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UN's Eide Spoke with Taliban, then Holbrooke, But UN Claims No Instructions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 22 -- The UN distanced itself Monday from its former envoy Kai Eide's talks with the Taliban. "At no time was Kai Eide instructed to speak to the Taliban," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky read out, in response to a question from Inner City Press. Video here, from Minute 24.

Given that US envoy Richard Holbrooke has said that Kai Eide told the US about his talks with the Taliban, it is hard to believe that Kai Eide did not simultaneously or before tell UN Headquarters about his talks. So for the UN spokesman to carefully said that Eide was never "instructed to speak to the Taliban" misses the point, intentionally.

If Eide told UN Headquarters and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon about his talks with the Taliban, and they and he were allowed to continue, that was consent. Why not own up to it?

UN's Ban and Eide (with Kouchner), talks with Taliban not shown

Back on March 18, Inner City Press asked the head of UN Peacekeeping, Alain Leroy, about Hamid Karzai's anger at Pakistan for targeting "moderate" Taliban who could be spoken with. "I don't have to comment," Leroy responded. Video here, from Minute 5:29.

Nesirky pointedly refused at Monday's noon briefing to answer a related questions about the UN in Afghanistan, triggered by a quote from the UN spokesperson in Kabul Susan Manuel that in Kandahar, there "has been a temporary reduction" of UN staff. “We’re trying to determine the profile of the staff, or who needs to be there doing what.”

  The UN and Nesirky often deflect questions by saying that the UN does not speak or wish to see stories about the movements of its staff or other "security" matters. But here, the UN has spoken openly about pulling staff out of the way of an impending military engagement. Watch this site.

UN Footnote: Eide's former deputy and nemesis Peter Galbraith has scoffed at Eide's claims. The UN, at least on background, continues to scoff at him, most recently in connection with a briefing about the upcoming elections in Sudan. Most people understand elections can't be perfect, one senior UN official told Inner City Press. "Except Peter Galbraith." The status of Galbraith's claim of retaliation by the UN is not known. 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

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