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At UN, Araud of France Says Russia Has Not Raised Kosovo Organ Trade

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 3 -- Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said publicly that Russia will support Serbia's request that the UN Security Council take up the reports of organ trafficking in Kosovo, including by Kosovar prime minister Thaci.

  But the Security Council's president for May, Gerard Araud of France, told the press on Tuesday that when he asked member states during his consultations with them on Monday about the issue, none of them said they would pursue it.

  After Araud's briefing, Inner City Press asked another diplomat from the French mission about Lavrov's statement.

  Yes, he said that, the diplomat acknowledged. But Ambassador Araud “said what he said.” We'll see. A Council debate on Kosovo is slated for May 12.

  Also during his beginning of the month briefing, Araud was asked about the first Council action of May, the presidential statement saying that Osama Bin Laden will not be able to commit or organize acts terrorism anymore.

Araud answered about another proposed phrase, he said about “the death of Gaddafi.” He laughed and called this a Freudian slip.

Araud faces press, naivete not shown

He also called Council consultations “boring,” saying that member states simply read speeches. He speculated that journalists don't know this, since they are “naive.” Following what he called France's victory during its last presidency in February 2010, the use of Council members' first names, he said he would push for more interactivity.

Araud was not asked -- yet -- about Cote d'Ivoire and the mandate of the UN mission there.

Footnote: Inner City Press asked Araud questions about Sudan and Sri Lanka, which it will separately report on. Watch this site.

* * *

UN in S. Kordofan Confirms 19 Murders, Won't Say if Harun Did It: Flights Continue?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 -- Amid the killing in Sudan, the UN has two $1 billion peacekeeping operations but refuses to answer basic questions about who is killing whom, much less stopping it.

While numerous questions about Darfur that Inner City Press has asked the UN -- bombing of clinics by the government, alleged laying of land mies -- have gone unanswered, on April 29 the UN did send an answer to a question asked nine day previous about South Kordofan (see below).

The problem is, after more than a week, the UN could or would not provide any information about who was responsible for the killing of at least 19 civilians there. In fact, the person accused is Ahmed Harun, who despite being indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur has been flown in UN helicopters to Abyei at least twice.

In the middle of April, Inner City Press began asking about allegations that Harun had just organized a militia to attack El-Faid Um Abdullah, the home village of his deputy governor in South Kordofan, Abdelaziz al-Hilu. The accusation was made by the deputy governor himself:

Abdelaziz al-Hilu accused governor Ahmed Harun, who is from a rival party and will contest local elections against him on May 2, of 'organizing an attack by the Popular Defence Forces on my village, El-Faid Um Abdullah. They killed more than 20 people and burned between 300 and 500 houses in the early morning. Two women and four children were among those who burned inside the houses,' he said.”

Inner City Press asked US State Department spokesman Mark Toner, and then UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq on April 20:

Inner City Press: On Sudan, there is this report from the Deputy Governor of South Kordofan, saying that the popular defence force attacked his village, killed 20 people. And he blames it on Ahmed Haroun… in fact the Governor, the Khartoum-backed Governor of the state. So, it’s a pretty high-profile person accusing him of being behind this attack, and I wonder, does UNMIS, what have they done in terms of investigating Mr. Haroun’s role, given that they have been flying Mr. Haroun as an ostensible peacemaker to Abyei?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: I was told that UNMIS has gone to this area in Southern Kordofan, and it is trying to obtain more information about what’s been going on there.

For more than a week, there was no answer from the UN spokesperson's office. In the interim, Inner City Press asked number two UN Peacekeeping official Atul Khare, and US Ambassador Susan Rice about it.

Khare said that the killing including “inter alia women and children,” in “the village of the deputy governor.” He said the UN would be paying more attention to the area, mentioning humanitarian issues.

  But what about investigating Abdelaziz al-Hilu's claim that Ahmed Harun was involved? If the UN confirmed this, could or would they keep flying Harun around on UN helicopters?

Ban & Khare, murders by and flights to Ahmed Harun not shown

As US Ambassador Susan Rice left a UN Security Council meeting on April 20, Inner City Press asked her if the new charges against Harun should end the UN's flights for Harun. "He was already indicted," Rice said. "At this point the concern is constant."

  But has the US spoken against the UN flying Harun? Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the US Mission for a comment, without receiving any.

Finally on April 28 leaving another session about UN Peacekeeping, Inner City Press asked an official of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations about the failure to answer questions, not only about South Kordofan but also Darfur.

While the Darfur questions still remain unresponded to, on April 29 the following was sent:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply <>
Date: Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 10:54 AM
To: Matthew Lee [at]
Subject: Your question on Southern Kordofan

The upcoming elections in Southern Kordofan, which are to commence on 2 May, are of importance to both parties and the increase in violence is of great concern to us. The National Congress Party/Southern Sudan People's Liberation Moverment partnership was a stabilising factor over the last two years but since this election will influence Southern Kordofan’s political balance of power, the rhetoric of the election campaign has been increasingly aggressive. As a result, on 13 April 2011, four predominantly Nuba villages within the Locality of Al Rashad (200 kms NE of Kadugli) were targeted, resulting in the death of 19 persons (3 children, 4 females, 12 males) and the injury of 29 (3 females, 24 males).

