As UN's Stealth Envoy Goes Missing in Niger,
Secret Process and Payments Questioned
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
December 16 -- Days after Robert
Fowler, belated described as a Special Envoy of the UN Secretary
in Niger, UN spokesperson Michele Montas said there are other
as-yet-undisclosed envoys out in the field. Inner City Press asked if
of special envoys is confidential. "I'm not saying its confidential,"
Ms. Montas responded. "I don't see what is the use of making them
until something is actually done." Video here,
from Minute 17:16.
names of other envoys who have not accomplished their stated missions
routinely and repeatedly made public. Matthew Nimetz, for example, has
envoy on the unresolved "name issue" about the Former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia for more than ten years. So what was Mr. Fowler
Niger, and who are the other stealth envoys of the UN's Ban Ki-moon?
Ms. Montas' statement that the list would be provided, it has not been.
only question which was answered after the briefing concerned Fowler's
method of payment: " Robert Fowler is employed
on a When Actually
Employed (WAE) contract at the Under-Secretary-General level." That's a
high rate of pay. But how much has Fowler actually been employed by the
since he was so quietly appointed? And what has he been doing?
reported that "the UN vehicle carrying Mr. Fowler, Canadian diplomat
Guay and their locally hired driver was found unoccupied Sunday night
kilometers northwest of the capital of Niamey, raising fears they have
kidnapped. According to authorities in Niger, the trio had visited a
operated by a Canadian company about 125 kilometers from Niamey." This
last has been confirmed when "UN spokesman Farharn Haq said the three
men were headed Saturday toward an area called Samira, the site of a
gold mine that is partly Canadian-owned."
Fowler on UN business? Or Canadian corporate business? Was the UN
paying Fowler's full salary or only part? What about conflicts of
interest? What was the
relation between Fowler's ostensibly UN mission and Louis Guay's
Canadian mission? Some note, harkening
back to yellow cake, the involvement of Canadian firms in uranium
Fowler, circles, previously as UN, other
secret envoys not yet shown
Press asked Ms. Montas where in the UN budget the payments to Mr.
other stealth envoys are disclosed. In the budget of the Department of
Political Affairs, she said. But DPA, run by American B. Lynn Pascoe,
weeks declined to provide even a simple summary, requested in a UN noon
briefing, of what its mediators are working on. The lack of
be justified by the purported sensitivity of the topics. Many topics at
are sensitive, but nevertheless it is an inter-governmental agency
is public, and whose Secretary-General is supposed to take direction
from, or at
least make disclosure to, the Security Council or wider General
Press asked the spokesman for the President of the General Assembly if
Assembly was even informed of Ban's naming of Fowler or any more
undisclosed special envoy. He said he didn't think so, but would be
into the issues. So will we.
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
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City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
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Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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