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On North Korea, Blue Words Move to a Saturday Showdown, UNDP Uzbek Stonewall

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 -- The missiles flew, and at the UN the words turned blue. Friday in the hallways outside the Security Council, the Japanese and American ambassadors said their resolution imposing certain sanctions on North Korea is ready for vote within 24 hours. France's Ambassador De La Sabliere, the Council president this month, said the vote might or might not happen on Saturday. Inner City Press asked him if the vote might be put off pending a Chinese visit to North Korea. "I cannot tell you the timing," Ambassador De La Sabliere replied. A staffer added that the resolution's sponsors will let members and reporters know of their Saturday plans by late Friday afternoon. Russia's ambassador, meanwhile, walked away from the stakeout with reporters in tow, joking but refusing to comment. "I don't want to steal the French ambassador's show," he said. As the stakeout presentation turned to the Central African Republican, most reporters left in droves.

DPRK a/k/a North Korea

            "The vote will not happen," one Council exiter said, "on Sunday between three and five," the time for the World Cup's final game between Italy and France. Another wag, this one, mused that North Korea might conduct an additional test at just that time, a sort of half-time show. Inner City Press asked a French staffer if there was any North Korean commitment to hold its fire on Sunday.  "Fireworks," the staffer answered. "Perhaps on the 14th of July?" Bastille Day -- you read it here first. Here's a key paragraph of the proposed resolution now in blue:

"The Security Council... 4. Decides that Member States shall take those steps necessary to prevent the procurement of missiles or missile-related items, materials, goods and technology from the DPRK, and the transfer of any financial resources to end users involved in or supplying DPRK's missiles or WMD programmes."

Closer reading by Inner City Press' bleary-eyed legal team of the gone-blue resolution leads to this question, among others: who are the targeted "end users... supplying DPRK's missile or WMD programmes"? Logically, an end user doesn't supply anyone else: they end use. So, at whom is Paragraph 4 directed?

            And speaking of financial resources, substance over semantics, many observers note that the crackdown on North Korea's dollar counterfeiting program, and the seizure of its assets in Macau, precipitated this crisis. And in the darkened stakeout, a photographer opined that John Bolton needs to get his glasses fixed, to stop fiddling with them. "Lens Crafters," he recommended. "They're having a sale."

            At the noon briefing, the spokeswoman announced that the talk on the small arms conference, scheduled for 12:30, would now be held at five. Great timing, to get the news out. Having received no responses from the UN Development Programme's external communications head, nor UNDP staffers in Zimbabwe and Uzbekistan, Inner City Press asked Kofi Annan's spokeswoman about the UNDP program to help the government of Uzbekistan collect taxes. Given that the UN's Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' finding that the government of Uzbekistan shot its own people in Andijan in May 2005, and has demanded the refoulement of all dissidents from Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Kakakhstan, as critiqued by UNHCR, what safeguards does UNDP have in place, if any, to ensure that the taxes it helps to collect are not used for such purposes?

            "We'll try to follow up on the question with UNDP for you," the spokeswoman said. While such intersession should not be needed, whatever gets answers...

Interim follow-up: On Uganda, the UN Department of Political Affairs report circulated to the Security Council on Monday is still not an "official document," though that slow alchemy is expected next week, the spokeswoman said. [Post-briefing, she specified by email that July 12 should be the day.] Then it should move to the Council's agenda.

Postscript 8:30 p.m. -- on the North Korea fracas, it's been announced that there'll be no Security Council meeting over the weekend. The text went blue and for what? In the interim in the basement, the small arms conference plodded to its end. No text was agreed on, the main objector being the United States which opposed any review conference in six years.

  In a wan post-conference sit-down with five reporters in an adjoining room, Chairman Prasad Kariyawasam of Sri Lanka called the U.S.'s stance "unique."  Inner City Press asked how this compared to the HIV/AIDS conference, and whether he thought the process could have benefited from more involvement from the General Assembly president (who will travel mid-July to China wearing two hats, that of Sweden and the G.A. presidency). While the spin was that this small arms conference was a victory, that wasn't the review from the floor or audience in the final proceedings. "Disgusting," an arms-violence expert in the cheap seats said. The UNDP seat was empty, and past deadline the S-G's spokesman's office had only this to say: "On your question today about how UNDP can work with the Uzbek Government on assistance to its tax collection efforts when the UN human rights officials say the government harms its own people [we're] checking in with UNDP on this."  Inner City Press has been checking in with UNDP on this and other questions for more than a week. And so, again, it goes...

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As the World Turns in Uganda and Korea, the UN Speaks only on Gaza, from Geneva

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

   UNITED NATIONS, July 6 -- The world moves fast and the UN? Not so much. Forty-eight hours after the launch of the North Korean missiles, when asked if the Secretary-General had any comment, his spokeswoman in New York pointed to months-old statements. In terms of the missiles "over the weekend or on the Fourth of July, he has deferred comment as the Security Council is focused on the matter, is seized of the matter," she said. It's nice to be restrained, but sometimes deference and leadership pull in opposite directions.

            Less in the media spotlight, the same is true of Uganda. A day after the incoming president of the Security Council, Ambassador De La Sabliere, said he was still waiting for the Secretary-General's report, Inner City Press obtained a copy of the report, which is dated July 3. The report inveighs against impunity for the leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army, who have been indicted by the International Criminal Court, but says that the UN troops in Congo and South Sudan are otherwise occupied. On July 4, Uganda president Museveni offered amnesty to the LRA's Joseph Kony, explaining this in light of the UN's failure to take action. On Thursday Inner City Press at the noon briefing asked for the UN Secretariat's reaction to Museveni's offer of amnesty. The spokeswoman responded that although the report had been circulated, it was still not "out on the racks," and therefore she couldn't comment on it. "'It's not yet a document." But it has a document number, S/2006/478.

            "Given the speed at which events are moving, the Secretary-General or Secretariat might want to comment," despite the precedent of the racks.  Or maybe not. "You're free to quote from the report," the spokeswoman said. Okay then. Its 51st paragraph begins, "While recognizing the threat posed by the LRA, I should like to reiterate that since UNMIS and MONUC have already challenging tasks to perform in their respective areas of responsibility, they should channel their capabilities and resources primarily to address those challenges." One wag observed that an indictment without any enforcement might be worse than no indictment at all.

The future per UNHCR

            Meanwhile in Geneva, the new UN Human Rights Council in its first special session passed a Gaza resolution, 29 in favor, 11 against and five abstentions. Switzerland was among the abstainers, stating that "both parties should be reminded of their obligations." At an afternoon stakeout briefing by the Palestinian permanent observer Riyad Mansour on the perceived stalemate in the Security Council, Inner City Press asked him to compare the two Councils: Security and Human Rights. "They are entirely different," he answered. Ya don't say...

            As dusk fell on Turtle Bay, reporters sought out the elusive group of experts still toiling over North Korea language, whether resolution or Presidential Statement. At seven they gave up. Those who voted on no action until Friday seem to have won the bet.

            From the UN Development Programme, the silence remains deafening. On its programs in Zimbabwe and North Korea, regarding which Inner City Press submitted written inquiries earlier this week, no answers have been provided. (By comparison, the World Food Programme responded Wednesday morning, and UNHCR on Wednesday night.) Inner City Press has asked UNDP staff in the region to comment on UNDP's assistance with tax collecting for the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan.  What sort of development is this? We'll see. Until we do, we'll call it, developing...

North Korea in the UN: Large Arms Supplant the Small, and Confusion on Uganda

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

  UNITED NATIONS, July 5 -- On display Wednesday was the UN Security Council as a divided center of power. Responding to North Korea's launch of six then seven missiles, the permanent representatives of the US and UK appeared at the stakeout in support of Japan's demand for a resolution of condemnation. Russia, while complaining that fragments of one missile landed near its territory, insisted that no resolution is needed. China has sent the same signals, but China took no questions, like North Korea. One journalist reported that the North Korean ambassador, asked what he would say, replied that "I am the permanent representative of the People's Democratic Republic of Korea -- I come and go as I please." As with the missiles, and the UN's World Food Programme.

            Just after the missiles' flight, Inner City Press asked WFP as well as UNHCR and of course UNDP to explain their North Korean activities. This was raised to UNHCR, in Geneva and New York: reportedly a Mr. Park of North Korea, in Bangkok, was told by UNHCR they would only give him refugee status if the US embassy will take him.  Then the US embassy said they would only consider his case if he already had UNHCR refugee status. How does UNHCR respond?