Not only is this response 16 days after the fact, and nine days after the question was asked -- it also make no effort to identify who is responsible. Since the person accused is one whom the UN has flown around in a helicopter to meet with the type of nomadic tribes accused of murder, shouldn't the UN want to know, and be required to disclose? Watch this site.

Footnote: On the Doha process on Darfur, after Djibril Bassole announced it would become foreign minister of post-mutiny Burkina Faso, Inner City Press asked the UN if he would be allowed to stay on as mediator, as he reportedly wanted. Finally the UN squawked an answer, that he would end as mediator on April 30. This is how Khartoum wants it.

A top UN peacekeeping official told Inner City Press that Bassole will attend the upcoming session in Doha, but only as foreign minister of Burkina Faso for its involvement in the process. This too is how Khartoum wants it. Watch this site.

* * *

UN Admits 2d Flight of ICC Darfur Indictee Haroun to Abyei in Sudan, Impunity

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 4, updated -- The UN has for a second time offered a free UN flight in Sudan to Ahmed Haroun, under indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, the UN admitted Friday in response to questions from Inner City Press.

  On March 3 the UN Security Council met about renewed fighting in the disputed Abyei region. Back in January, Inner City Press got the UN to acknowledge they had flown ICC indictee Haroun from South Kordofan, where he serves fellow ICC indictee Omar al Bashir as governor, to Abyei.

  The UN has defended this controversial flight by saying that Haroun and Haroun alone could stop violence in Abyei. The UN never explained why the government of Sudan, which has an air force currently bombing civilians in Jebel Marra in Darfur, couldn't itself fly Haroun.

The UN said it was a scheduled flight, then UN Mission in Sudan chief Haile Menkerios admitted to Inner City Press that it was a special flight. Inner City Press is told such flights cost $40,000, and the UN has confirm no reimbursement has been sought from the Bashir government.

But now the violence has continued, making the UN flight of ICC indictee Haroun harder to justify even by the UN's own argument.

  March 3 in front of the Security Council, Inner City Press asked Council president for March Li Baodong of China if the UN Peacekeeping official who briefed the Council, Atul Khare, had mentioned if Haroun would again be flown in a UN helicopter. Li Baodong did not directly answer.

At the March 4 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm or deny that that the UN would once again fly ICC indictee Haroun to Abyei, even now that his work in connection with the first flight has proved ineffective.

Nesirky said he would check. Ten minutes later, Nesirky's deputy Farhan Haq announced by speaker to all UN correspondents that yes, Haroun attended today's meeting in Abyei, and yes, “he was transported” by the UN.

  This UN promotes impunity, even for one of the few people indicted for war crimes by the ICC. Meanwhile Ban Ki-moon brags about the Security Council's partial referral of the situation in Libya to the ICC -- a referral that Ban Ki-moon did not even call for until after the Council voted to make the referral.

  This UN is promoting and enshrining lawlessness, with no transparency or accountability. Watch this site.

Update of 3:48 pm -- Human Rights Watch, via Richard Dicker, submitted this comment:

This is the second time in recent weeks the UN has transported Ahmed Haroun who is charged by the ICC with war crimes in Darfur. We have real concerns because the U.N. should not be in the business of transporting Haroun. There needs to be an extremely high threshold of urgency for such action by UNMIS.”

Responses have been sought from the Missions to the UN of France, the UK and the US, with the latter two asked if they knew in advance of the UN's new flight of ICC indictee Haroun. Given her statements this year about social media, & after hours of non-response by the US Mission to the UN,@AmbassadorRice has been asked directly as well. Watch this site.

Update of 4:30 pm -- Then this, from UK Mission to the UN spokesman Daniel Shepherd:

As spokesperson, I would only reiterate the message that my two Ambassadors have both said on the record (and published by Inner City Press) first time around: that we aren’t going to second guess how UNMIS fulfills its mandate to provide good offices to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) parties in efforts to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiations. I’d only add that this work is particularly important at this sensitive time, to contain any potential escalation after the recent Abyei violence.”

We could note again that violence has persisted despite the UN flying ICC indictee Ahmed Haroun in the first time, and that it is the role of UN member states to oversee the UN Secretariat, not to defer in this case to what some see as its promotion of impunity - but at least the UK would put its position on the record.

Update of 4:43 pm -- this too has come in, perhaps in response:

Date: Fri, Mar 4, 201
Subject: Haroun and Abyei
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

You guys ask great questions! Have you noticed perhaps that the United Nations seems to be unaware of who is causing the violence in Abyei. And yet "diplomatic sources" report seeing the burial of 33 bodies - all southerners.

The Arab nomads say the violence started when SPLM police shot at them (Hitler used a similar ploy to invade Poland) - and today thousands of civilians fled Abyei fearing another crisis like in June 2008. The Dinka Ngok villages north of Abyei, such as Maker, have been burnt to the ground. The end explains the means. There is a creeping ethnic cleansing going on in the Abyei region despite the agreements of 2005 and the Court of Arbitration ruling in 2010.

Why fly Haroun to Abyei - what is his cv? It is, as you correctly point out, that of arming arab militias to burn villages. I hope to see more of your questions pinning the UN to the responsibility to protect.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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.

* * *

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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