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UN Tells ICP Great Lakes Envoy Robinson Based in Dublin, Like Prodi in Rome

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 28 -- The UN's envoy to the Great Lakes Mary Robinson will be based not in Africa but in Dublin, the UN on Tuesday answered Inner City Press' question from May 24.

Inner City Press was also first to ask why the Sahel envoy of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Romano Prodi, is allowed to be based in Rome, where he unsuccessfully ran for the Italian presidency while simultaneously an ostensibly independent UN official.

On Prodi, the UN on May 28 said only that its report, and that of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, are before the UN General Assembly.

There, and at the African Union in Addis Ababa, there are more and more questions about what Ban's UN is becoming: a dumping ground for former politicians, allowed as UN Under Secretaries General to work from home, until something better comes along?

It was complained to Inner City Press last week that while Robinson's office is supposedly in Nairobi, she is in fact based in Ireland. Inner City Press asked the question on Friday, May 24:

Inner City Press: I had asked Martin, before he went on the trip about Mr. Romano Prodi being based in Rome and the fact that ACABQ [Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions] has said that that may be a waste of money for the UN. So far, I havenít gotten a response yet, but I want to add to that one. Some, at least within the UN, want to know where Mary Robinson, who is obviously the Envoy to the Great Lakes, just to know factually, is she based in Dublin, Ireland, or is she based in Nairobi? And, if Dublin, Ireland, how would you address the same concerns that were raised about Mr. Prodi being based out of Rome?

Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey: I believe her office is located in Nairobi, and thatís where her UN staffers are, but we will check on that for you.

  At the next UN noon briefing on May 28, Del Buey acknowledged that Robinson is, in fact, based in Dublin. He excused this by saying she is paid only "When Actually Employed." So will she be disclosing her hours, and any extra costs to the UN from being based in Dublin? We will closely watch and report on both envoys' work. Will Prodi, with respect to Rome? Watch this site.

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