Holmes Hasn't Heard of Mercenaries, Haitian Staff Records Only
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 18 -- Fresh back from Haiti, top UN humanitarian
John Holmes told the Press on Monday that fuel is coming in from the
Dominican Republic, and that towns outside Port au Prince will soon
be served by the UN, which has a facility, "though not
humanitarian," in Jacmel.
asked for Holmes' and the UN's reaction to reports that private
military contractors, also known as mercenaries, are offering their
services to NGOs and others in Haiti. I haven't heard that, Holmes
what do you
and the UN think of it?
Holmes said, it depends on what services are being
offered. Video here.
A lawyerly answer, though perhaps surprising from a UN
humanitarian coordinators after the events in Baghdad (and the U.S.
the UN did not include its national Haitian staff in its counts of UN
staff, Inner City Press asked Holmes if finally the UN had checked in
on its national staff. Holmes said that the funds, programs and
agencies have -- for example, WFP, UNICEF and UNDP -- but that for
the UN Peacekeeping MINUSTAH, the work is still ongoing.
this to all personnel records have been destroyed in the Christopher
Hotel. But are these records computerized, and a copy stories
somewhere else other than in the physical headquarters?
UN's Holmes speaks on Haiti, staff records and
mercenaries not seen
denounced what he called a CNN report that UN peacekeepers ordered a
Belgian humanitarian and search team to stop working, due to unrest.
That's false, Holmes said. He was asked, what about a similar report
in French media? I haven't seen it, Holmes replied.
scribe asked when the troops and police requested by Ban Ki-moon
could start to arrive. Holmes said, we already have 9000 there. So
why the rush to vote to increase the number, except to show the UN's
doing something? Click here for Inner City Press' coverage
Security Council meeting and politics of aid. Watch this site.
despite, as simply one example, coordinated attacks throughout Kabul,
the UN has apparently canceled its Monday noon briefing. In its place
will be a four p.m. briefing by Peacekeeping, on Haiti only. There
are other questions. Watch this site.
* * *
UN, It's "All Hail" to US in Haiti, Elsewhere France
and Brazil Critical
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, January 18 -- As the UN
Security Council emptied out Monday
at noon, sources told Inner City Press that in closed
the U.S. said that to strengthen the mandate of the UN Mission in
Haiti, MINUSTAH, would "send the wrong message... that the
Haitian government is weak."
Alejandro Wolff, who represented the U.S. in the meeting and spoke
afterwards to the Press, said that the U.S. is supporting UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's request for a vote authorizing 2000
more troops and 1500 more police for MINUSTAH.
asked Ambassador Wolff if it is true that the U.S. thinking
strengthening the mandate would send some wrong message. Wolff
replied that the UN, including chief Peacekeeper Alain Leroy, has not
identified any deficiency in the mandate.
Ambassador left the Council, Inner City Press asked her about public
quotes from Brazil that MINUSTAH's mandate should, in fact, be
bolstered. She, however, called the mandate "sufficient."
about any difficulties Brazilian NGOs have had getting
into Haiti through the airport, now run by the U.S., she said there
have been "no such problems."
Gerard Araud, too, was over the top in his praise of the U.S.,
telling the Press that "we live here." Inner City Press
asked if, as reported, France supported Medecins Sans Frontieres
complaints about having planes blocked by the Americans
from the Port
au Prince airport.
French Ambassador Araud, ministers' critiques of
U.S. not shown
quickly answered that the Americans are doing a good job, that the
airport is small by international standards, and that "we live
fact, French Cooperation
Joyandet made a complaint about the blocking of MSF's plane.
And Araud's boss Bernard Kouchner
has said the airport has become an "annex or Washington," according to
France's Ambassador to Haiti Didier Le Bret.
So what is France's position --
these two statements, or Araud's? Watch this site.
Footnote: Since the Security Council has other
matters on its agenda, Inner City Press tried to ask this month's
Council president, Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui, if and when he
expects the Council to address Afghanistan. But having been asked if
the Chinese search and rescue team stopped after finding the Chinese
delegation who'd met with Hedi Annabi, Zhang Yesui just
walked away. Who will replace him as China's Ambassador is not yet