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March 1, 2011: Libya

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Amid Opposition to Leaked UN Plan for Libya, UN Refuses to Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 29 -- After Inner City Press obtained and published the UN's plan for Libya, complete with 200 military observers and the expectation of NATO maintaining a role, the plan's author Ian Martin refused to answer questions, telling Inner City Press that "it's an internal document."

  Now that Inner City Press' publication of the leaked report has spread, from Geneva to Doha to Istanbul to as far as The Australian, Inner City Press has asked the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a series of questions:

"On the Martin report, published on Friday, can you first provide UN description of what the document represents (esp in light of a statement by OSSG last week that is it "not a UN document") and then state the basis for saying NATO has a continuing role, for saying that some deployments can be made without a specific mandate and more generally, on whose behalf and at whose behest this planning was done, if and when the plan was even going to be shown to member states, if so, which member states and when?"

  Several member states' lead ambassadors at the UN have asked Inner City Press about the report, saying they've sent it to their capitals for analysis. At a Security Council lunch with Ban Ki-moon on August 26, Ban said he would brief the Council about it in the coming week (just as Martin has promised to belatedly give a press briefing).

  But even once the Secretariat moves to legitimate the plans by making some of them a public request to the Security Council, the question remains: on whose behalf, and for whose benefit, did the UN Secretariat engage in this planning?

  Beyond the ongoing split in the UN Security Council between the Westerners -- European four plus US and its allies -- and Russia and China, with IBSA (India, Brazil and South Africa) in the middle: there have been demonstrations in Libya against any international peacekeeping force.

  Inner City Press' sources describe a fight inside Ban Ki-moon team as to which official would be sent to Tripoli, Martin or Al Khatib? It's said that Martin is winning, and the Al Khatib may simply withdraw.

 Like Martin, Al Khatib jumped the gun and went to Benghazi with an already made plan: a five person structure, two from the rebels, two from Gaddafi, one from neither. It was rejected.

Now Martin has developed a detailed plan, apparently without a mandate. Watch this site.

Ban & Ian Martin - nouveau L. Paul Bremer?

From the UN's transcript of its August 26 noon briefing (the UN canceled its August 29 briefing)

Inner City Press: ...the [Ian] Martin report on Libya. It’s a 10-page document, and among other things, there is two things I want to ask you about... there is a statement, apparently it’s a UN statement saying that NATO’s role will continue to have responsibility after the fall of the [Muammar al-]Qadhafi Government, and saying that for this UN planning, including for 200 military observers, that no further mandate is needed from the Security Council. I wanted to know, what is the Secretary-General’s position on this, on those two statements?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq: As far as that goes, I wouldn’t comment on the text of this document, which was an internal document for the Secretary-General’s information and for the information of his advisers. The Secretary-General will be talking to regional organizations at 3 p.m. this afternoon to coordinate planning, and he will talk to the press after that.

Inner City Press: how would you characterize this pretty detailed planning with the idea that Mr. Martin and Mr. al-Khatib went out to hear what the NTC [National Transitional Council] wanted or that on the video conference today he is going to hear? It seems to be a pretty detailed plan. Is this a preliminary plan? What adjective would you put on it, because it looks inconsistent with this outreach after the fact?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: No, not at all. The sort of efforts that we have been doing and the sort of efforts that Ian Martin was in place here at the United Nations to do is to plan for a possible transition down the line. We are now at the stage where we need to talk with our various partners about that. But it helps to have concrete ideas about the way forward. And those are what, for example, Ian Martin and Abdel-Elah al-Khatib were talking with people in Doha. This is what the Deputy Secretary-General has been talking with people in Addis Ababa earlier today, and this is what the Secretary-General will discuss with the regional groups this afternoon.

  But Haq and Ban Ki-moon refused to take Press questions about the exclusively published report on the afternoon of August 26. Asked more directly, Ian Martin refused to answer questions, telling Inner City Press that "it's an internal document." The UN canceled its regular noon briefing on August 29.

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

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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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