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Nigeria Rejects UN Involvement in Delta, Greece Likes Ban's No Comment, NY Bricks Are Thrown

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, December 10 -- What country wants to be the subject of the UN's focus? Not Nigeria. Over plates of spicy fish, tubers and spinach, Permanent Representative Joy Ogwu answered questions on Wednesday afternoon, in the Nigerian missions two-story penthouse banquet hall across from the UN. Inner City Press asked what engagement if any Nigeria wants from the UN about the Niger Delta. None, Ms. Ogwu said. We don't need the UN. We are fully in control of our territory.

  But what about the invitation of Ibrahim Gambari, UN Under-Secretary General, to help mediate the conflict?  He was invited not as any representative of the UN, but as a former Nigerian diplomat, Ms. Owgu said.

  But at the time, the UN took some credit for the invitation that Nigeria made. [Just as the UN Development Program brags of its involvement, with multinational oil companies, in the Niger Delta; we note without yet commenting that UNDP rents the fourth floor of Nigeria House in New York.]

  It seems there are two competing interests here: the UN Secretariat's interest in being seen as relevant, and a country like Nigeria's interest in being seen as sovereign and not needing UN help. Usually these conflicts are managed without any difference becoming public.

Ms. Ogwu and Mr. Gambari, sovereignty preserved

  Take, for example, the Secretariat's "no comment" on the shooting and riots in Greece, on which we inquired and reported yesterday. Today the argument is made that it is not only Greece, but Europe and some other regions on which the UN does not comment. Africa, we're told, is different, because the problems are more constant. But Nigeria, for example, does not want UN involvement. Perhaps no one does, except in cases of terrorist attacks -- in which now, for example, India is asking the Security Council to put Jamaat ud Dawa on its terror sanctions list. So which country's desires are disregarded, and on what basis?

   We'll end, rather than with more analysis, with fact: Inner City Press is informed that Wednesday at 5 a.m., the Greek consulate in New York had a brick thrown through the window, and graffiti on the wall, "Alex was here," the name of the boy shot dead Saturday in Athens. Later on Wednesday, protesters assembled, reportedly mostly not Greek.  Inner City Press asked, might they be from FYROM?

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City 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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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

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