            As of press time, sixteen hours later, UNHCR does not yet respond.  Nor does UNDP, where questions are building up.

   The World Food Programme provided a transcript of a May 2006 press conference, restarting a slimmed down program:

the approximate total food needs of DPRK are about 5.3 million tonnes a year. They produce around 4.5 million tons, though it varies somewhat from year to year. They have an annual gap of about 1 million tons. They need to get food to fill that gap. They can get it through commercial imports, from bilateral assistance, from humanitarian aid. WFP has played a very important role for the past decade in helping to provide assistance to the people in the country who were suffering because that gap hadnít been filled. The DPRK is going to continue to face a food gap; they will have to meet it in some way. If they can meet it from commercial imports or bilateral aid, then the requirement for WFP is less. But right now they canít fill the entire gap from other resources... Under the new operation, given its limited size, we have had to make very difficult decisions. We decided to concentrate our assistance mainly on women and children. Elderly people who we helped in the past are not going to be beneficiaries of this program. Life for some elderly people in DPRK can be very tough. Their pension is about 900 won a month. The dollar exchange rate now is about 2,900 won. So theyíre getting 34 cents a month from their pension.

            Speaking of pensions and food, or using them as trope transitions, France holds the presidency of the Security Council this month, and its ambassador Jean-Marc De La Sabliere took questions from the press for nearly an hour. Amb. De La Sabliere recited a list of crises to deal with, from Darfur and the Congo through Cote D'Ivoire and Kosovo. Uganda was not among them, except cryptically in a footnote. Since more than 24 hours before, Uganda's Museveni had loudly offered amnesty to Joseph Kony of the Lord's Resistance Army, despite his indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, Inner City Press asked for Amb. De La Sabliere's position on whether war crime indictments can be waived.  "That's for the prosecutor to answer," the Ambassador replied. Video is here, with Uganda question(s) and answer running from Minute 46:40 through 51:10, the third-to-last question. Amb. De La Sabliere acknowledged that he hadn't heard of Museveni's amnesty offer, nor presumably of the Ugandan People's Defense Force's cordon-and-search disarmament in Karamoja. "I don't know when Uganda will be on our agenda," he said. "We've heard from Jan Egeland, there's a ten point proposal, no?"  We'll see.

            In the basement the conference on small arms continued, overshadowed by large arms in the sky and two floors up.  At two p.m. the UN's lights flickered; this was later blamed on Con Ed. One wag wondered of the role of North Korea.  Many wags congregated in the basement cafe, from which this is filed, to watch France - Portugal, the last weekday World Cup game. The mostly pro-French crowd roared its approval for Zidane and at the game's 1-0 conclusion. A still downcast German in the crowd recounted how 300 people watched their loss to Italy at the German mission on Tuesday. "The Italian mission is only one floor in DC-1," he said, "so they couldn't compete. Except on the pitch." As the afternoon waned and the experts met in the basement, a stakeout was established in front of Conference Room 10, but the sum total of expertise filmed consisted of which selections to make from the potato chips and coffee machines. 

 After five p.m., a school of experts swam the basement hallway. One said, "Ask the Japanese." An American said, "Ambassador Bolton will speak on the resolution. If I tell you folks anything of substance, I'll be fired."  Reporters took bets on probable outcomes, with a Friday evening statement gaining the plurality. To re-coin a phrase, and so it goes.

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, July 3 -- As thousands of Zimbabweans seeking asylum are forcibly returned, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has said he will give "time and space" to Robert Mugabe's handpicked mediator. Speaking to the press about Zimbabwe on July 2 following the meetings of the African Union, the UN Secretary General announced that "the former Tanzanian President, Ben Mkapa, had been appointed as a mediator. I told President Mugabe that I was committed to helping Zimbabwe and the people of Zimbabwe... and we both agreed that the new mediator, former Tanzanian President Mkapa, should be given the time and space to work."

            At the noon briefing at UN Headquarters on Monday, Inner City Press began questioning by asked if this means that the Secretary-General will not visit Zimbabwe to see the mass evictions, and that the treatment of those being forcibly returned to Zimbabwe by South Africa, profiled in the current Frontline World, will continue unchecked by the UN.  (Video here; questions start at Minute 12.) The spokeswoman responded that the Secretary General would not throw his weigh behind a process he didn't believe it, but that she would check into Mr. Mkapa's mandate and get back to reporters.

