With UN Silent on Fowler, Ambassador
Whispers, "He's Alive" in Niger
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, January 30 -- With
the UN's silence about the disappearance
of its envoy to Niger, Robert Fowler,
growing stranger by the day, Inner City Press on January 29 made
and out of the UN. Outside the Security Council chamber, Inner City
outgoing Council president Jean-Maurice Ripert of France if Fowler and
colleagues were raised in that morning's closed-down session on
humanitarian law including the protection of UN personnel, or earlier
month. "Not publicly," Ripert answered.
Later, at a reception a
block from the UN, Inner City Press and a colleague asked the
Ambassador of a Permanent Five member of the Security Council about
status. He was asked, "is Fowler alive?"
"Yes," the Ambassador answered.
"How do you know?"
"You asked, and I answered. I cannot say more.
we do not have
immediate fear for Mr. Fowler's safety. But no one speaks about it.
[Ed.'s note: the above was quickly
picked up, without attribution and therefore double UNsourced, here.]
Press has asked about Fowler at the UN's noon briefing a half
a dozen times. Responses have ranged from "please respect the privacy
his family" to "we have nothing new to report." See December 19 video here,
from Minute 10:45. Afterwards
off-camera, a senior UN official told Inner City Press to stop asking,
it might make "insurance problems."
UNDP sign in Niger, Fowler's 4 by 4 and mission not
Development Program, whose driver Soulmania Mounkaila along with Louis Guay
also abducted, has refused
comment, including on why no UN security accompanied
the trio on their way to and from a Canadian-owned gold mine.
There are theories
about French nuclear power deals in Canada and
Nigerois uranium; some point to President Manadou Tanya's crackdown
thought to be in communication with the Tuareg "Mouvement des Nigeriens
pour la Justice" (MNJ). The Permanent Five ambassador who told Inner
Press on January 29 that Fowler and presumably his colleagues are alive
"it's complicated." But the UN is not making it any better.
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
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
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