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As UN Aid Chief Amos Leaves, Is Post UK's Like France & Peacekeeping?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 26 -- When the UN announced on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the departure of Humanitarian Affairs chief Baroness Valerie Amos, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq if the vacancy will be advertised for candidates from all countries, or if it is set aside for Amos' United Kingdom.

  Amos' predecessor was UK Sir John Holmes, just as current UN Department of Political Affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman's predecessor was American B. Lynn Pascoe, now back at the UN on the UN Peacekeeping Operations review panel. UN Peacekeeping is even more closely held, with France controlling it four times in a row, now at a nadir with Herve Ladsous.

  Haq insisted that the Humanitarian Affairs vacancy will be open to candidates from all regions. But when Inner City Press asked if it will be advertised for example in The Economist, Haq did not answer.

  There have been rumblings, noted by Inner City Press, of DPA chief Jeffrey Feltman leaving -- and of the US perhaps trading Political Affairs for Peacekeeping. But that theory seems to have been that US State Department Number Three Wendy Sherman would move up to William Burns' deputy spot, opening her position for the return of Feltman.

  Now that the Obama administration has put Tony Blinken into the State Department Deputy post, as one insider told ICP, “Feltman stays at the UN.”

Even without any double switch, Ladsous is under fire atop DPKO, not only for refusal to answer questions, back to rapes in Minova in DR Congo, but now in Tabit in Darfur as well.

 Haq, like lead UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on November 26, would not when Inner City Press asked confirm receipt of a letter, critical of Ladsous' DPKO, from Darfuri groups, here.

 Outgoing UN Security Council president Gary Quinlan of Australia not only confirmed receipt of the letter - he circulated it to the other Council members. A press officer of UK mission to the UN tells Inner City Press, "I can confirm that we received the letter indirectly." We'll have more on this, and on Amos' work while at the UN, and perhaps reason(s) for leaving.

  On November 25, it was Quinlan and not Amos who took question after Amos' briefing on Syria. How much will Amos speak, publicly, before her departure at the end of March? Much, is the hope and goal of the Free UN Coalition for Access. Watch this site.


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