            The questions only grow. Rudimentary research shows that after the 2002 elections in Zimbabwe, Mkapa wrote to Mugabe that "your firmness was good for all Africa." (AP of March 13, 2002.) Then-Foreign Secretary of Security Council member Britain, Jack Straw, said this "firmness" included having "prevented voters from registering, instructed the police to break up rallies, had the leader of the opposition arrested and reduced the number of polling stations in opposition strongholds."  Observers have noted that Mr. Mkapa was appointed by Mugabe himself, less as a mediator than as an ambassador. Where goes this leave the people in Zimbabwe, particularly those who fleeing or seeking to flee the country, now said to number close to three million?

Seeking asylum

            Before the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked the UN's refugee agency UNHCR to explain its position "on which of those leaving Zimbabwe are refugees and the propriety of forced return to Zimbabwe?"  Within hours, this response was received:

From: REDDEN [at] unhcr.org

To: Matthew.Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com [and 2 at UNHCR]

Sent: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 11:50:23 +0200

Subject: Re: Two UNHCR press questions: forcible return to China of Huseyincan Celil, and UNHCR actions / position

  Dear Matthew

There are indeed many Zimbabweans deported from South Africa. However, we have not found them to be refugees or asylum seekers in the process of requesting refugee status. South Africa has strong legal structures in place for refugees to prevent refoulement -- the forcible return of refugees to the country they have fled -- and we believe that is the practice. We monitor the process to the extent that our resources permit, including visiting the detention centre where most of those deported are held. An area of concern for UNHCR has been the slow processing of asylum requests -- which affects those from many countries incluidng Zimbabwe -- but the government has now launched a "backlog project" that aims to clear some 100,000 pending applications over the next year.

Instead of being refugees and asylum seekers, the deportations of Zimbabweans have involved migrants. While the story you noted mentions some two million Zimbabweans in South Africa, we do not have an authoritative figure. That figure could well be correct since the lowest estimates are still hundreds of thousands, which may be rising with the economic deterioration in Zimbabwe. I was there a few weeks ago and life is clearly difficult. However, relatively few Zimbabweans have requested refugee status in South Africa. The queue of asylum applications (submitted by July 2005) facing the backlog project in early April of this year numbered more than 103,000. Of those, about 10 percent were Zimbabweans. The largest number of applicants were from Democratic Republic of Congo. Most Zimbabweans here have not requested asylum and those are the people who are being deported. This is a situation that UNHCR will continue to watch closely to ensure those with the right to refugee status receive it, but the problem you are enquiring about is mainly the bigger, more complex question of migration. Migration is moving up the list of international concerns and will be discussed this coming autumn at the United Nations.

Best regards, Jack Redden, Senior Regional Global Public Information Officer, Pretoria

            This is certainly a faster and more comprehensive response than from, from example, the UN Development Programme (see last week's Inner City Press UN Reports, and see below). But not only does it not address the headlined case of refoulement from Uzbekistan to China -- UNHCR does not explain why people who flee saying that in Zimbabwe they face torture, rape in prison or even, in the continuum, the destruction of their homes in Operation Murambatsvina -- "Drive out Filth" -- are not refugees.  In fact, Mr. Redden was quoted last month that " The number of Zimbabweans applying for asylum in South Africa rose sharply in the first three months of this year to 7,211. Zimbabweans account for 38 percent of the total 18,800 requests." And yet by November 2005, only 86 Zimbabweans had been approved for refuge status.

            Some question whether the approach of UN and UNHCR to South Africa's and others' treatment of those fleeing Zimbabwe is less a matter of following international law and more a matter of history and politics. The same may be asked of the fast announcement and seeming deference to a purported mediator who had already made his position known, and who was unilaterally appointed by Mugabe himself. We'll see.

            Inner City Press also asked if the Secretary General's discussions in Banjul included the situations in Uganda, including the negotiations with the Lord's Resistance Army, whose leaders are under indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.  The spokeswoman said she was not aware of any discussions on the topic, but would check. The UN Development Program over the weekend, simultaneously with UNHCR, was asked in writing:

"that if and when UNDP restarts disarmament programs or assistance to disarmament programs in eastern Uganda / Karamoja, an announcement be made. The decision to halt is still not on UNDP Uganda's web site (or UNDP's web site); this request is that confirmation and any restart be announced, as was the halt, and last week's Fenway Park award ceremony, at the noon briefing of Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General, hence the cc's [to Kofi Annan's Spokesman's Office].

