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With UN's Sahel Strategy Still Missing, Is It Time to Pull Plug on Prodi?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 -- Is it finally time to pull the plug on Prodi? That was a question that came up several times Wednesday after the UN Security Council set its program of work for May.

  The vaunted Strategy for the Sahel, which Prodi back in October was given a full time Under Secretary General's post to complete, is still not finished. A Sahel session slated for May 7 will now, Inner City Press was told, in all probability not take place.

  In the interim, as Inner City Press covered, critiqued and questioned about, Prodi was in the race, and ultimately failing at that too, to be Italy's president.

  This obvious conflict of interest was haltingly excused by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Secretariat. At first they told Inner City Press they were not aware of it -- how not?.

  Then they said it was moot, because Prodi failed. Some endorsement.

  Finally they sent Inner City Press this:

Subject: Your question on Romano Prodi
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 9:51 AM
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Mr Prodi is the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Sahel. Mr. Prodi did not campaign for the office of the Italian Presidency while working as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General.

In the Italian political system, the President is elected by the Parliament. This is not a direct election, nor is it a position that is campaigned for. Mr. Prodi was nominated for one round of voting while he was in Mali attending an international meeting on the crisis in that country. He withdrew his name for consideration immediately after one round of voting.

  But being in that round of voting was, more than one Security Council has told Inner City Press, an outrage; it's time to pull the plug on Prodi. What is the UN coming to, that it has no rules, or rules only for some?

  It is an obvious conflict of interest to run for public office while still serving as a UN official. This precedent would allow any Under Secretary General -- why not Secretary General? -- to do it.

  And where is the Sahel Strategy that Prodi has been paid -- how much? -- to compile? Watch this site.

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