Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

At UN, Downer Says Has No Conflict in Cyprus, What Of Turkey, KKR?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, May 4 -- How does the UN police for conflicts of interest in its ranks? The answer appears to be, it doesn't. Last week the UN's envoy for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, took questions from the Press. Inner City Press asked, as it had in 2008, what safeguards are in place to ensure that Downer's job with business consultancy Bespoke Approach doesn't conflict with his activities in and around Cyprus.

  Downer assured that he wouldn't allow conflicts, adding that Cyprus doesn't have that much business. Neither is a satisfactory response at the organization like the UN. Only a few month ago, the UN's stealth envoy to Niger, former Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler, was kidnapped in Niger while on his way to visit a Canadian-owned gold mine, apparently not on UN business. The UN has still refused to answer questions, even after Fowler had been released, reportedly in exchange for the freeing of terrorism suspects.

   Downer's answer as to Cyprus is particularly insufficient because Bespoke Approach work with Turkey (or Greece) would also be a conflict. The investment firm KKR lists an affiliation with Bespoke Approach. Who is policing these conflicts? Not the UN.

Downer at UN, questions being raised, answers awaited

 The Cyprus foreign service has made this transcript of Inner City Press' Q&A with Downer:

Inner City Press: there’s been some controversy or questioning about if you can be the envoy and also have side job as a businessman?

Downer: Well, I was employed part-time not full-time so I have to keep body and soul together. I’ve got a wife, I’ve got children. My daughter got married last week, I just have to pay for the wedding and thank you for congratulating me. It’s only a part-time job. Of course I have absolutely no business with Cyprus at all. I have absolutely no business involvement there. To have business involvement there would be a conflict of interest. Cyprus would be the greatest of perspective, I love Cyprus, is not a very big place, it’s not like the United States. So business doesn’t arise day-by-day between Australia and Cyprus.

Inner City Press: I found on the UN website of bespoke approach, it says you are a good person to hire in part, because you work for the UN. So some people wonder whether it’s appropriate to …..

Downer: Let's just say I’m a good person to hire because if you read it carefully, because I work for the UN, it just explains my CV. You are working in the media and so I think you would appreciate this point in the way that I do. I think transparency is incredibly important. Therefore, it wouldn’t be honest to hide from anybody who may use bespoke approach. But it’s a fair question to ask because obviously I have to be careful there is no conflict of interest. Also I work as a professor at Adelaide University. In that capacity I do talk to people about Cyprus from time to time. In Australia there’s quite a lot of interest on Cyprus. There are nearly 100,000 Australian Cypriots. They split about 60 – 40 Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots. So they keep me busy as well as some of them are on campus of the university. One of them was at my daughter’s wedding actually last week and started lobbying me furiously about some issue to what I’m going to do.

  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.

* * *

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -