UN, Sen. Boxer Criticizes Firing of Galbraith, No Goldstone Discussion
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, October 12 -- Senator Barbara Boxer of California, after
meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was asked on Monday
morning by Inner City Press about Mr. Ban's
firing of long time U.S.
diplomat Peter Galbraith as the UN's deputy in Afghanistan, for
alleging the UN is covering up pro-Karzai voting fraud. Video
from Minute 4:10
"On Mr. Galbraith, t's a
very sad day when someone is dismissed for telling the truth, that's
how I feel about it," Senator
Boxer replied. Video
from Minute 6:18.
But did she bring
up the firing to Ban Ki-moon during their meeting? Apparently not.
When Inner City Press asked Sen. Boxer if she had raised to Ban the
UN system's handling of the Goldstone report on Gaza, Boxer testily
replied that she had come only on two topics: violence against women,
which she said took up 75% of the meeting -- and "that you never asked
any questions about" -- and climate change. Video
from Minute 8:59.
read out of the violence against women portion of the meeting, she
spoke of rapes in broad daylight then turned to an aide for the name
of the country. Guinea -- Guinea Conakry.
asked Sen. Boxer about charges that the UN Mission in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo works with Congolese army units which are
accused of rape. Sen. Boxer gave an answer that may be news: that of
the "five generals," three have been relieved of duty, but
two continue to serve. The reference is to five names that the UN
gave to President Kabila. But is being relieved of duty enough? And
is 60% a passing grade?
Sen. Boxer at UN, in the past, Galbraith,
Guinea and Goldstone not shown
Inner City Press asked Sen. Boxer to respond to chief U.S. negotiator
Jonathan Pershing's statement that if the Congress hasn't passed
legislation before the Copenhagen meeting, it will be very difficult
for the U.S. to make any specific commitment at that meeting.
was that she does not agree that the U.S. is not making progress. She
spoke about court decisions and actions of governors and mayors. But
what about the Congress? What about the U.S.'s ability to make a
commitment in Copenhagen? Watch this site.
* * *
Afghan Karzai Imposes Blackout, UN Silent on Dostum, Issues Embargoed
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, August 19, updated
-- The Afghan government of Hamid Karzai,
embracing warlords and war criminals, has imposed a media blackout in
the run-up to elections. The UN has said nothing. In
New York on
August 17, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe
City Press: there is some
controversy about the return of General
Dostum, widely viewed as a “warlord” or “war criminal”, to
campaign for Hamid Karzai. It’s reported that the UN has some
concern, but has the UN expressed any concern about this?
Spokesperson Montas: We have not seen anything on that.
July dodged questions about its seeming failure to follow up on a
mass grave of Dostum's victims, click here for
Press' story at the time. While no answer has been given to the
question about even 36 hours later, the UN put out an embargoed
statement, which we are publishing below the moment that we can.
UN's Ban and Karzai, "General" Dostum not shown
UNTIL 19 AUGUST 2009
12.01 A.M. NEW YORK TIME [8.31 A.M. KABUL TIME]
attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
Secretary-General encourages all Afghan women and men eligible to
vote to cast their ballot in the upcoming Presidential and Provincial
Council elections on 20 August 2009. He notes that, by participating
in these elections, the Afghan people will help Afghanistan
strengthen its democratic institutions, bring fresh vigour to the
country’s political life, and ultimately reaffirm their commitment
to contribute to the peace and prosperity of their nation.
Secretary-General also calls on all candidates, their supporters,
political party agents, and domestic and international observers to
continue to cooperate with the Independent Election Commission, other
relevant Afghan institutions and international stakeholders
supporting electoral preparations, to ensure a smooth and successful
Update -- at the August
19 noon briefing, after the publication of the story above, UN
Deputy Spokesperson Marie Okabe referred Inner City Press to a press
conference given by the UN envoy in Kabul, Kai Eide:
City Press: On Afghanistan and something else. The UN Spokesperson
AleemSiddique was quoted there as saying that Afghanistan “needs
more competent politicians and fewer warlords”. So the question
is: does that refer to General Dostum or not?
Spokesperson Okabe: Actually, I forgot to mention to you, Matthew,
there are two questions that you had yesterday. One, the answer to
General Dostum is actually answered by the Special Representative in
that press conference yesterday.
In trying to find the Kai Eide press conference, Inner
City Pres surfed to UNAMA.org, only to
a French furniture trade association, Union Nationale de l'Artisanat
des Métiers de l'Ameublement. But then, in
the transcript --
Speaking at the end of the campaign I would like to know your opinion
regarding the return of General Dostum?
First, it's the right of every Afghan to return to his own country. I
would like to answer that question in a slightly more general way.
It's more useful and it's a repetition of what I said at an occasion
a few months ago, when I expressed my views with regard to a
believe that with all the challenges that this country is facing, the
leaders of this country must be those who will and are able to look
toward the future and not keep us in the past.
believe that we have seen over the last few months a government which
has improved in competence with new reform oriented politicians. I
expect that when the future government is shaped that we must see and
will see more of these competent and reform oriented politicians that
can bring Afghanistan forward and prevent these institutions from
being tainted with the past.
have spoken to several candidates about this: The dimensions of the
problems that we are facing and that we have to address and the
tremendous need for competence in the team that is going to lead this
country forward. I believe and expect that they are all fully aware
Note, for now, the increasing rare UN Secretariat
reference to a right of return...