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Amid Kyrgyz & Uzbek Bloodbath, UN Gave No New Money, Just Along for Ride

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 -- In Kyrgyzstan over 100 people have been killed in the southern region of Osh in what's being described as ethnic violence. 75,000 Uzbeks have fled Kyrgyzstan, making it a cross border threat to international peace and security.

  Central Asia is fraught with water wars and border closings, problems that as Inner City Press has documented, the new United Nations "preventive diplomacy" center in Turkmenistan has done very little to address.

  When interim president (and former UN staffer) Roza Otunbayeva asked Russian President Dmitri Medvedev for military help, he said there was no legal basis to intervene in this "internal matter." Russia took this position as tens of thousands of civilians were killed in Sri Lanka, so what's a hundred Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan?

  Medvedev referred Otunbayeva's request to the Russia dominated regional group Collective Security Treaty Organization, made up of former Soviet republics including Uzbekistan and Belarus, where overthrown President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, is in exile.

Some say that it is Bakiyev, his family and supporters who have stirred up ethnic strife in order to return to power, or to create a diversion from attempts to prosecute Bakiyev for corruption and for killings by security forces during his tenure. There had been a request for UN help with an investigation of and tribunal on Bakiyev, but then no follow through.

Miroslav Jenca of the UN's Regional Center for Preventative Diplomacy announced loudly that the UN would give $12 million for elections in Kyrgyzstan. But when Inner City Press inquired it was told by the UN that

"Further to your Q&A with Martin earlier this week on UNDP/Kyrgyzstan... the $12 million refers to projects already being or to be implemented in the immediate period leading up to elections in order to help address the constitutional crisis facing the country (i.e. constitutional referendum and elections) and to support the country’s most vulnerable groups that are directly affected by the situation - the kind of groups being helped include rural youth, students, women, and unemployed in all provinces of the country."

So it was no new money at all.

UN's Ban and Speaker of Kyrgyz Parliament on violence against women, Uzbeks not shown

 Now on June 13, the UN puts out a statement that

"The Secretary-General said the United Nations was urgently assessing humanitarian aid needs. The Secretary-General and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office agreed their respective special envoys and that of the European Union would coordinate their response to the crisis. The three envoys are either ready in Bishkek or on their way."

So is Jan Kubis there or not? Jenca? And who is talking to Bakiyev? Watch this site.

Footnote: Uzbekistan's Ambassador to the UN, meanwhile, has been most focused on his country's water war with Tajikistan. He recently called Inner City Press aside about a Tajik water event at which, he said, the Tajik government cravenly paid all travel and hotel expenses. We have other questions pending about Uzbekistan, including with UNICEF. Stay tuned.

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UN's Ban Met Otunbayeva Twice Before Bakiyev Was Toppled, Johnny Appleseed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 15 -- Days after the UN refused to answer if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Rosa Otunbayeva before she replaced President Bakiyev as ruler of Kyrgyzstan, then referred only to a meeting by Ban's political advisor Lynn Pascoe, Inner City Press learned that Ban attended two meeting with Ms. Otunbayeva, before Bakiyev's overthrow.

  Sources told Inner City Press that Ban attended two meetings, one closed and an open one with parliamentarians, at which Otunbayeva spoke to him. While Ban did not do a projected media availability on April 15 after he briefed the Security Council on his Central Asia trip, Inner City Press caught up with Lynn Pascoe in his wake.

  Inner City Press asked Pascoe to confirm or deny that Ban met twice with Otunbayeva. To his credit, Pascoe confirmed it. There were three things, he said. The first, the S-G with parties, opposition parties, Rosa Otunbayeva spoke. And then with the parliament. In the first, she raised the question of opposition folks who were demonstrating. The S-G said, I'm going to be taking meetings, I have Pascoe. So I did it.

