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In Somalia, Entrepreneurs Prosper & Petrie Violate Sanctions in Puntland, TFG Tricks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 6 -- Somalia and Puntland have become hotbeds for diplomatic entrepreneurs as they leave the UN and US government. The UN's Charles Petrie has said he will be working for the Transitional Federal Government -- but some in the TFG are not so such, not least about for whom Petrie will be working.

  On December 6, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky about a former US State Department official seemingly involved in violations of the 1992 UN Somalia sanctions regime:

Inner City Press: there is a former US official, Pierre Prosper, who has said that Puntland, the portion of Somalia, has hired a private military contractor, Saracen, to do anti-piracy work — that it’s being all funded by a Muslim nation that he wouldn’t name. So what I wonder is whether, given Mr. [Augustine] Mahiga or anyone in the UN, given both the prohibitions against mercenaries and also the 1992 sanctions on Somalia, what does the UN say to Puntland pretty openly, or at least as acknowledged by a former US official, hiring a mercenary firm to patrol the coast of Somalia, and what’s the UN going to do in light of this report?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, thanks for the question, Matthew, and let’s see what we can find out. I don’t have anything at the moment.

  After UN business hours on December 6, Inner City Press asked SRSG Mahiga directly. He said the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General had not asked him, but to his credit gave a long and detailed answer.

  Mahiga said he had told Puntland officials that they might well be violating the UN's Somalia sanctions. They replied, according to Mahiga, that since it “doesn't involve arms, it can't violate the sanctions.” This is an inaccurate reading of the sanctions regime.

  Mahiga asked if Prosper was still working for the US. Not on paper, is the answer. Mahiga said Petrie's roll is even more confusing. According to Mahiga, Petrie wanted to work as a consultant to the TFG while still under UN contract.

   Inner City Press previously corresponded with Petrie -- one of the more intriguing UN officials -- then asked for formal confirmation, of his letter, and his role.

UN's Ban and Mahiga, Charles Petrie, Prosper and Somalia sanctions not shown

  The following arrived:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
To: Inner City Press
Subject: Your question on Charles Petrie

Mr. Petrie submitted his resignation from the UN effective 1 November, but was asked, for operational reasons, to postpone his departure to the end of the current mandate, which concludes 31 December, 2010. He is continuing to exercise his functions as ERSG for Burundi until that time. It was also decided that while still under the UN’s employ Mr. Petrie would provide some support to the UN Political Office for Somalia's work with the Transitional Federal Government, drawing on his past experience as Deputy SRSG for Somalia. He is doing so in close collaboration with SRSG Augustine Mahiga.

    But on December 6, Mahiga told Inner City Press that "No one knows who Petrie is working for." Petrie says he had the agreement of the previous TFG, but according to Mahiga, the current government is not so sure. Watch this site.

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UN Resignation of Petrie Caused by Inaction on Staff Genocidaire, UN No Comments

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 -- The UN moved Charles Petrie from Somalia to Burundi in April of this year, and now on November 1 he is leaving the employ of the UN.

  On October 19, Inner City Press asked the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq why Petrie is leaving. He is not being thrown out of the country, Haq said. “Clearly, he has been talking about this, and so, you could get the answer just as easily from Mr. Petrie. I wouldn’t have any way of adding to his own comments.”

  But a September 30 resignation letter from Petrie to Ban Ki-moon, obtained elsewhere in New York by Inner City Press, shows that Petrie is choosing to leave the whole UN system, due to the UN's inaction on genocidaire Callixte Mbarushimana, and that while he will now work part time on Somalia, it will not be through the UN, but on behalf of European donors.

  For a UN official to leave the UN system due to its failure to act on a genocidaire who worked for the UN is news -- which may be why Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson's Office has refused to say anything. Back on October 11, Inner City Press asked

Inner City Press: does the UN have any comment on the arrest in Paris of Callixte Mbarushimana?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: I know who you mean, and this is an ICC [International Criminal Court] arrest. We’ve seen the same press release or statement that you have on this person…

Inner City Press: He worked for the UN; I am wondering what the response…

Spokesperson Nesirky: We of course know where he worked before, and you also know the full history to that. What I can simply say is that we are aware in the same way that you are — from the media and from their press release — that the International Criminal Court has announced that this man was arrested earlier today in Paris by the French authorities following a sealed ICC arrest warrant. That’s what I can tell you.

   But the UN could have said more.

UN's Ban with Petrie, inaction on genocidaire and resignation not shown

  The public record shows that Petrie was the UN's Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide. In his September 30 letter of resignation to Ban, Petrie urged

the UN to come to terms with the case of Callixte Mbarushimana, a former staff member of UNDP (1992 - 1995 Rwanda, 1996 - 1998 Angola) and later UNMIK (2000-2001), accusing of having participated in the murder of thirty-three people at the time of Rwanda's genocide, among [them] UN colleagues. To a large part as a result of the UN's inability, or unwillingness, to initiate an investigation of the accusations that were know to it by 1996, Callixte Mbarushimana won a legal action against the UN in 2004 which resulted in the organization paying his thirteen months salary as compensation for the 'violation of his rights.'”

   The UN could have addressed this, but didn't. Perhaps the “review” that Petrie's letter to Ban says he will embark on will help address this. 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.

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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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