Enviro Short List Down to Four With India, Currying Favor of Member
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 4 -- The short list for the UN's top environmental job,
currently held by Yvo de Boer, is down to four, Ambassadors told
Inner City Press on Tuesday. The finalists, they said, are from
India, South Africa, Hungary and Costa Rica.
last of these
held her own press conference to announce her candidacy. The
penultimate, Janos Pasztor, was the subject of a UN noon briefing
back and forth, about the possible conflict of vying of the UN post
while occupying another.
also had a press conference, is apparently not on the final short
list. Looking at recent appointments by the Ban Ki-moon
administration, observers see a pattern of seeking to curry favor
with particular member states or regional groups.
of course is
how the UN works. But "it has gotten worse under the Moon,"
as one insider puts it, pointing at the appointments of sitting
ministers and judges from member states to human rights positions,
then appointing outgoing Ambassadors like Chile's Heraldo Munoz to a
post at UNDP.
supporter of Ivan Simonovic, whose section for the rights ASG post
Inner City Press reported on
May 2, and was confirmed May 3 by the
Spokesman's Office. A Croatian supporter of Simonovic said that he is
a very loyal person and may not be able to come to New York until
September, when in his current job he'll finish an EU negotiation.
Inner City Press asked just this at noon, but Ban's Spokesman Martin
Nesirky said he didn't know.
UN's Pasztor, Orr and Nesirky
Here are some
other things he said he didn't know, in the UN's
transcript of its May 4 briefing:
City Press: I want to ask a couple of questions about the Congo,
about MONUC [United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo], I guess. One is, can you confirm that the
Senegal and Benin troops are being withdrawn from MONUC? And beyond
that, what percentage of the battalions remaining are actually from
Nesirky: Let’s find out.
Also, it’s a related question. The Military Adviser of DPKO
[Department of Peacekeeping Operations] Mr. [Chikadibia Isaac]
Obiakor, when does his mandate run out, and when does that of Mr.
Babacar Gaye as MONUC Force Commander?
Well, as we told you, Mr. Gaye is that Force Commander and is listed
as such. But if there is about to be some movement and our
colleagues in DPKO can advise us, then we’ll let you know.
There were widespread reports that Andrew Leslie, a Canadian
General, was offered the force-commanding position for MONUC, but now
he has been given another job for Canada. So, I think the cat is
kind of out of the bag that Mr. Gaye will no longer be the Force
Commander of MONUC. So, I am just wondering, can you at least state
when Mr. Obiakor leaves? I’ve heard that Gaye is replacing
Obiakor, several delegations say that.
I can’t right now. But, as I said, as we speak, Mr. Gaye is the
Force Commander for MONUC.
Can I ask, yesterday you announced the appointment of Mr. [Ivan]
Šimonovic of Croatia as the ASG [Assistant Secretary-General] for
the Human Rights High Commissioner. Can you say when he is going to
begin? I’ve heard it may be as late as September, and I am
wondering what sense that makes.
I will find out. I would note that Mr. Šimonovic is a cabinet
minister. He is a Minister of Justice, so I am sure there have been
discussions between the Human Rights Commissioner and her team and
the Croatian Government about the timing. Let’s find out.
And does the Secretary-General, I know you’ve put his CV out, but
was he aware of concerns raised by prominent human rights
organizations that this is not the right choice, that the person has
very little track record in human rights, and was appointed by a
person alleged to be a war criminal, etcetera. Is that, I’m
wondering just what the response is to criticisms voiced by prominent
human rights organizations of the appointment.
As I have said before with relation to other appointments,
appointments of this kind, meaning senior appointments, are not
undertaken lightly, and involve looking at a range of people and
options. And there is a set pattern of interviews and references, as
you might expect.
In Iraq, there is a recount going on. Does the UN have a role? What is
the UN’s role in that a recount? Are they observing the
recount or are they supporting the recount in some way?
The UN is not involved in observing, it was not involved in
observing the election itself nor the recount. The United Nations
has a role to provide the technical support that we’ve talked about
a number of times, and that would include advising the election
commission on how you conduct a recount.
And finally, you sent me an answer about this Mr. [Bruno] Bastet who
was a UN employee who was accused of using French subsidy for the
poor while being a UN employee. But he was, as you said, removed
from DC-2 by the Department of Safety and Security of the UN, is that
common? When somebody’s contract runs out, why do they have to be
escorted from the premises by security? Can you explain why this
No, I cannot give you any more details than what I have, what we
have already sent to you, which is that he was escorted, I think that
is the key word, he was escorted out of one of the UN buildings —
for those in the know, DC-2 — last week, and that was following the
termination of his contract. But, as you also know from what I told
you and as we have also told others who are aware of this case, that
this was without incident. As to further details about this, I would
ask you to contact the Office of Human Resources Management
On this incident, still a related one, the last time, at least I am
aware of, this happening was Nicolas Baroncini, the person who was
alleged to have bitten a security officer when the Alan Doss job was
given. In light of the OIOS [Office for Internal Oversight Services]
preliminary finding described by Farhan Haq as now been given to Mr.
[Alan] Doss for him to respond to — does that have any bearing on
the UN proceeding with its case, criminal case against Mr. Baroncini?
But he was taken to criminal court.
Does what have any bearing?
Does the finding, does the preliminary OIOS finding about the
propriety of Mr. Doss’s conduct have any bearing on the UN
proceeding to continue the criminal prosecution of Nicolas Baroncini?
Is the UN going forward, that’s to say? Is the officer going to
testify against him and are you trying to, I guess, put him in jail?
Well, that’s a lot of questions there. My answer will be fairly
brief. And that is that we’ve said repeatedly and we’ve just
told you this morning again, that this, if I am not mistaken, that it
is precisely that. The findings, there is a preliminary finding that
was given to Mr. Doss in that particular investigation or inquiry,
and it’s not yet finalized. On the other aspects of your question,
I don’t think that’s something I can comment on.
Is it going to go forward?
I cannot comment on that here and now. If I have anything else to
add at another stage, I will.
see. Watch this site.
* * *
UN, Gaye and Simonovic Up for Posts, Human Rights Ignored in UN Musical
Chairs, Khare and Hilde Johnson
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 2 -- Two appointments to two posts that are about to be
made, including one in Peacekeeping and another of "Balkan partisan" Ivan
demonstrate this UN's lack of commitment to human rights, sources
tell Inner City Press.
years ago, the post as Military Adviser to the Department of
Peacekeeping Operations was given to Nigerian Lieutenant General
Chikadibia Obiakor. Now, sources tell Inner City Press, Obiakor will
be replaced by on again, off again UN Congo force commander Babacar
Gaye of Senegal, a Francophone country which like Benin is currently
having its troops pulled from the (Francophone) Congo.
Press asked Gaye last August about reports of sexual exploitation and
abuse by UN
peacekeepers under his command in the Congo, Gaye's answer left some
scratching their heads, video here,
from Minute 41:46:
we sent a fact-finding mission in the localities in South Kivu and
North Kivu where allegedly there was SEA cases. I have the results of
this fact-finding mission. This is the document that I received.
Unfortunately, or [do] we say fortunately, most of the time the
accusations, the allegations, are not precise enough to see something
on the ground and that is why we have decided to send as soon as
possible a fact-finding mission every time there is this kind of
accusation. You know that it is up to OIOS to investigate this kind
of things. But this fact-finding mission is the way for us to react
as promptly as possible in order at least to send evidence and so on
and so forth. In both cases, that probably your question is related
to, there was nothing on the ground for being evidence that something
Press asked to see the document Gaye was waving in the air while
saying the above, Gaye refused to release. Likewise, he denied that
there had been any issue of Pakistani and Indian peacekeepers
resisting crossing the administrative border between North and South
Kivu, which Inner City Press dubbed the Kashmir in
the Kivus. But
other DPKO staff, since Gaye's public denial, have acknowledged that
this happens. Some military adviser.
Babacar Gaye with Alan Doss, self-exoneration duo?
new human rights post in New York of Assistant Secretary General, for
which many names have less than accurately been tossed around, is
according to well placed NGOs about to be awarded to Ivan
Simonovic of Croatia, currently that country's Justice Minister. As
determined, they say, by Ban Ki-moon's senior advisor Kim Won-soo,
he's to get the post over, among others, Karin Landgren of Sweden,
who heads the U.N. mission in Nepal, on the theory that the UN can't
have two senior Swedes, and Swede Margot Wallstrom got the rape of a
weapon of war post.
