Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media -e.g. Somalia, Nepal, Ghana, Azerbaijan, The Gambia  For further info, click here to contact us         .

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

On Western Sahara, Rifts about Realism and Rights, France's Overkill, Pristina Question Unanswered

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

UNITED NATIONS, April 29 -- The Security Council's resolution on Western Sahara, which was supposed to be voted on by April 29, was not. At issue were references to human rights and realism. The first, France and Morocco did not want in the text. The second, they insisted on.  Opposition to realism -- a code word for giving up on holding a binding referendum with independence as an option -- was led on the Council by South Africa, with Panama and Costa Rica in support, on the principle of international law.

   By late Tuesday, Polisario Front representative Khadad Mhamed said that realism had been solved. The resolution will now now tie the realism only to the negotiation process, not to the outcome. But France had stood firm on keeping human rights out of the resolution, he said. While that might change by Wednesday afternoon, to which the vote had been re-scheduled, it appears that South Africa would vote for the resolution either way, another example, one wag remarked, of realism.

            No one spoke on-camera on these matters. Rather, in whispers to the side of the Council stakeout, the Polisario representatives offered negative reviews of French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert being considered to head UN Peacekeeping. Other more informed sources said that France has put forward names beyond Ripert and Jean Arnault, so much do they want to ensure keeping the peacekeeping post.

            Little has been heard about the Peacekeeping Department's investigation of its forces' grafitti on ancient cave paintings in Western Sahara - click here for that.

Boutros with MINURSO in 1994: , sand blast from the past, Plus ca change

   On the Department's long-promised investigation of its role in the violent re-taking of the Mitrovica courthouse in Northern Kosovo on March 17, at Tuesday's noon briefing asked this and two other questions, none of which had been answered, twelve hours later. From the transcript:

Question:  Is there any update on the UN's investigation of the events in northern Kosovo of 17 March?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Nothing beyond.  No.  I know you asked that to Mr. Guehenno the other day, so I have nothing beyond that.

Question:  Can you or DPKO confirm that a team of three DPKO and one Ugandan lawyer, Francis Ssekandi, flew into Pristina on Saturday to conduct the investigation?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Sure, we can ask.

Question:  Also, there's a report of a petition given to the UN's Human Rights Office in Kathmandu concerning either protests in Nepal or about Tibet.  Are you aware of that?  And what's the UN going to do about it?

Deputy Spokesperson:  I'm not aware of the petition, but we can look into that for you as well.

Question:  About the CEB meeting, in your readout on it, were any kind of UN reform or issues that have been previously discussed like the availability of audits of funds and programs to Member States or whistle-blower protection?  Was there any follow-up on the previous CEB meeting on those topics?

Deputy Spokesperson:  Usually the CEB is a gathering that looks at the various issues that are priority issues for the system as a whole, so there should be discussion on a number of subjects.  This time, as you know, there was a large focus on the global food crisis.  So that's all I can tell you for now.

            Well, we'll be waiting.

Footnote: Minor as it seems, especially in this time of food price riots, there was grumbling Tuesday about the South African mission holding its end-of-Presidency reception in the middle of the day. "Maybe they want to save money," one savvy correspondent opined. Ambassador Kumalo then promises a wrap-up press conference. Well see.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

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

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

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

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

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -