UN Blind As Probe Is Called For in
Russell Lee, Exclusive
November 16, updated -- As the Security Council started meeting about
Sahara on Tuesday afternoon, all sides had and spread only
At 4:15 p.m., Uganda's Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda told Inner City
Press that his country has proposed a full Press Statement calling for
an investigative team to be send to Western Sahara. "Very sketchy," he
called the information the UN provided.
Inner City Press asked on November 12 and 16 if
the UN has any first hand information about the murders in the Gdeim
Izik camp in El-Ayoun.
No, acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq replied both times.
what basis then
was the UN's number two peacekeeper Atul Khare rushing into the
Council eight minutes late? What possible information could he
City Press has heard and reported that the UN
Department of Political Affairs prepared its first statement about
the violence while watching YouTube videos. And DPKO?
to the lack of
information, several delegations said they intended to ask for an
investigation team. If DPKO has no information, one said, that is not
normal, something will have to be done.
including one member
state joining the Council in January, said this added force to the
request to be made again in April for a human rights component to the
MINURSO peacekeeping mission.
months away, and things may have changed by then. A member said that
language for a proposed “elements to the press” was being floated
by Uganda, but that France would strongly oppose it. The US, too, was
said to not favor any outcome to the meeting.
Khare previously with Yukio Takasu, now in line for DPKO job?
of the Polisario Front spoke to the Press during the morning, while
the Council met about Sudan. They spoke of a mass grave with 34
corpses, of MINURSO peacekeepers confined to their bases, under
Moroccan surveillance, using vehicles with Morocco plates.
at the day's noon briefing asked Haq if MINURSO had visited the seen.
We have no first hand knowledge, Haq said once again. He said he
didn't know about MINURSO's licence plates, nor presumably the
bugging. (Bed bugs were also asked about, and Inner City Press'
exclusive report of fleas in the UN was confirmed.)
country on the
Council with a particular interest is Mexico, in part because it has
one of its nationals, Antonio Velazquez, hiding in the area, posting
evidence to YouTube. Mexico took the lead in asking for the meeting,
but doesn't want to be seen out front. If Uganda proposes something,
they are prepared to support. And Austria? Watch this site.
Footnote: In other
DPKO news, Inner City Press reported by Twitter on November 15 that
former Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu is in line for a job as
Peacekeeping Advisor at the UN. On November 16 Inner City Press asked
UN spokesman Haq, video here.
4:02 pm -- with the Council in closed consultations, the buzz such
as there is at the stakeout involves quotes from the emergencies
director of Human Rights Watch Peter Bouckaert, ranging from “We
have so far only been able to confirm the death of two civilians”
to “The civilian hospital in El-Ayoun was guarded by police who
beat up wounded Sahrawis who came, and even Moroccan taxi drivers who
brought them to the hospital.”
Polisario says that because people
were afraid to go to the hospital, the number is under counted.
Proponents of the number, on the other hand, say it is hard to hide
dozens of bodies. Is this round and round debate being echoed in the
closed door consultations? We will try to find out.
p.m., Uganda's Ambassador Ruhakana Rugunda told Inner City Press
that his country has proposed a full Press Statement calling for an
investigative team to be send to Western Sahara. "Very sketchy," he
called the information the UN provided.
Update of 4:43 pm -
outside the Council chamber, a non Permanent member's Perm Rep tells
InnerCityPress, of Uganda's draft Press Statement on Western Sahara,
“I don't think it'll come out that way.”
4:55 pm - with closed door consultations continuing, at the
stakeout a video asked about by the Moroccan side, and found:
highlighting of “bladed weapons” and abuse, it's reminiscent of
the video of the violence on the Gaza flotilla. Technology and war
crimes, while the UN closes its eyes.
Update of 5:09 pm -
the consultations are over, there WILL be "elements to the press," not
the full press statement proposed by Uganda.
6:08 pm -- Mark Lyall Grant of the UK came to the stakeout and
read out the “elements to the press” reproduced below. Then as
Inner City Press asked about MINURSO's lack of first hand
information, Lyall Grant said “no more questions” and walked
away. But as has become a pattern this month, he took not a single
Rugunda of Uganda, who said his country and the African Union are in
favor of an investigation by the UN or an “independent force.”
nner City Press asked who -- he didn't specify -- and about MINURSO's
failure to go to the site. He said, “That should be answered by
DPKO” - we'll be asking. The Polisario representative called
MINURSO a “virtual mission... captured by Morocco.”
came next, speaking in Arabic. Inner City Press ran to the UN's North
Lawn building for a stakeout about the G-20, at which French
Ambassador Gerard Araud and his deputy were already standing, tending
to their minister. Inner City Press asked about Chinese yuan, US
Federal Reserve pouring out $600 billion and about IMF reform -- what
that's another story. Watch this site.
the “Elements to the Press” read out by Mark Lyall Grant on
November 16, after which he said “no more questions” --
of the Security Council have been briefed by the Assistant
Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Atul Khare, on the
recent incidents in Western Sahara.
deplored the violence in El Aaiun and Gdaim Izyk camp, and
expressed their condolences over the deaths and injuries that
their support for MINURSO and its mission.
of the Security Council also heard a briefing by the
Secretary-General's Personal Envoy Ambassador Christopher Ross. They
offered their full support for his ongoing efforts and urged the
parties to demonstrate further political will towards a solution.
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