  Ban's associate spokesperson Farhan Haq, when Inner City Press asked in writing if Ban had met Otunbeyeva, said he would not comment on the new leader. Then when Inner City Press asked Martin Nesirky, Ban's spokesman, Nesirky mentioned only the Pascoe meeting. He used the word "singular," which no longer makes sense: there was more than one opposition leader met with, and more than one meeting, even with Ban.

UN's Ban and Bakiyev, just before his overthrow, Otunbayeva meetings not disclosed

On April 12, Inner City Press asked for a "readout on what opposition leaders did the UN delegation meet with while in Kyrgyzstan?"

Spokesperson Nesirky: I think it is singular rather than plural, and it was Ms. Otunbayeva. This was a meeting with about half a dozen representatives, mostly journalists and including Ms. Otunbayeva. This took place during the Secretary-General’s visit. The Secretary-General was in other meetings, and he asked Mr. Pascoe and a number of other advisers who were travelling in that delegation to Central Asia to meet with them and they were then able to report to the Secretary-General on the conversation.

Inner City Press: Did they make any predictions? Or is it possible to get kind of a readout of what was discussed at the meeting?

Spokesperson: No, I do not think it is possible to have a readout of that meeting in itself, because that goes beyond normal diplomatic practice.

  Inner City Press asked Pascoe about this on April 15, that his meeting was with "mostly journalists." Pascoe said, "I saw that and I cringed a little bit, there were several opposition figures."

  To some it appears that the UN is playing down -- to put it diplomatically -- Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's pre-overthrow meetings with opposition leader Rosa Otunbayeva.

But why? Some point to the obvious double standards of having denounced the ouster of President Zelaya from Honduras and the leader of Niger, but not this. On that, we will continue to report. Watch this site.

Footnote: the split between Pascoe and the UN spokespeople is highlighted, not to discourage Pascoe from saying what happened, but to encourage the spokespeople to.

As Kyrgyz Interim Leader Worked for UN, No Comment from UN, Pending Kubis

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 8 -- With the world temporarily focused on or at least looking at Kyrgyzstan, much of the focus has been on new "interim" leader Rosa Otunbayeva. One salient fact, however, has been missed: Rosa Otunbayeva has worked for the UN, in Georgia, from 2002 to 2004.

Inner City Press went back and found a quote from Rosa Otunbaeva:

UNOMIG deputy head Roza Otunbayeva said she hoped that both sides would still make an attempt to give concessions in order to advance the talks, and she pledged continued support from the United Nations. "The U.N. will do everything possible to create conditions conducive to trust and constructive work," she said (Kuchuberia, ITAR-Tass).

  Based on this, Inner City Press asked UN Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq

The new [interim] leader of Kyrgyzstan is a former senior UN official, having served as the Deputy and Acting SRSG in UNOMIG during the previous SG's tenure. Does the Secretary-General believe that the new leader is someone he can work with, given her UN credentials?

  The UN's Haq replied that

"Concerning Kyrgyzstan, as the SG announced, Jan Kubis will travel there tomorrow as his special envoy. We will await his travel and meetings as we evaluate the situation in the country; we wouldn't have any comment on the leadership there at present."

Inner City Press followed up:

"to the Kyrgyz question, can the UN confirm that the current 'interim' leader of Kyrgyzstan is a former Acting UNSRSG? And has the current SG or his staff had any communications with her prior or subsequent to the fall of the Baliev Government yesterday?"

  Bear in mind that close observers say that Ms. Otunbayeva was chosen as interim leader due to her "international connections."

Ms. Otunbayeva with then UNSG Annan, Ban Ki-moon's Kyrgyz visit not shown

  But the UN's Haq replied:

" I wouldn't comment on the leadership in Kyrgyzstan while Jan Kubis prepares his visit. I can confirm that Rosa Otunbayeva had been Deputy SRSG for UNOMIG from 2002 to 2004. "

  What magic, then, can possible next UN Secretary General Jan Kubis perform in Kyrgyzstan? Watch this site.

 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.

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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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