 Also, we'd like to request an interview with either UNDP's Africa regional director Gilbert Houngbo and / or the Administrator.  You could tell Mr. Houngbo, to whom this is cc-ed, that the interview will concern not only the Uganda issues, but also, inter alia, UNDP's activities in Somalia  and the DR Congo (the disarmament component of which we would like information on, beyond that at http://www.so.undp.org/Themes/ROLS/DDR.htm and http://www.cd.undp.org/docs/ituri_dcrp.pdf, respectively). Also, Kenya.

  For your information, I am pasting below two articles from Uganda, in which the UPDF reiterates it will continue with cordon and search disarmament, and a particular incident in Karamoja; also, one re disarmament in Kenya. Please ensure confirm that notification will be provided of any restart by UNDP disarmament programs or assistance to disarmament programs in eastern Uganda / Karamoja. Thank you.

            As of mid-afternoon Monday, no response had been received. A next question will concern UNDP's engagements with Zimbabwe. And the beat goes on.

Postscript 8 p.m. July 3: Monday afternoon lethargy was palpable at UN Headquarters. In the basement in Conference Room 4, the Small Arms Conference plodded on. Three speeches in a row criticized the lack of translation of documents. In any language, human rights were lacking. In an otherwise nearly-full room, there were empty seats behind the name plate of Uganda, as that nation continues forcible disarmament and abuse of civilians in Karamoja. The UNDP seat was empty, then temporarily filled.  There was a stack of UNDP Statements by Ms. Kathleen Cravero, with no mention of UNDP halting, or restarting, programs parallel to abuse by the Ugandan government.

            At 6:15 in the Dag Hammarskjold auditorium a dozen people gathered for a screening of a near-snuff movie of child soldiers in Liberia, Les Petits Soldats. Young teens were repeatedly asked, "How many people did you kill?" They answered in pidgin English. One's nom de guerre was Notorious B.I.G.. Another told of his commander ZigZag Master cutting out hearts to eat them. Afterwards there was no discussion. The audience trooped out through the empty UN HQ. There was still no response from UNDP. Another request, with an addition on Zimbabwe, has been sent. The host country and city prepared for fireworks. Mesmerized by gunpowder...

At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting, But Bolton Goes Missing

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee at the U.N.

UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- "If it's all night, it's all right." So said John Bolton at a 5 p.m. Security Council stakeout. But in the General Assembly from nine to eleven p.m. he was nowhere to be seen. The major vote was left until last. Four member states disassociated themselves from the raising of the UN budget cap: the U.S., Japan and Australia, and a last-minute addition, Canada. Speaking to reporters just after the vote, outgoing Canadian Ambassador Rock predicted slow progress on management reform and mandate review. "Next week is only three days," he said. For John Bolton, the weekend started early.

  Bolton's foil Mark Malloch Brown conferred with two advisors in the lobby outside the G.A.. Inner City Press approached and asked if Canada's vote had come as a surprise. MMB, as they call him, stayed Sphinx-like. His colleague said Canada's eloquent speech spoke for itself.

  Among the U.N. press corp, only Japanese media, AP and Inner City Press remained on the scene. In garbage time the G.A. President was asked about the strange-shaped gavel he uses. "It's a gift from Iceland," he answered. Thursday afternoon he'd said he'd cancelled Friday plans. But in New York at 11, the night was still young.

  In under-the-radar diplomatic skirmish news, a vote on Lebanon turned on paragraphs about Israel, debts from '96. The U.S. and Israel were joined by Palau in opposition. The Marshall Islands were nowhere to be seen. The development resolution passed, but with Qatar excluded from paragraph 62.

 Earlier in the afternoon, two lower profile Ambassador briefed on background about this resolution on development, with its over sixty operational paragraphs, include three which gentle chide the World Bank and IMF. They said optimistically that it would be voted on at 4 p.m., it fact it got tied to the rest, and began at nine p.m.. A speech by UAE began without translation.  The gavel from Iceland banged down again and again.

