Calls UK Ambassador an Amateur, of War Criminals in Congo Too
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, May 18 – As the UN Security Council traipses across Africa
this week, it is notably skirting Sudan. UK Ambassador to the UN John
Sawers offered an explanation. "We're
not going to meet with
someone who is an indicted war criminal," he said, referring to
the arrest warrant obtained by International Criminal Court
prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo against Sudan's President Omar
al-Bashir in March on charges of war crimes and crimes against
humanity in Darfur.
the Press conveyed Sawers views to Sudan's Ambassador at the UN, he
replied that Sudan has no desire to be visited by the UK, “a
country with blood on its hands,” and called Sawers “an amateur
diplomat.” Beyond the overheated rhetoric, a long time Council
diplomat consulted by Inner City Press agreed that Sawers had erred
in his comment on the Council bypassing Sudan. It appears that the
UK Mission to the UN has sought response from Sawers; if and when one
is made available, it will be published on this site.
seriously about Sudan, experts consulted by Inner City Press see the
North – South peace deal unraveling, and predict war by mid-2009.
“Much of the Darfur conflict grew out of the South,” one of them
said. “Now war in the South will throw everything back into chaos.”
UN Photo of South Sudan, Council visit and focus not
with the Council in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is visit
a UN Mission which works with an army that has incorporated at least
one indicted war criminal, Jean-Bosco Ntaganda. As Inner City
showed prior to the Council's trip, an April 4 memo from within
Congolese Army listed Bosco Ntaganda as Deputy Coordinator of
Operation Kimia II, to which the UN Mission MONUC provided
shifting answers, first that they wouldn't work
with an army that included Bosco, then that they wouldn't work with
operations in which Bosco has a formal role, finally only
pictures will be taken with Bosco, cast a different light on the UN
and war criminals.
Council is also skirting another African hot spot, Somalia, where the
Secretariat and Council have unwaveringly taken the side of a
government or faction which is, it seems, being pushed from power, at
least in some Somali cities. Some say the UN has made the mistake of
blatantly choosing sides in a civil war. Time, but not this selective
Council trip, will tell.
Other topic of the day: Sri Lanka
Ambulance aflame in "No Fire" Zone, May 13, 2009
In the final week of
fighting we ran this message, from Dr. Sathiyamoorthy
Sir / Madam,
battle started since 5.30 am. Many wounded civilians were brought to
hospital and hospital is not providing services because hospital was
under shell attack. Few staff reported duty. nearly thousand patients
are waiting to get daily treatment. But even simple wound
dressing and giving antibiotics problems. So many wounded have to
die. In the ward among patients many death bodies are there.
Looking hospital seen and
hearing the civilians cry really disaster. Did
they make any mistake do the world by the innocent. But the
important sta[keholders] are just listening the situation and not
helping the people.
director of Health Services
(Now at No Fire Zone)
From the UN's
May 14 transcript:
Spokesperson Okabe: ...the very fact
that he’s sending his Chef de Cabinet again to underscore his message I
speaks loudly on what the Secretary-General in his personal capacity is
to do to bring an end to the situation on the ground.
A follow-up on the Chef de Cabinet. There
has been substantial criticism, not just that
because Mr. Nambiar
comes from India, but because his brother, an Indian
General [Satish] Nambiar
recently wrote an op-ed praising the offensive of the Sri Lankan Army
north and General [Sarath] Fonseca who’s led it.
Is the Secretariat aware of this criticism
and how does it address it? Also, that
Mr. Nambiar went before he got a commitment to visit an open conflict
it never took place. What’s the, I
guess, the response and why isn’t Ban Ki-moon himself going if he’s
the French and others have said he should go ASAP?
Spokesperson Okabe: Matthew, as you know
the Secretary-General’s position on going to Sri Lanka has been
this podium many times this week. And
the fact that Mr. Nambiar happens to be of a nationality does not in
get in the way of his work as a UN official. As
you know, everybody from the UN does come from
one country or
another; but once they sign on to work at the UN they go as UN
Isn’t there generally a sort of an unwritten rule of not, for example,
when Mr. Gambari was going to do Nigeria, are you unaware that they see
within diplomats in the UN often say that a person from a country too
a conflict is not the right person to be sent.
Spokesperson Okabe: Mr. Nambiar is not
from Sri Lanka.
May 7, Inner City Press
asked Associate UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq:
City Press: I wanted to ask about this invitation that’s been made
to the Secretary-General to visit Sri Lanka. First I wanted to ask
if on Monday when he met with the Ambassador of Japan, whether he was
briefed on a visit by Mr. [Yasushi] Akashi to Sri Lanka and was urged
by Japan that he should take this visit. And I also wanted to know
whether he would be in New York 11 May for the Middle East debate,
and 15 May to meet with the Chinese diplomats, that in fact this is
one reason that he is considering not going, as I have been told by
senior Secretariat staff.
Spokesperson Haq: Well, first of all, we don’t announce the trips
of the Secretary-General until they are close to occurring. And in
that regard, I don’t have anything to announce about a trip to Sri
Lanka at this stage. At the same time, as Michèle told you
yesterday, and is still true for today, if the Secretary-General
believes that visiting Sri Lanka can have an impact in terms of
saving lives there, he will certainly try to go. So he is
considering that. But part of what he is studying is what the impact
of a potential trip would be.
City Press: But if he had that belief, that would be without regard
to attending the 11 May Middle East thing or the 15 May meeting with
the Chinese diplomats? I am told that’s a major factor in his
Spokesperson: Scheduling is a separate issue. What we’re talking
about is the decision of whether or not to go. And certainly if he
can make a difference and can save civilian lives, which is what his
priority has been on this case, then he will go. At present, we
don’t have anything to announce at all in this regard, though.
Question: Just one last
one on that. I wanted to know, can you at least
confirm that he met with Ambassador Takasu on Monday in his office
inside the Security Council? Can you give a read-out of that meeting
and say why it wasn’t on his public schedule?
Spokesperson: I can confirm that he met with the Permanent
Representative of Japan. He did that, yes. It was in his office in
the Security Council. We don’t provide readouts of meetings with
Question: And why wasn’t
it on the schedule?
Spokesperson: It came up all of a sudden when he had a bit of free
time in between other appointments on a fairly hectic day.
May 8, Inner City Press asked Deputy
City Press: On the invitation by the Government of Sri Lanka to the
Secretary-General to visit, is there any progress in thinking? In
the alternative, is the Secretary-General, is he considering invoking
Article 99 or responsibility to protect or making some other move of
some type on the situation in Sri Lanka?
Spokesperson: I have nothing beyond what we’ve been saying from
this podium this week on Sri Lanka, including what the
Secretary-General himself has said earlier this week.
What Ban said
did not involve calling for a cease-fire. Watch this site.
4 in the UK with allegations of rape and
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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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