Fowler's Niger Companion Guay Active in Mining,
UN Stonewalls on Their Mission
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
December 18 -- With the UN still
refusing to describe what its putative envoy to Niger Robert
Fowler was doing
last Saturday visiting a Canadian-owned gold mine with Canadian
Louis Guay and what's described as a UN Development Program driver
disappeared, it has emerged that Guay has been in and out of commercial
During his diplomatic
career, Guay took two "leaves
of absence" and remained in-country following diplomatic assignments
Canada's Dept of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, one in
Cameroon for a
Montreal-based construction company called Sofati, and the other in the
Republic with a Vancouver-based gold mining company seemingly called
Dome. See, http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb6634/is_/ai_n26492327 and
Republic gold project was signed between that Government and Placer
July 2001. Guay's assignment with Placer Dome from 1996-1999 was, in
of his own biography to "pursue the privatization of a major gold
deposit" at the mine called Pueblo Viejo. This company, Placer
has been harshly criticized by both environmental groups (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcopper_Mining_Disaster and
to mount about what Fowler and Guay were doing when they were
were in a region of Niger not know for Tuareg. They did not have UN
with them, not any Nigerois protocol officer. In fact, a Niger
official has been
quoted that Fowler was on "personal business."
Niger Ministry of Mining, signing, Fowler /
Guay mystery still unsolved
at the UN,
Inner City Press asked for simple answers, without satisfaction --
Inner City Press: Mr. Fowler,
the United Nations official --
can you state whether he was on United Nations business and whether his
documents were approved here? And
whether the man travelling with him was also a United Nations staffer
actually employed” person? And the last
thing: It was reported that he was
visiting Canadian-owned mines in Southern Niger. What
could be the reason for that? Is that the
Deputy Spokesperson Okabe: I
know you have a lot of questions, but, for
the moment, all I can tell you is that the Niger authorities are
the matter and we appreciate their efforts and we are working with them. I can confirm to you that Mr. Fowler, as
Envoy for Niger, was on official mission.
Question: Is there anything
unusual about that
visit? The way it was arranged or the
way it was scheduled?
Spokesperson: At this point,
we’ve told you everything that
Question: I was wondering --
because he’s been missing
for what, five days now -- can you describe what kind of communication
been between the Secretary-General and the Government or other entities
Spokesperson: Well, as you
recall, the Secretary-General did
express his great concern and he is doing his best to obviously make
is a positive outcome to this situation.
Question: Has he been speaking
to them directly.
Spokesperson: Let me get you the
phone log. Obviously he has been talking
to anybody who
can help in this situation.
Inner City Press: I’d just like
one follow-up. The Voice of
America has quoted Niger
Government officials that Fowler was on private business. That’s why I’m asking you.
Spokesperson: He was on official
Inner City Press: Can we have a
description of what he was
doing? Is that possible?
Spokesperson: At this
moment, given the security
implications of this situation, I think we will leave it at that for
questions about the purpose of the trip mounting, it is not clear that
stonewalling protects Fowler, and ultimately even itself.
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