The human rights NGOs tell Inner City Press they
that Simonovic was named his country's ambassador to the UN by then
prime minister Franjo Tudman, of whom Judge Jean-Claude Antonetti
"It is true that Mr.
not charged because he is dead, but alive, he would be here on the
accused bench. General Bobetko, that he was alive, he would be
accused of the bench. It should be borne in mind when talking about a
joint criminal enterprise."
The human rights NGOs also point to what they
disproportionate prosecution of ethnic Serbs in Croatia while
Simonovic has been Justice Minister. While Simonovic, they say,
argues that his post is not directly responsible for particular
prosecutions, the groups are surprised that the UN is moving in this
direction. But should they be?
There are other UN system retreads seeking new posts. When Haile
Menkerios was named SRSG of the UN Mission in Sudan, he beat out two
competitors viewed as "non African" -- India's Atul Khare,
previously of the UN Mission in Timor Leste and Hilde Johnson, a top
UNICEF official who points to her childhood in Africa as a
what many view as a hat tip to rising
power India, Khare is being named to the number two Peacekeeping post
vacated when Edmond Mulet was made permanent in Haiti. So what will
Hilde Johnson get? She was schmoozing at Japan's End of Presidency
reception on April 30. Watch this site.
* * *
UN Council, Rice on Sudan and Congo, S. Africa Running for Seat, UN
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 26 -- Promoting its candidacy for a Security Council
seat in 2011-12, South Africa threw a reception at the UN Monday
night. The news, however, came from current Council members. U.S.
Ambassador Susan Rice was there, meeting and greeting including with
the Press. One of her answers, about the Council's Congo trip, she
said was off the record. Other answers will be reported,
diplomatically of course.
on the day Sudan's
Omar al Bashir declared electoral victory the UN had said
nothing at its noon briefing, rebuffing a shouted question from Inner
City Press on Sudan and from another journalist about the Balkans,
Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice if she thought the UN was
being too quiet.
as she would on Northern Congo, that she had spent the day immersed
in something else, presumably Iran. These proposed sanctions, it
seems clear, are the US Mission's and Administration's focus. But
what about the outbreak of fighting between the SPLM and northerners,
either tribes or Bashir's army?
Rice said, the "big enchilada," is really on the referendum
on South Sudan being independent. But if the process of these
election was not credible, why and how would that one be?
when Inner City Press told Ambassador Rice about reports of UN envoy
Ibrahim Gambari meeting earlier in the day with Omar al Bashir, she
smiled thinly. On the other hand, Sudan's Ambassador told Inner City
Press he had called Gambari directly, and Gambari had gushed about
the meeting, He said that in the pending UNMIS resolution, there is
an attempt to give UNMIS chief Haile Menkerios a role up in Darfur.
political coordinator, on the other hand, said the mixing of UNMIS
and UNAMID would give Gambari a role in the South, "even if it
breaks away." We'll see.
Congo, Inner City Press asked about the UN's strange failure to
commit to investigating the alleged 11 civilian deaths caused in the
re-taking of the airport in Northern Congo. When told that the
alleged perpetrators are the Congolese Army, with which the UN works,
Ambassador Rice said "good question." Inner City Press told
her she is more likely to get an answer. "Thank you," she
US's Susan Rice, Gambari and "big enchilada" not shown
chat, too. A reporter recounted that St. Lucia's Ambassador said Ms.
Rice is part Caribbean. Ambassador Rice nodded. "All you need to
know about me," she said, is I am half Jamaican and was
conceived in Nigeria. She laughed. "My grand mother's maiden
name was Daley [or Daly], as in Irish."
suggested she speak more with the press, contrasting her approach to
that of the French. She shrugged. I can't do it every week, she said,
adding that Americans are "not peacocks."
happens, will speak to the Security Council on Tuesday afternoon and
then, it is promised, with the Press. An African Ambassador,
requesting anonymity, told Inner City Press on Monday night that
Menkerios' old position with the Department of Political Affairs will
be filled by current Cyprus representative Taye-Brook Zerihoun. Then
who would take Cyprus -- Atul Khare? Watch this site.
requested by the South African mission, Inner City Press would be
remiss not to note that, with the African Union's endorsesment, South
Africa is virtually assured of re-gaining a Council seat in 2011-12.
