Farewell to Takasu Amid Echoes of OIOS, of Human
Right to Water and Sushi
July 28 -- Japan's Yukio Takasu held a farewell to New York
and the UN on Tuesday night at his country's East Side townhouse.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was there -- expressing surprise at
reports that South Africa was promised a senior post at the Office of
Internal Oversight Services in change for not blocking the top spot
going to a Canadian - as well as his Under Secretaries General Lynn
Pascoe, Kiyotaka Akasaka and Angela Kane.
Mr. Ban and
his well liked bride left, much talk turned to the controversy
stirred by the damning End of Assignment Report of outgoing OIOS
chief Inga Britt Ahlenius. While usually at the UN, the press asks
Ambassadors for information and opinion, this time is was the
asked Inner City Press, What do you think this means for
Ban getting or not getting a second term? Major Permanent
Representatives had read the critical Press coverage. “This is not
good,” they said. “But will Obama have the decisiveness to act?”
asked and told the media as if by rote that the US supports Ban.
Others in the Obama Administration are not saying the same thing.
worked the crowd. Angela Kane of Ban's Department of Management bowed,
Japanese style, with an outgoing
members of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary
Questions from, where else, Japan.
Due to ACABQ's
anonymity, we will not name her but wish her well. As the UN's envoy
to Darfur said earlier at the stakeout, ACABQ recently visited El
Fasher. She noted of Inner City Press, your coverage of ACABQ is always
fair. Hey, it's the only accountability mechanism in the UN, along with
Akasaka of Ban's Department of Public Information was
in his element, offering food recommendations and this new media
news, that the UN is agreeing to a refer in their forthcoming
guidelines to a willingness to accredit bloggers -- and not only
“journalists who write blogs” -- although, strangely, confined to
a footnote. We'll see.
focus, if often strayed from, was on Takasu-san.
Inner City Press'
last on camera question to him concerned his changes to Security
Council procedures and “working methods” -- he answered that
transparency to non Council members is the goal, and noted that the
informal meetings on Sri Lanka, for example, were an innovation.
Ambassador was there, glad handing U.S. Susan Rice, holding forth on
his gig for Palestinian rights. Neither Sudan's gastronome Permanent
Representative, nor his underfed charge d'affaires, were present,
despite round after round of sushi and salmon sandwiches, glasses of
wine as well as green tea.
and collarless Ambassador told Inner City Press about the upcoming
vote on the human right to water, which he said the U.S. has been
Yukio Takasu and UN's Ban: farewell, farewell? OIOS not shown
food,” reviewed Susan Rice, who appeared along with her Deputy
Rosemary DiCarlo. Belgium, Palau, Austria, Jamaica, Luxembourg and
more sent Permanent Representatives. India's always well informed
Perm Rep had clearly read his WikiLeaks, particularly about the
Polish premonition of the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul.
the past two
days, Inner City Press as asked the UN about parts of the WikiLeak --
Pakistani “retired” General Hamid Gul's involvement in a plot to
kidnap UN staff, UNAMA's Jalalabad meeting with American armed forces
-- without getting any substantive response.
the night wound
down, Takasu approached Inner City Press. You did not come through
the receiving line, he chided. Inner City Press shook his hand now,
and asked for one last time why Japan had reversed itself at the last
minute on giving helicopters to South Sudan.
Sudan requires the breaking down of equipment, and it can get
damaged. The radar is not sufficient. Takasu if nothing else was
always detailed in his answers to the press. Clearly, he will be
* * *
UN's Gambari Discloses Gration in Alaska, Opposes UNICEF,
July 27 -- The mystery of why US envoy to Sudan Scott
Gration did not attend the UN convened summit in Darfur on July 5 was
finally resolved on July 27. Previously, Inner City Press asked the
US Mission to the UN why Gration did not attend, which was viewed in
Sudan as a snub of the process, such as it is, led by Ibrahim
US Mission said
that only Gration's spokeswoman and office could answer. But
Gration's spokesperson Marie Nelson declined to return a series of
detailed phone messages. The US Mission reiterated that only she
so -- on July
27, Inner City Press asked Gambari himself, and Gambari proudly said
that “General” Gration had served in Alaska, and wanted to attend
a Fourth of July parade in the state. There -- was it so difficult? US
Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice indicated that even she didn't
know the reason. What was that, about the Obama administration's
Sudan policy being clear and united?
criticized UNICEF for reaching a child soldiers deal with the Justice
and Equality Movement rebels in Darfur, saying that since they say
they have no child soldiers, why reach a deal with them? The focus,
Gambari said, should be on pressuring JEM to return to the Doha
senior anti child soldier official acknowledged to Inner City Press
that more should have been done in advance of the deal's announcement
to prepare the ground. With the government of Sudan? No -- with the
UN's mission in Darfur, UNAMID. We'll have more on this, from UNICEF.
Gambari on July 27, response on Al Sissi and
genocide indictment not shown
also asked Gambari about the propriety of using a paid UN staff
member, Al Tijani Al Sissi Ateem, to lead a “rebel” ground, the
Liberation and Justice movement. Gambari said we wouldn't comment on
that, but that even a deal with LJM wouldn't bring peace to Darfur.
Video of all
he tried to
walk away from the microphone, Inner City Press asked about “the
genocide indictment” against Omar al Bashir. We can continue
informally, Gambari said. And to his credit he remained by the
stakeout, and told Inner City Press that the Security Council may go
to Darfur in October. We hope to be there. Watch this site.
* * *
As US Gration Says Genocide Charge Makes His Job Harder,
Rice Insists Policy is Clear and United: Or Is It AWOL?
July 27 -- Days after Sudan's Omar Al Bashir was indicted
for genocide by the International Criminal Court, UN envoy to Sudan
Scott Gration said that the indictment “makes my job harder.”
This not surprisingly gave rise to outrage among human rights
advocates. Tuesday at
the UN, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice if Gration's
in the Obama administration's view. Video here,
from Minute 2:49.
responded,“No, the United States is very clear and united behind
President Obama's policy towards Sudan.” Activists, on the other
hand, say that the Obama Administration's policy on Sudan
is drifting, or AWOL
Leave) as one campaign puts it.
City Press: Some say that the administration, sort of, that you have
and Scott Gration has another message. He was quoted recently as
saying that the indictment for genocide of President Bashir makes his
job more difficult. So I guess what I'm wondering is, is there
something called Project AWOL that says the administration has sort
of lost its way on Sudan policy? What do you make of that criticism
and do you think that-is the administration moving with one voice to
put pressure on President Bashir both on Darfur and on South Sudan
having the referendum, or are there mixed messages, as some say?
No, the United States is very clear and united behind President
Obama's policy towards Sudan, which has multiple components as it was
outlined by Secretary Clinton and I and others and General Gration in
October. We are placing very strong emphasis on full and urgent
implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement as the referendum
approaches and we attach great urgency to resolving the many issues
that remain unresolved. At the same time, we are gravely concerned by
the deteriorating security situation in Darfur, the need for
accountability for justice for ending the violence and ensuring full
protection of civilians. And so, the situation in Sudan is complex,
there are multiple imperatives, and we're united in our efforts to
meet those imperatives.
Susan Rice on July 27, Gration, AWOL
City Press: Does the genocide indictment make your job more difficult,
follow up. Is that actually what he said?
I'm not in a position to say precisely what others have said.
Suffice it to say that the United States stands firmly behind justice
and accountability for war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity
in Darfur and elsewhere.
also raised about the U.S. position on accountability for war crimes
when Ambassador Rice issued a statement largely lauding Sri Lanka's
Rajapaksa government's own panel on “Lessons Learnt,” which was
meant to forestall a advisory UN Panel of Experts on Accountability
in Sri Lanka.
envoy to Darfur
Ibrahim Gambari, it was said, would speak to the Press after the
Council's consultations. At the UN's noon briefing on Tuesday, Inner
City Press asked a question about Darfur, to which spokesman Martin
Nesirky said, you can ask Ibrahim Gambari. But Gambari left and did
not do the stakeout. Later it was announced he would appear at 4:30.
Questions about Scott "Alaska" Gration will be asked. Watch this site.
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
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
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
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at]