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Somalia Contests Sanctions on Hormuud in Empty UN Room, World Bank Echo

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 1 -- When Somalia's charge d'affaires at the UN Omar Jamal scheduled a press conference Friday at 2 pm, even with Somalia in the news due to the donors' conference in Istanbul, only three correspondents showed up.

  Was there no news about Somalia? Was there something else taking place? At the UN even newsless meetings or events about Syria or North Korea draw dozens of reporters. Somalia, apparently, is not interesting.

  Inner City Press asked Omar Jamal about a telecommunications company which has been put on the UN Security Council's sanctions list: Hormuud. Inner City Press heard about opposition to the listing some time ago, with analogies being made to the Barakat conglomerate which was closed down after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

  In that case, many low income Somalis lost their money.

Here, Jamal responded, the closure of Hormuud would wreck economic chaos in the country. He said on the record, as Inner City Press had thought he would, that it should NOT be on the sanctions list, and it should be taken off. But will the Security Council, Sanctions Committee and Panel of Experts listen?

Inner City Press also asked about a World Bank report alleging $130 million gone missing in aid to Somalia, first reported by the BBC and Voice of America (both of which Inner City Press credited in its question to Omar Jamal).

  Jamal said the report just came out, and called it or tried to call it into doubt. The timing of the report's leak, of course, is noteworthy. But that's how the news industry works -- or at the UN, at least on and for Somalia, DOESN'T work. Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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