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As UN Hears Only One Side of Kenya Struggle, UK Claims Others to be Heard, UNDP's Uses

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

UNITED NATIONS, February 5 -- With violence continuing in Kenya in the wake of last year's disputed election, the UK on Tuesday at the UN distributed a draft Presidential Statement urging "dialogue, negotiation and compromise." Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador John Sawers to respond to criticism that the Security Council is hearing from only one side to the dispute, that of Mwai Kibaki. Amb. Sawers acknowledged that "there is a concern," and noted cryptically that "there are other mechanism... to hear, directly or indirectly, from the other parties involved." Video here, from Minute 7:28.

    The reference was apparently to the Council's so-called Arria formula, named for former Venezuelan Ambassador Diego Arria, by which speakers not formally representing a government holding power can address the Council in another room of the UN. George Clooney, for example, addressed the Council in a conference room in the basement, while more recently being barred from a Troop Contributing Countries meeting. For now, the Security Council through its president for February, Panama's Ricardo Arias, has said that Kenya's foreign minister will brief the Council's members. But who will come for Raila Odinga's ODM?

Kenya peace talks photo-op while violence rages outside

            Earlier on Tuesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters that "I have assigned several members of my staff to provide necessary assistance to Mr. Annan's team, and we have established a UNDP trust fund to support this." While Inner City Press felt constrained to limit its two question to issues of high officials' incomplete public financial disclosure -- so far, not a single UNDP official's disclosure has been put on line, and UNDP Associate Director Ad Melkert is on record opposing any such public disclosure -- the off-handed reference to UNDP as a mechanism for ad hoc UN funding needs more coverage. It emerged, for example, that to pay for Tony Blair's ten rooms in Jerusalem as the representative of the Quartet, a UNDP trust fund was used. No bids were taken, nor even cost comparison's made. Inner City Press has learned that the UNDP trust fund has been paying Blair costs at far higher rates than could be supported under any UN program. Will it be the same in Kenya? Let the promised transparency begin.

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These reports are 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

  Because a number of Inner City Press' UN sources go out of their way to express commitment to serving the poor, and while it should be unnecessary, Inner City Press is compelled to conclude this installment in a necessarily-ongoing series by saluting the stated goals of the UN agencies and many of their staff. Keep those cards, letters and emails coming, and phone calls too, we apologize for any phone tag, but please continue trying, and keep the information flowing.

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

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

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