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Ban's Office Admits UN Staffer Traveled to Bahrain, with Roed Larsen, Who Refuses to Comment, Calling It Personal Trip

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 6 -- With the ruling family of Bahrain now sentencing demonstrators to death, the UN in New York is engaged in double-talk at best about it engagement with the government.

  On May 6, Inner City Press asked part time UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen if he took a UN staff person with him on his trip in April to Bahrain. “I do not wish to comment on that,” Roed-Larsen said.

Moments later Inner City Press ask UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq to confirm or deny that UN staff member Fabrice Aidan accompanied Roed-Larsen on a trip that Haq on April 18 said was not “in any UN capacity.”

Inner City Press had asked this same question on April 29, in connection with publishing a piece about Roed-Larsen “non-UN UN” trip to Bahrain, from which as Inner City Press exclusively reported a previously proposed UN envoy Oscar Fernandez Taranco was blocked, by a call from Saudi Arabia to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

just a yes or no — whether in fact a staff, a UN staffer that works with Mr. Roed-Larsen on resolution 1559 (2004) accompanied him, and if so, if he used a laissez passer and if in fact it was characterized in Bahrain as a UN trip?”

On April 29, Haq's boss Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press, “I do not know the answer to that. So if I have any answer, I’d be happy to give it to you, okay?”

  Despite this statement that Inner City Press would be given any answer to this simple question, nothing was provided until on May 6 Haq when questioned again said that yes, Fabrice Aidan did travel to Bahrain.

"UN Envoy" Larsen and Bahrain deputy premier Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa Al-Khalifa

  Inner City Press asked, to make sure, that it was at the same time as Larsen. Yes. How then was this not a UN trip? In fact, it was characterized that way, at a time when it benefits the Bahrain royal family to claim to be on the inside with UN officials.

  When Haq was asked by Inner City Press if the UN Secretariat had told Roed-Larsen to make sure this was not construed as a UN trip, Haq would not comment.

  This UN allows Roed-Larsen to work part time for the UN, on Resolution 1559, and part time (but for a high salary) as the head of the International Peace Institute.

 Well placed sources, of the facts of Fabrice Aidan's travel belated confirmed by the UN, say that Larsen goes to places like Bahrain and allowed the ruling families to portray this as UN support, and received support to IPI, which raises his salary.

 We'd like a response to this, but Roed-Larsen “would't like to comment on that.” Watch this site.

On Syria, Larsen told the Press that two countries disagreed whether it is a threat to international peace and security. When this was conveyed to Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari, Ja'afari said “you know we don't trust him.” Syria is not the only one.

* * *

As Alsaidi of Yemen Retires to IPI, Roed-Larsen Bahrain Trip's UN Link?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 -- When Abdullah M. Alsaidi announced earlier this year he was resigning as Yemen's Ambassador at the UN, where he had represented President Ali Abdullah Saleh since 2002, it was described as an act of principle, akin to Ibrahim Dabbashi and Shalgam resigning as Libyan diplomats in protest of Gaddafi's crackdown.

But sources well placed on Yemen inform Inner City Press that before his loud “resignation,” Alsaidi was informed by letter that it was time for him to retire. For some time, Alsaidi had been seeking a job with the UN. If he simply retired, he would have to return to Yemen. So he resigned.

Soon thereafter he was hired not by the UN but by the International Peace Institute across the street, which announced on its website that

Ambassador Alsaidi was the Permanent Representative of Yemen to the United Nations from 2002 until his resignation last week in response to the killing of dozens of demonstrators by pro-government forces in Sanaa... Terje Roed-Larsen, IPI's President, welcomed Ambassador Alsaidi, saying, 'His considerable experience both as a high-level diplomat and as an academic will be a strong asset for IPI in helping the UN and its partners better understand ongoing developments in the Middle East.'”

Some find it particularly appropriate that Alsaidi lands at IPI under Roed-Larsen, who is viewed as an ally of Saudi Arabia, among others.

Recently Roed-Larsen traveled to Bahrain. While the UN has said publicly that Roed-Larsen traveled in his “personal capacity” and not in any connection with his part time post as Under Secretary General and representative on Security Council Resolution 1559, Inner City Press has been told some of the backstory.

Sources say Roed-Larsen asked to travel to Bahrain in a UN capacity, but that the UN said no. He then traveled there, taking one of the UN staffers from his Resolution 1559 post who, sources says, traveled with a UN Laissez Passer. While in Bahrain, Roed-Larsen presented himself as a UN official.

How the UN is served by allowing a person to simultaneously be an Under Secretary General and run a think tank some view as partisan directly across from the UN, and to blur the roles, remains a mystery.

  At the UN noon briefing of April 29, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky to confirm or deny that Roed-Larsen took to Bahrain with him a UN staff member using a UN Laissez Passer. Nesirky said he didn't know, and that if he find out he will say. Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 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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