechanishm is hardly working.
Salva Kiir of South Sudan and Archbishop, Ban
and UN protection not shown
Archbishop Bull and his delegation -- Inner
City Press also spoke with Caritas' Permanent Delegate to the UN --
have other meetings set up. Let's hope those are more transparent,
and that those met with can bring more to the table. Watch this site.
Footnote: also at the UN on Monday, Inner City
Press directed a
question about Sudan's external debt to Eckhard Deutscher, Chair of
the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development: would OECD countries be
willing to forgive some of Sudan's $37 billion in debt, as a way to
sweeten the pot, or make the loss of oil revenue more palatable?
Deutsche responded with platitudes, about the IMF's good programs.
But a Permanent Five ambassador on the Sudan trip told Inner City
Press that Sudan (and South Sudan) are not eligible for the HIPC
program. So what is being done?
* * *
Inner City Press on Video,
sent to Darfur after reports of a
brutal campaign by the government of Omar al Bashir against opponents
of his regime and civilians perceived as supporting them.
as shown by documents
Inner City Press, is near to turning over five supporters of rebel
Abdel Wahid Nur to that same Bashir regime, in exchange for a promise
by Bashir to commute any death sentence his courts impose.
Security Council, which ostensibly oversees Gambari's actions
along with the African Union, expressed surprise to Inner City Press
once they saw the leaked documents, consisting of a draft letter and
“Additional Terms” from Gambari to Bashir's foreign minister Ali
to El Fasher from South Sudan, US Ambassador Susan Rice told
Inner City Press that she intends to inquire into Gambari's offers
about the Kalma Camp Five while in Darfur. This echoed a statement of
intention previously issued by another Permanent Member of the
with the visiting Security Council members, Gambari
of his military officials, in uniform, came to see the Press.
called Inner City Press' publication of his draft documents
“reprehensible” and told Inner City Press to “be careful...
lives are at stake.” Transcription below.
Yeah, a witness to
Gambari's statements later said, the
lives of the Kalma Camp Five are
at risk if the UN turns them over to a strongman already
genocide and war crimes. “Is this what the UN should be doing?”
Gambari, Lyall Grant, Susan Rice, Churkin- oversight
not seen? (c) MRLee
Press were caught on video and will soon be
published online as such. For now, here is a transcription, prepared
late Thursday night at a guest house in El Fasher outside of
Gambari's UNAMID compound:
“What's happen with the Kalma
Camp Five that you are considering turning over to the government...
or that documents indicate you are considering turning over?”
We have these five sheikhs who
have been accused of some very serious offenses. We have no means as
UNAMID to try them... Down the line if ever there was a death
sentence, the President has the prerogative of mercy. All has been
discussed confidentially. I want to say how reprehensible it was
that somebody leaked the confidential communication of the government
of Sudan...endangering the lives of those in the camps. The recipient
of such a leak I think should also think twice about what they do
considering that they are endangering the lives.. We've lost 27
peacekeepers between UNAMID and UNMIS, I mean AMIS.”
Wahid Nur saying that if the Five are
turned over, it will make UNAMID complicit in genocide, and that his
group would not cooperate with the UN any more.
Wahid was supposed to have
said... I met Khalil Ibrahim yesterday, asked how about how someone
said JEM wants Gambari to resign for Tarabat Market. [He
said he] ever said that, never authorized this... I want to hear from
Abdel Wahid. I've been to Paris twice, I went to Tripoli...What
happened in New York I condemn it. Matthew I have known you a long
time, you should be careful... You are a recipient of a leaked
document... Journalism also is a responsibility. I regard you as a
friend, I used to, I regard you as a friend, I am admitting that.”
Gambari said: “He wants all issues resolved almost
before he comes.”
you , what are we supposed to do, keep people
Council members, when they saw
the leaked documents, said they were not aware that you or UNAMID
were in such discussions, and some expressed worry. How much is this
Mission overseen by the Security Council?”
S-G. I am responsible to two masters. You
have the AU and you have the UN. The unity of the international
community is key to finding a solution.”
backed out the door toward his vehicle,
“Transparency you can always say is dangerous, but I think it's
probably a good thing.”
lives are at stake.”
a witness to Gambari's statements later said, adding that the lives
of the Kalma Camp Five are at risk if the UN turns them over to a
strongman already indicted for genocide and war crimes. Among other
lives put at risk, without oversight, transparency or explanation.
“Is this what the UN should be doing?”
before Inner City Press obtained and
published Gambari's draft letter to Sudan's Ali Karti, Gambari had
already expressed anger at Inner City Press' publication
his time as UN envoy to Myanmar.
24 high level meeting on Sudan, Gambari didn't
argue about lives being at risk. He claimed the documents were “old”
(2009) and not newsworthy. “Just leave me alone,” he said, having
in the past declined to respond to questions sentto his UN e-mail
address by Inner City Press. Now, the claim that lives are put at
risk. Is it just opposition to transparency?
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.