Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Follow us on TWITTER

Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click os to Khmer courtn cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

With UN Under Fire for Inaction on Myanmar, Japan is Offered Good Offices Post, Sources Say, Rejects It So Far

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 3 -- Facing questions of what the UN has accomplished on Myanmar through its “Good Offices” mandate, since Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar has filled the post, the Good Offices are being offered to a variety of Japanese officials, sources tell Inner City Press.

  When Japanese Ambassador Yukio Takasu left, he was reportedly offered the Myanmar “Good Offices” post.” Takasu turned it down; Japanese mission sources, while fully believing that Takusa would be offered a senior UN post, say that he is going to retire.

  Others say that the UN Myanmar post, which Ibrahim Gambari vacated when he went to UNAMID in Darfur, is now being offered to two other Japanese diplomats, including the highest placed one in the UN system. With Ban Ki-moon in Japan this week, watch this site.

This comes as questions have built up, without being answered, about the UN's “Good Offices” on Myanmar mandate, particularly since Nambiar took over from Ibrahim Gambari. Inner City Press has repeated asked for information about the work and accomplishments in any. On June 22, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: on Myanmar, there’s a lot to be said, but there’s a recent report, Bloomberg and Jane’s Intelligence Review, which is respected in the field, giving more credence to Myanmar developing nuclear weapons. A whistleblower, to coin the phrase, has left the country and has produced photographs of a facility near the new capital. Does the UN have any, either the good offices role? What is the UN’s knowledge of that, given that the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] is unable to inspect? And two, what really has been accomplished through this good offices role in the past six months? We have heard very little, and that may be part of Ms. Ahlenius’ critique.

UN's Ban, Gambari and Nambiar: Japanese official or Mr. Choi not shown

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: First, the Secretary-General has been outspoken about what is going on in Myanmar, first on the elections, the need for the elections to be transparent and inclusive, and for all the political actors to be able to take part if they so wish. He’s also been very outspoken on the need for the release from house arrest of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Also, on the first part of your question, this is something, whether allowed into the country to inspect or not, the International Atomic Energy Agency would be keeping an eye on, and let’s see what the agency has to say about that. [He later added that the IAEA had said: “The IAEA has seen the media reports and continues its analysis of information on Myanmar, as it does with information on other countries.”]

The next day, July 23, Inner City Press followed up, as "one reporter" --

Inner City Press: Yesterday, during the response by Ms. [Angela] Kane and [Catherine] Pollard, they declined to say, to respond to this part of the [Inga-Britt] Ahlenius memo that said — it is only one country among many but it was the first one listed, Myanmar — and the senior UN official who spoke later, for some reason, declined also to discuss it. I guess I want to ask you, what have been the accomplishments of the good offices mandate since Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari let it go, and another official took it over. What has been done? There has been an ASEAN [Association of South-East Asian Nations] meeting, various countries have spoken about the election. Has the UN made any comment? What’s the UN doing on Myanmar?

Spokesperson Nesirky: We’ve made comments in answer to you and to others, and I said just to you the other day that there are important elements here; the need for transparent and inclusive elections, that’s absolutely critical. There is also the need for political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, to be released unconditionally and quickly. And we continue to work, as I also said to you before; the good offices [team] is not one individual, if you like, it’s people working behind the scenes. Not everything that happens is in the public eye.

Well, that is true. At the same time that Takasu left, Japan's representative on the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions Misako Kaji also left, despite her term running through December 2010. While Japan quickly nominated Akira Sugiyama to replace her, this “clean sweep” of Japanese at the UN has caught the eye of some. Watch this site.

Footnotes: An earlier good one about the Good Offices has Cote d'Ivoire SRSG Choi returning to New York to take on the part time Myanmar good offices role, and to manage Ban's campaign for a second term. But Choi has said he'll remain in Cote d'Ivoire until there is an election....

   On August 2, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky who is in charge of the UN, with Mr. Ban traveling in Japan and DSG Asha Rose Migiro on annual leave. While Nesirky insisted that Mr. Ban is always in charge, Inner City Press asked if anyone had formally be made officer in charge. Even the following day on August 3, no answer was given. Watch this site.

* * *

Defending Ban, UN Official Says No FOIA Needed, Myanmar & Sudan No Comment

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 22 -- Ban Ki-moon's desire for a second term as UN Secretary General was on display on Thursday, when two separate press conferences were held to rebut the critique of outgoing Under Secretary General for Investigations Inga Britt Ahlenius.

At noon, USG Angela Kane and her human resources Assistant SG Catherine Pollard provided a dense, some say misleading defense of Ban's reaching down to determine Ahlenius' choice of a deputy.

  Ms. Kane says it would be improper, however, for her as USG for Management to answer Inner City Press' request for Team Ban's response to Ahlenius' statement that Ban has failed on such issues as Myanmar and Sudan.
  Inner City Press asked who would take questions on Myanmar and Sudan, and Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said you may have an opportunity shortly.

From 5 to 6 pm that afternoon, a self described “senior UN official,” whom we'll refer to as SUNO or as “he,” while it may have been a woman, took questions off camera from the Press.

When Inner City Press asked for example about Ban, despite the centrality of gender balance to his defense, having named of High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing consisting of 19 people, all men, until one was replaced by Minister Lagarde of France, the Senior UN Official said the criticism by the Presswas “unfair,” since a woman was added to the 19 member Group in the end. A Ban advisor -- to play by the rules, we cannot say whether the same or a different one -- similarly this week blamed the media.

  Inner City Press began by asking for a defense of what Ahlenius and others call Ban's failure on Myanmar and Sudan. The Senior UN Official deflected this by saying that on some issues you move favor and some slow.

  But in South Sudan there is the deadline of a planned referendum. The Official countered that he only wanted to talk about Ms. Ahlenius' critique -- which, of course, included Myanmar and Sudan, as well as Congo and Cyprus, but who's counting?

So Inner City Press asked about the division of powers question at the heart of Ahlenius' critique, that under the rules she should had the independence, as UNDP does, to appoint her own D-2 level officials. The UN Official responded first that in practice, “systematically,” Helen Clark of UNDP checks on such appointments with Ban.

But Clark doesn't have to, and Clark is also not in charge of investigating Ban Ki-moon and the Secretariat. The founding documents of OIOS say that it should have the same hiring independence as UNDP.

The Official disagreed, surreally. It can't be the same, he said, “mutatis mutandi... you should know... what applies to [you] does not apply to [another journalist]... you have a beard.” Then the Official turned to take other questions.

UN's Ban and Ahlenius at farewell, per UN, 50 page memo not shown

After the Official bragged about Ban's UN's transparency, Inner City Press asked why the Compacts Ban signs with his officials -- now to their credit including the heads of peacekeeping missions -- are only placed on the UN's intranet, and not for the public, or “we the peoples,” and why the UN under Ban stopped moving toward, or even talking about, a Freedom of Information Act.

On a FOIA, the Senior UN Official replied, “ask the member states, let them legislate, then we'll do it.” He pauses. “If the member states insist, our way of decision making would have to be modified” for “this kind of perfect transparency.” So, no UN FOIA. So much for transparency. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -