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At UN, Despite Libyan Testimony on Mercenaries, Issues Not in Press Statement

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 22 -- Amid killings including reportedly by mercenaries in Libya, the UN Security Council met for three hours Tuesday afternoon then issued a Press Statement.

Inner City Press asked Libya's Deputy Permanent Representative Ibrahim Al Dabbashi about the use of mercenaries by Gadhafi. He is using them, Dabbashi answered, in the west of the country.

Mercenaries from where? Inner City Press asked.

From African countries,” Dabbashi said.

But the Council press statement, when read about by the Brazilian president, did not mention mercenaries.

Did the Council discuss mercenaries?” Inner City Press asked her.

No, she said, the Council did not discuss that.

Why not?

Earlier, Inner City Press asked the UN's Lynn Pascoe about mercenaries. He said that UN staff in Libya are worried about being mistaken for mercenaries, so the stories are out there.

Brazil SC president, mercenaries not shown

The UN has not spoken about Bahrain's open use of police from Pakistan and Yemen to attack Bahraini demonstrators -- arguably, mercenaries. Watch this site. Here is the press statement:

"The members of the Security Council were briefed on the situation in Libya by Mr Lynn Pascoe, UN Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, whose Mission had requested a meeting of the Security Council.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the statement issued by the League of Arab States on 22 February 2011.

The members of the Security Council expressed grave concern at the situation in Libya. They condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians. They called for an immediate end to violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue.

The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Libya to meet its responsibility to protect its population. They called upon the Libyan authorities to act with restraint, to respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and to allow immediate access for international human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies.

The members of the Security Council called for international humanitarian assistance to the people of Libya and expressed concern at the reports of shortages of medical supplies to treat the wounded. They strongly urged the Libyan authorities to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian and medical supplies and humanitarian workers into the country.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need for the government of Libya to respect the freedom of peaceful assembly and of expression, including freedom of the press. They called for the immediate lifting of restrictions on all forms of the media.

The members of the Security Council stressed the importance of accountability. They underscored the need to hold those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians.

The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern about the safety of foreign nationals in Libya. They urged the Libyan authorities and all relevant parties to ensure the safety of all foreign nationals and facilitate the departure of those wishing to leave the country.

The members of the Security Council will continue to follow the situation closely."

* * *

As Libya Kills Protesters, Gadhafi Daughter is UN Ambassador, UNDP Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 20 -- As in Libya the forces, including mercenaries, of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi shoot and kill peaceful protesters, the UN has been nearly entirely silent.

  On the morning of February 20, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

In the wake of the gunning down of 46 democracy protesters in Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi, by security forces under the command of Colonel Gadafi, is the UN reassessing its relationship with Col Gadhafi’s daughter, Aicha, who the UN has designated a “Goodwill Ambassador?

Has the Secretary-General sought to use the UN’s special relationship with its Goodwill Ambassador Dr Aicha Gadhafi to persuade her father not to use such excessive force against peaceful demonstrators?

  Nine hours later, no response at all from the UN. Inner City Press also asked Ban's spokesman Nesirky “in this context, the Secretary-General's planned trip to California to meet and greet 'the entertainment industry,' how much is this trip costing, and is it funded by the Regular Budget of the UN -- and if not, what is the funding source?” Again, no answer.

On February 17, Inner City Press had asked Nesirky

Inner City Press: Is there any thought of using the existing UN programs on the ground, whether it is UNDP or otherwise? There was some criticism of this training of police in Egypt prior to the — there was criticism by NGOs that it didn’t bring in human rights activists but rather Government people. Is there some thinking of how — the UNDP website about Libya hasn’t been updated now in several months, I guess — it seems to some, due to the turmoil. What about these UN…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Who might that be? Who is it, these people who think it might be?

Inner City Press: People that look at it and have seen that it was updated all the way, until suddenly there was turmoil in the country and then it is not updated any more.

UN's Ban and Gadhafi, Goodwill Ambassador daughter not shown

Inner City Press: What’s the role, according to the Secretary-General, of the existing UN programmes in countries like Libya and Yemen, where Helen Clark visited and didn’t say anything about democracy?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, there are lots of, as you know, across the region, there is a UN presence in different constellations; country teams with different components, whether it is UNDP or other UN agencies, funds and programmes. Of course, given that they are already on the ground, given that they have been working there in different capacities on different projects, they are well placed to be further involved. But this is part of a bigger picture, and it is being very carefully coordinated.

Inner City Press: Is there any change of policy? I guess I am saying, given that the announcement today that the UN is sort of taking cognizance of all this, is there, is that…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, Matthew, it’s hardly an announcement today. This is something that has been said consistently for a number of weeks now. And indeed, further back, as you know, the Human Development Reports on the Arab world have been saying this for the best part of a decade. So, okay, thank you very much.

But what had the UN been doing about Libya? Watch this site.

* * *

As Egypt Ambassador Dismissing Web Crackdown, His UN Job Search Continues, Yemen & Tunisia Perm Reps Compete?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 8 -- Amid continuing protests and crackdowns on media in Egypt, the Mubarak government's Permanent Representative to the UN Maged A. Abdelaziz spoke to the Press on Tuesday. Inner City Press asked him about the blocking of the Internet and social networks and whether these attacks on freedom of expression would continue.

I'm sure you know better than that,” Abdelaziz said. “Now everything is working -- social networks, Internet, Twitters... you have contact with your people back there, you see everything.”

But the fact that television networks can work around restrictions and threats does not answer the question. Abdelaziz said that as Ambassador to the UN in New York, there were questions he could not answer.

Earlier on Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked about complaints by Abdelaziz, first to Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, about comments about Mubarak stepping down. Ban said

I think that there was some misunderstanding about my statement. I hope that there will not be much misunderstanding on that. What I said was that the Government leaders should listen more attentively to the genuine aspirations of the people and there should be a transition, and the sooner the better. And the future of their country and transition process should be something which should be decided by the people.”

Less than an hour later, Abdelaziz seemed pleased when he said that what Ban Ki-moon had just said “is the UN position.” Abdelaziz met with Ban on Monday.

Maged Abdelaziz makes point to Ban: UN job offer not yet shown

Abdelaziz' and the Egyptian Mission's spokeswoman commented to Inner City Press on Tuesday about its reporting that Abdelaziz is seeking a job. She denied he is seeking an IMF job -- which Inner City Press never reported. But there are many sources for his UN job search.

Also, the Permanent Representatives of Yemen and Tunisia are said to be seeking UN jobs -- one effect of what's sweeping the region. But it is like musical chairs. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

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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