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As Sudan Ends Doha Talks on Darfur, UN Ignores Questions of Rape & Referendum

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 30 -- When Omar al Bashir of Sudan threatened to pull out of the Darfur peace talks in Doha, Inner City Press asked the Office of the Spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of comment. The question was ignored, then after a complaint answered thusly: “On the Doha peace talks: We have asked for a response and will send it when we have it.”

  After this delay, Bashir actually pulled out of the Doha talks. Inner City Press went to the Spokesman's Office in the basement of UN headquarters but still received no comment. Another senior Ban Ki-moon official said “it's up to Bassole,” the joint UN-African Union mediator. He, it appears, has not spokesperson.

  But, days ago, Inner City Press asked Ban's Spokesman's Office to “Confirm or deny reports of Sudanese government rapes near UN peacekeepers in North Darfur.

Even in a response after Inner City Press complained, this question was ignored. So was this:

On Sudan, please confirm or deny that the Department of Political Affairs in a recent briefing to NGOs said that

UN projects no consolidated results before end Jan – result likely to be announced February 2.

Major technical challenges now are training staff, deploying materials, and being ready to handle results management (this is still a serious risk because little done to prepare for results period)

Probability of extension to polling remains high

In Darfur, protest, UN response to Doha end and Qs not shown

Arab League visit to Sudan (Qaddafi and Mubarak) - castigated Bashir, pretty clear now that LAS will not try to spoil what is almost international consensus on recognition - there is even talk they will offer an independent S. Sudan membership in the LAS.

Bosnian Presidency likely to take cues from US and UK.

  Ban's Spokesman's Office simply ignored this question about statements that NGOs have to Inner City Press attributed to Ban's DPA. After an argument that December 31 is another day to answer, the question has been reiterated by Inner City Press. Watch this site.

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In Sudan, Disarmament Irregularities Freeze UN Program in Referendum Run Up

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 29 -- Mismanagement and corruption in the UN system, hardly rare, sometimes comes to light at a particularly bad time. Such is the case in Sudan with irrregularity in the disarmament programs run by the UN Development Program.

Less than a month before the Southern Sudan secession referendum which many predict may give rise to a renewed civil war, UNDP confirmed in response to questions from Inner City Press that it has suspended seeking funding for its disarmament programs.

This is the answer provided to Inner City Press by the UN's Spokesman's Office:

From: UN Spokesperson unspokesperson-donotreply [at]
Subject: Answers to your questions
To: Inner City Press
Date: Wed, Dec 29, 2010 at 7:42 PM

SUDAN Please provide the UN system's response..

Our colleagues at UNDP provided the following: “The UN’s DDR programme in South Sudan is facing challenges. The UN’s team in Sudan was concerned that the total number of former combatants, and women associated with the armed forces, that have been reintegrated has been low. That is why we commissioned an independent review and why an internal audit is currently on going. UNDP management expects that the review will enable us to improve the focus of the programme, assess the objective conditions for its implementation and take a critical look at the project and local capacities on the ground. It will also help us in terms of the redesign of the programme and only then will we seek future funding.

We take audits and evaluations very seriously so as to improve our performance on the ground. The issues you highlight in your questions are being critically examined. Once the review has been thoroughly studied and the audit completed, it is vital that corrective measures be taken rapidly and in consultation with all parties involved.

In Southern Sudan, registration, disarmament not shown

The overall political context under which this programme operates is the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). As you know, some of the planning assumptions in the CPA have not yet materialized on the ground, increasing the complexities and challenges of implementing the programme.

More broadly, this programme is operating in a state that is recovering from a long civil war. That has a very significant impact on the results of reintegration --whether it is the abject poverty in many rural areas, the lack of opportunities or the almost non-existent infrastructure.

That being said we owe it to the people of South Sudan and our donors to make this programme as successful as possible despite all of the difficulties. We are always looking for ways to improve it and make the intra-UN cooperation more effective.”

  While the investigation and suspension of requests for more funding is all to rare in the UN system in response to unveiled irregularities, it comes at a very bad time. Some call it inexcusable. Watch this site.

* * *

On Sudan, As UN Tells NGOs of Polling Delay, No Result to Feb 2, No Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 29 -- While the UN had said that the Southern Sudan referendum slated for January 9 is a major priority, the UN has stopped answering media questions about it.

 The UN Department of Political Affairs told non-governmental organizations that it expects the polling to be delayed or extended, Inner City Press is informed, and that results will not be available until at least February 2.

  Meanwhile the UN system is embroiled in a corruption inquiry in Sudan, about which the UN in New York has not answered questions. Inner City Press has formally asked Ban Ki-moon's top two spokespeople about

a confidential UN report as disclosing that some 50 UN experts working for the DDR program in south Sudan had received exorbitant salaries of 14 million US dollars... some UN experts had received salaries of fake names that do not exist in the UN payroll... The official in charge of coordinating the DDR program with the UN in Sudan, Osman Nuri, on Tuesday claimed that the UN had only released 39.967.380 out of 105.068.169 US dollars provided by the donors for the DDR program...Nuri, further recounted that the official in charge of coordinating the DDR program in south Sudan, William Deng, has noticed that enormous amounts of money were being spent outside the purview of the program. Nuri said that these two facts made the government suspicious that the UN was abusing donors’ fund.”

  On December 23, UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that he was canceling the regular noon briefings, but that top spokesman Martin Nesirky would answer questions. But throughout this week, Nesirky and Haq have provided no answers at all to Inner City Press' questions about Sudan and other UN topics formally submitted to them.

UN's Ban and Sudan's Bashir, OSSG answers not shown

  On December 29, after Inner City Press asked for an explanation, Nesirky replied that answers would be provided that day. But at close of business at 4:50 pm on December 29, no answers at all have been provided. Watch this site.

Update of 7:45 pm -- at least one Sudan answer has now been provided, here.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

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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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