When Inner City Press quipped that this fast return made the country
the "Japan of Africa," a South African representative reminded that
before what's now called the Dumisani Kumalo term, South Africa had not
been represented. So welcome back -- the fix is in.
* * *
Sudan Deaths, Bashir Victory Declaration, Silence at UN, Disdain
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, April 26 -- With Sudan's Omar al Bashir declaring victory in
Sudan amid deadly clashes and kidnapped
UN peacekeepers, in New York
the UN Security Council, which had been scheduled to meet about
Sudan, was silent Monday morning.
schedule provided for a meeting about UNMIS, the UN Mission in South
Sudan. Inner City Press was told that UNMIS chief Haile Menkerios
would be present and take questions. But at this key moment, in the
UN's basement, the Council sat empty.
in the UN's
three story North Lawn building, an Assistant Secretary General told
Inner City Press that Bashir's 68% of the vote made him look more
legitimate than "those countries where the leader claims
Is this why
the UN is implicitly blessing
the election? "This way we avoid violence," said the ASG.
And the UN gets to stay in the country. But at what cost to its
later, a South African diplomat told Inner City Press his country's
peacekeepers had been released. Just as Al Bashir said it would be:
once the results -- and his winning -- were announced. As they say in
legal Latin, res ipsa loquitur:
the things speaks for itself.
al Bashir declared victory, Inner City Press asked
the UN about
City Press: There are these reports of 50 civilians killed in South
Darfur that I am sure, I believe, the UN has probably seen. There
are also, it’s reported that Mr. [Djibril] Bassole was told by JEM
[Justice and Equality Movement] that they believe the Government is
about to begin another military assault in Darfur. What’s the UN
doing, just as an update? Has it gone to Jebel Marra? Is it trying
to investigate the death of civilians? And can you confirm JEM’s
Martin Nesirky: Well, it’s not for us to confirm JEM’s concerns,
of course. On the second part, UNAMID [African Union-United Nations
Hybrid Operation in Darfur] has also received an unconfirmed report,
but the mission has not received any reports that confirm signs of an
imminent attack by the Government, or indeed the presence of the JEM
in east and North Darfur. So, that’s the first bit, that we’ve
heard these unconfirmed reports. We cannot, we have not received any
reports that would confirm signs of an imminent attack.
as for the violence in South Darfur that you are referring to,
according to UNAMID, and you may wish to ask them for more details,
but from what I understand, this was an incident on 20 April, and it
involved inter-tribal violence, the details of which are a little
sketchy, I would say. But its result, from what we know, according
to UNAMID [is] 15 people killed, 24 injured. This also included
Sudan border guard police, who were, according to UNAMID, ambushed in
the course of this inter-tribal violence that I referred to. That’s
pretty much what I have for you there. As I said, it may well be
that UNAMID could provide you with more details.
Ibrahim Gambari was meeting one on one with al Bashir, who telling
promised to get the kidnapped UN peacekeepers from South Africa
released. Reporting by Inner City Press indicates that the kidnappers
are affiliated or aligned with Bashir's government. The UN has said
UN's Ban and Bashir, in previous handshake: repeated?
Inner City Press that Gambari would like Bassole to step down, so he
could take over the Doha portfolio as well. Gambari was pushed out of
his role in Iraq by UNAMI chief Ad Melkert. On Sudan he wants to
consolidate his position. In New York he had told Ban, I can help
with with GA President Ali Treki. He told Treki the same. Thus are
careers made and preserved in the UN. But what about Darfur? What to
make of the UN's and Council's silence?
In front of the empty Security Council Monday morning were
ambassadors of several developing countries, waiting for a meeting of
the Non-Aligned Movement next door. The NAM recently told UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon he has no jurisdiction over war crimes,
should not follow through on his promise to name a panel on Sri
Lanka. And Ban has not moved forward, reverting to meeting with the
Sri Lankan attorney general and hoping, like Sudan's scam elections,
that the issue fades away.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
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