  Before he left the building, at the 5 p.m. stakeout John Bolton declined to call the kidnapping a month ago of UN troops in Ituri an act of terror. He didn't criticize the UN's slow approach, saying only that events are being closely followed.

  On other African topics, during the U.S. holiday there'll be news from the African Union in Banjul. Before he left, Inner City Press shout-asked the Secretary General if he'll be meeting with Robert Mugabe. After a pause, Mr. Annan answered "yes." (Click here for the video; Mugabe's at Minute 6:15.) Annan's spokesman's office followed this up with two earlier statements, and a no-comment as to any visit to Zimbabwe.

Update: On July 1, it's reported that the UN Secretary General met for 40 minutes with Robert Mugabe. Also in the meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel were foreign affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, foreign affairs secretary Joey Bimha and the UN Under-Secretary General for African Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari (a/k/a specialist in the Kofi Annan legacy). Sudan and Somalia will also be discussed in Banjul - watch this site.

            Following up on violence against civilians in disarmament in Eastern Uganda, Inner City Press Friday at noon asked the director of the UN's Institute for Disarmament Research about UNDP's current halt of programs, "pending clarification from the Government of Uganda on the current disarmament approach in Karamoja." The director drew analogies to Mali and Iraq, and suggested a talk with UNDP's Robert Scharf, who's in New York for the small arms conference. Another person present at the noon briefing said she'd make Mr. Scharf available in the afternoon. As of 8 p.m., Inner City Press had not heard from Mr. Scharf. In the UN basement a table sat unmanned, with a sign saying "UNDP Promoting Security for Development."

Burning in Uganda, Questions for UNDP

            There is a request that if and when UNDP resumes funding disarmament in eastern Uganda, an announcement be made, in New York as well as Kampala. Kofi Annan's spokesman's office says it is not an enforcement agent. But who then holds a UN agency to the statements it provides, in this case about Ugandan government troops' abuses of civilians? And as reported on UN OCHA's IRIN, UNDP played a role in celebrating the destruction of weapons collected, presumably by voluntary and involuntary means. (Click here -- the article quotes UNDP's Bob Scharf.) In Kampala, the Minister of State for Defense Ruth Nankabirwa "denied reports that the UPDF has suspended the 'cordon and search' for guns." How much more clear does UNDP want it? And where else is it funding such programs?

            While the General Assembly provided only anonymous background on its development resolution, an on-the-record briefing was held on DESA's "Diverging Growth and Development" report. This report, like the resolution, approaches the Bretton Woods two with velvet bureaucratic gloves. A call is made for "gradual, country-specific and home-made institutional reforms," and for using for developing countries what shrinking space the WTO allows for protections. In 1950, Africa's income was 40% of the developed world's. The figure is now seven percent. The rich are getting richer and vice versa for the poor, this UN report concludes. Dog bites man, some say. From the World Bank / IMF to the Security Council's P-5, power talks and the rest of the world just walks and walks and walks. Or wait and votes 'til late on Friday night.

        In his last UN talk, outgoing German Ambassador Gunther Pleuger said the budget cap games put pressure on the wrong target: the Secretariat. He said he had no regrets about his G-4 gambit. Days earlier in the half-hit Council stakeout, he'd opined that Japan walked behind the U.S., until the chips are down. He said not to quote him until he leaves his post, which has just happened. Buena suerte!

In lieu of fireworks, and speaking of the need for reform and impunity's end, we offer this blind item: Which outgoing SRSG was pushed rather than jumped due to an illicit taste for the topic of his charge? Just throwing in the word conflict does not make it go away...

Other Inner City Press reports are archived on www.InnerCityPress.org

UN in Denial on Sudan, While Boldly Predicting the Future of Kosovo/a

UN's Selective Vision on Somalia and Wishful Thinking on Uighurs

UN Habitat Predicts The World Is a Ghetto, But Will Finance Be Addressed at Vancouver World Urban Forum?

At the UN, a Commando Unit to Quickly Stop Genocide is Proposed, by Diplomatic Sir Brian Urquhart

UN's Annan Concerned About Use of Terror's T-Word to Repress, Wants Freedom of Information

UN  Waffles on Human Rights in Central Asia and China; ICC on Kony and a Hero from Algiers

At the UN, Internal Justice Needs Reform, While in Timor Leste, Has Evidence Gone Missing?

