Famine, UN Says R2P Not Needed, US to 7th from 1st in
July 20, updated -- As the UN declared a state of famine in two
states of Somalia,
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia told the
Press that in the past two years the United States fell from being
the number one donor to Somalia to seventh or eighth place.
calls for the “Responsibility to Protect” concept to be invoked,
for the UN Security Council to direct countries to override
“political” and even anti-terrorism concerns in order to provide
aid to areas controlled by Al-Shabab.
asked Bowden what he and the UN think of invoking R2P, and what they
are doing to minimize the degree to which their aid might provide
“material benefit” to Al Shabab, the key threshold under US law.
Ban and Mahiga in Naibori, R2P not shown
action under R2P is not necessary. While vague on interaction with Al
Shabab, he said that there has been no change in policy, that the UN
works with “local drought committee” and that the Transitional
Federal Government in Mogadishu supports this. We'll see.
City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about Bowden's aid
rankings later Wednesday morning, as transcribed by the US Mission to
Press: Mark Bowden, the humanitarian coordinator of the UN, just
gave a press conference and he said that the U.S., two years ago, was
the number one donor to Somalia and has now fallen to seventh or
eighth-pretty much tied to anti-terrorism restrictions on where the
funds can go. I know you gave the Horn of Africa number but is he
correct about this?
I can't tell you if he's correct. I can tell you that the
United States remains the largest bilateral donor to the crisis in
the Horn and the epicenter of the crisis in the Horn is, of course,
Somalia. We have provided support and will continue to provide
support to the refugees that have reached Ethiopia and Kenya among
others, but our support has gone to Somalia as well and will continue
to do so. The challenge has been access for the humanitarian
agencies, particularly in the south and the central region, and it's
been blocked deliberately as a matter of policy by al-Shabaab. And
al-Shabaab is principally responsible for exacerbating the
consequences of the drought situation by preventing its own people
from being able to access critically needed assistance.
* * *
Piracy, US Questions Regulating Mercenaries, Egypt Says
Crime is Crime
14 -- Amid controversy about the use of mercenaries to
face off against pirates off the coast of Somalia,
the US State
Department's Donna Hopkins on July 14 told Inner City Press “there's
a robust international effort [about] the use of armed security,
private or not, and how it should be regulated, if at all.” Video
here, from Minute 13:30.
month, the chairman of the UN's Working Group on mercenaries told
Inner City Press that a draft convention to regulate private military
contractors is being opposed by large states.
Apparently, even with
Blackwater having renamed itself Xe Services and moved to the Middle
East, the US is still opposed to regulating mercenaries, including on
the high seas.
the Coordinator of the Counter Piracy and Maritime Security
Bureau of Political Military Affairs at the US State Department, and
chairs “Working Group Three” of the Contact Group on Piracy off
the Coast of Somalia. Denmark's Legal Adviser Thomas Winkler declined
to say if the use of armed security is good or bad, but added that no
ship with armed guards has been hijacked.
member, Egypt's Deputy Assistant Foreign Minister and Counter
Terrorism Coordinator Ashraf Mohsen, adopted an even harder line.
Inner City Press asked if the Contact Group has done anything about
illegal fishing or the dumping of toxic waste.
“Some will try
to justify criminal behavior,” Mohsen said, citing poverty as an
excuse for stealing, injustice as a rationale for killing. “Crime
is crime... Piracy is a form of criminal behavior. Any justification
counteract this position, Mary Seet-Cheng of Singapore said that
piracy cannot be solved at sea. The UK's Chris Holtby chimed in
about efforts on the rule of law in Somalia, the development of its
Exclusive Economic Zone. He did not mention outside involvement in
what purported to be Somalia's own Law of the Sea filing. And so it
goes at the UN.
* * *
Dodges on Mahiga Meeting in Kenya,
Calls for Firing
-- On April 6 Inner City Press asked
Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to respond to
criticism from Somalia of Ban's envoy Augustine Mahiga scheduling a
consultative meeting on Somalia this month not in that country, but
in Nairobi, Kenya:
Somalia, there is quite a lot of protest within the
country about a supposed consultative meeting that Mr. Mahiga is
organizing in Kenya and there have been calls to boycott it. The
Government has also asked that the UN move its offices to Mogadishu.
So, what’s the UN’s response to these two critiques, both from
clan leaders and from the TFG?
Mahiga extended this invitation to various
parties there to take part in some discussions and we are aware of
the report or the reports that you refer to about the presence of UN
offices in Somalia; we’re aware of that report. I don’t have
anything further on that at the moment, simply to say that the people
who work for those offices are regular visitors to Mogadishu. Indeed
Mr. Mahiga was briefing the Secretary-General last week when we were
in Nairobi, within hours of having just returned from Mogadishu.
April 7 Nesirky
read out a statement that Mahiga will proceeding with the meeting in
Nairobi, and has gotten many commitments to attend,
summarized by the
UN in this way:
Special Representative for Somalia,
said today that the High Level Consultative Meeting will take place
as scheduled on the 12 and 13 April in Nairobi. He said that he has
received positive responses to the conference from Somali parties and
officials who are willing to participate in strengthening the
dialogue between the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its
and more limits questions at his noon briefing while refusing to
answer the vast majority of e-mailed Press questions, did not
mention is that the
Somali Transitional Federal Government's prime
minister himself has opposed the Kenya location, and has gotten Raila
Odinga's support on this:
Kenyan government will back efforts by the Somalia Transition Federal
Government (TFG) to host an impending high-level peace meeting to
resolve the crisis in the strife-torn country. Prime Minister Raila
Odinga assured his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi the
government would back their bid to convince the United Nations and
the African Union to hold the peace meeting in Mogadishu.”
Now, a major
Somali cleric -- Sheikh Ahmed Abdi Dhi’isow, the chairman of the
Somali religious assembly -- has
Ban Ki-moon to fire
disregarded all of our requests and suggestions and he continued
organizing the meeting in an attempt to divide Somalis, so we are
calling on the U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon to dismiss Augustine Mahiga
from United Nations Political Office for Somalia,' he said.”
Nesirky say to that? The UN of late has been bragging about "its"
Djibouti process. And it's come to thise? Watch this site.