UN & US, Transparency for Finance But Not Foreign Affairs: Somalia, Sovereignty and Senator Tom Coburn

In Bolton's Wake, Silence and Speech at the UN, Congo and Kony, Let the Games Begin

Pro-Poor Talk and a Critique of the World Trade Organization from a WTO Founder: In UN Lull, Ugandan Fog and Montenegrin Mufti

Human Rights Forgotten in UN's War of Words, Bolton versus Mark Malloch Brown: News Analysis

In Praise of Migration, UN Misses the Net and Bangalore While Going Soft on Financial Exclusion

UN Sees Somalia Through a Glass, Darkly, While Chomsky Speaks on Corporations and Everything But Congo

AIDS Ends at the UN? Side Deals on Patents, Side Notes on Japanese Corporations, Salvadoran and Violence in Burundi

On AIDS at the UN, Who Speaks and Who Remains Unseen

Corporate Spin on AIDS, Holbrooke's Kudos to Montenegro and its Independence (May 31, 2006)

Kinshasa Election Nightmares, from Ituri to Kasai. Au Revoir Allan Rock; the UN's Belly-Dancing

Working with Warlords, Insulated by Latrines: Somalia and Pakistan Addressed at the UN

The Silence of the Congo and Naomi Watts; Between Bolivia and the World Bank

Human Rights Council Has Its Own Hanging Chads; Cocky U.S. State Department Spins from SUVs

Child Labor and Cargill and Nestle; Iran, Darfur and WHO's on First with Bird Flu

Press Freedom? Editor Arrested by Congo-Brazzaville, As It Presides Over Security Council

The Place of the Cost-Cut UN in Europe's Torn-Up Heart;
Deafness to Consumers, Even by the Greens

Background Checks at the UN, But Not the Global Compact; Teaching Statistics from Turkmenbashi's Single Book

Ripped Off Worse in the Big Apple, by Citigroup and Chase: High Cost Mortgages Spread in Outer Boroughs in 2005, Study Finds

Burundi: Chaos at Camp for Congolese Refugees, Silence from UNHCR, While Reform's Debated by Forty Until 4 AM

In Liberia, From Nightmare to Challenge; Lack of Generosity to Egeland's CERF, Which China's Asked About

The Chadian Mirage: Beyond French Bombs, Is Exxon In the Cast? Asylum and the Uzbeks, Shadows of Stories to Come

Through the UN's One-Way Mirror, Sustainable Development To Be Discussed by Corporations, Even Nuclear Areva

Racial Disparities Grew Worse in 2005 at Citigroup, HSBC and Other Large Banks

Mine Your Own Business: Explosive Remnants of War and the Great Powers, Amid the Paparazzi

Human Rights Are Lost in the Mail: DR Congo Got the Letter, But the Process is Still Murky

Iraq's Oil to be Metered by Shell, While Basrah Project Remains Less than Clear

At the UN, Dues Threats and Presidents-Elect, Unanswered Greek Mission Questions

Kofi, Kony, Kagame and Coltan: This Moment in the Congo and Kampala

As Operation Swarmer Begins, UN's Qazi Denies It's Civil War and Has No Answers if Iraq's Oil is Being Metered

Cash Crop: In Nepal, Bhutanese Refugees Prohibited from Income Generation Even in their Camps

The Shorted and Shorting in Humanitarian Aid: From Davos to Darfur, the Numbers Don't Add Up

UN Reform: Transparency Later, Not Now -- At Least Not for AXA - WFP Insurance Contract

In Congolese Chaos, Shots Fired at U.N. Helicopter Gunship

In the Sudanese Crisis, Oil Revenue Goes Missing, UN Says

Empty Words on Money Laundering and Narcotics, from the UN and Georgia

What is the Sound of Eleven Uzbeks Disappearing? A Lack of Seats in Tashkent, a Turf War at UN

Kosovo: Of Collective Punishment and Electricity; Lights Out on Privatization of Ferronikeli Mines

Abkhazia: Cleansing and (Money) Laundering, Says Georgia

Post-Tsunami Human Rights Abuses, including by UNDP in the Maldives

Who Pays for the Global Bird Flu Fight? Not the Corporations, So Far - UN

Citigroup Dissembles at United Nations Environmental Conference

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