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At the UN, Silence from UNDP on Cyprus, from France on the Chad-Bomb, Jan Pronk's Sudan Blog

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press of the UN

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 -- What is the UN's policy on free speech? The policies differ in the UN Development Program, which praises repressive regimes in Turkmenistan and Zimbabwe while criticizing the legislature of Cyprus, and in the Secretariat, which has discussed but not acted as its envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk has run a "personal" blog about events in Darfur.

            Jan Pronk's blog hit the world news on Friday, as the al-Bashir government has declared him persona non grata for a mid-October post, still available online, reporting two losses by the Sudanese army to the rebels of the National Redemption Front, NRF, who are not signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement.

            Pronk's blog has been an open secret within UN Headquarters; UN staff have referred reporters to the site for information not available on the UN Mission to Sudan website. As senior peacekeeping officials at the UN have said privately that more international criticism is needed of the rebels, and not only of the government, for atrocities in Darfur, the UN has not made this point overly public, perhaps concerned of falling afoul of the mobilized concern symbolized by George Clooney's recent UN appearance. As Inner City Press reported on October 18, nuanced or contrarian voices on Darfur are found among those above or outside the fray, like 92 year old, long-time UN hand Sir Brian Urquhart, or for example on Jan Pronk's blog.

            On the topic of blogs, Inner City Press on Friday asked Kofi Annan's spokesman was asked at his regular press conference whether the UN has a policy on blogs, given that UN employees have been fired for writing unauthorized books about such topics as romance amid humanitarian missions. "We have not kept up with technology," the spokesman acknowledged. Pressed by other reporters to stand behind or renounce the content of Jan Pronk's blog, the spokesman repeated again and again, "it is a personal blog." He was asked for a more definitely answer; we'll see.

S-G & Pronk

            Also still unanswered are a series of questions Inner City Press has put to the UN Development Program, UNDP. Two weeks ago, Inner City Press asked UNDP's main spokesman William Orme for an update on a UNDP-funded involuntary disarmament program in Uganda which, after Inner City Press' reporting, was suspended earlier this year, see www.InnerCityPress.com/ungc062906.html. In two weeks, UNDP has not provide an answer, despite cajoling from Kofi Annan's spokesman's office, which has repeatedly told Inner City Press that answers would be forthcoming and the delays would be "ironed out."

            On October 18, the spokesman said, "I donít have any of the details of this event involving UNDP and Turkmenistan.  I know that you and UNDP have had some issues and youíve had some trouble talking to them.  We will try to negotiate some sort of communication channel between you and UNDP, so you can get your answers to your questions."

            For the record, Inner City Press has taken the same approach to UNDP as other agencies of the UN and of governments, and even corporations: questions about issues, and a request that answers be provided in less than two weeks, and without agita or insults.

            The questions about UNDP has Inner City Press has asked in the past months have included UNDP's public praise of repressive governments in Uzbekistan, Zimbabwe and Turkmenistan, UNDP's funding to the judiciary of Sudan's al-Bashir government, and UNDP's acceptance of funding from Shell to produce a report about the Niger Delta. UNDP's spokesman has expressed outrage that certain questions have been asked, and has then refused to answer any more questions. Meanwhile UNDP's director Kemal Dervis has not appeared for a press conference in the UN Headquarters building for fourteen months.

UNDP / UNPOS Controversial Funding in Cyprus: Issue Raised

            Friday the issue of UNDP's controversial funding of materials in Cyprus supporting "the Annan plan" was raised to Mr. Annan's spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Video's on UNTV, and for a pro-UNDP narration of the Cyprus issue, click here. There are check stubs reflecting payment to journalists, and requests in to the U.S. State Department. Inner City Press will be following these documents where they lead and, wider, the UN Office of Project Services.

   In the Cyprus controversy, the activity was undertaken by the UNDP-administered UN Office of Project Services, UNOPS, with money provided directly to UNOPS by USAID, an arm of the U.S. State Department. A wider question raised is what standards this UNDP-administered UNOPS has.

 Friday at the UN on these UNDP-Cyprus issues, Kofi Annan's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that "Bill Orme will get back to you." Skepticism was expressed by another reporter covering the Cyprus issue -- "UNDP never answers questions," he told Inner City Press -- and later by another longtime UN correspondent, who recounts a vituperative response by the same Bill Orme, which he told Kofi Annan's spokesman about. If there are special issues, they are UNDP's lack of standards, and lack of accountability and transparency.

   At dusk fell Friday on Turtle Bay, UNDP's Bill Orme was seen inside the UN Spokesman's glass-walled office. Despite this time spent trying to excuse, explain or mischaracterize UNDP's delay in providing answers and basic information, not even an answer to the Uganda disarmament question posted two weeks ago in writing was provided. There is something wrong at UNDP, and it is noteworthy that the Secretariat purports to be unable to address it. This is a developing story.

Diamond Sanctions in Liberia - and Ivory Coast?

            The Security Council on Friday issued a presidential statement on diamond sanctions on Liberia, urging the Liberian Government to take steps so as to join the Kimberly Process. Inner City Press asked Japanese Ambassador Kenzo Oshima if the Council will act on reports of blood diamonds from Ivory Coast; Amb. Oshima said they will, at some unspecified future date.

            Also Friday at the UN, French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie took a half-dozen questions from reporters. Video's on UNTV. Inner City Press asked two questions: for France's view on the European Union force's plan to pull out of the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 30, even before the president to be elected on October 29 is sworn in, and for an explanation of the legality of the bomb France dropped in Chad earlier this year.  Minister Alliot-Marie answered only the Congo question, implying that while the pull-out could start on November 30, it could take a month, and thus not be completed before the presidential swearing-in.  She did not answer the Chad question, although a French general who accompanied her smiled at Inner City Press for the rest of the press conference. Perhaps that was the answer: we did it because we could. Minister Alliot-Marie also said, about Ivory Coast, that France has few economic ties remaining with its former colony. One wag in the audience muttered, "Not by choice," and noted that China has largely replaced France as economic partner in Ivory Coast and elsewhere in Africa, including Chad.

            Finally for this end-of-week report, Rogelio Pfirter, Director-General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons briefed both the General Assembly and reporters on Friday.  The materials he passed out stated that six countries have declared they have chemical weapons: Russia, the U.S., Albania, Libya, India and "an unidentified State party." Inner City Press asked Mr. Pfirter to explain the process for a State holding chemical weapons to have its identity concealed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Mr. Pfirter said it was agreed to, and that this unnamed state is performing well. Mr. Pfirter went on to denounce North Korea, and to dodge a question about Paragraph 8 of the UN Security Council's recent Resolution 1718. More to follow, we're sure, in coming days.

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Russia's Vostok Battalion in Lebanon Despite Resolution 1701, Assembly Stays Deadlocked and UNDP Stays Missing

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

UNITED NATIONS, October 19 -- In South Lebanon there are only Lebanese and UN troops, said Major-General Alain Pellegrini, Force Commander of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on Thursday. While reporters questioned him about still-alleged weapons smuggling, incursions by Israel and possible anti-aircraft responses by UNIFIL, another question arose. Inner City Press asked, do the soldiers who Russian army engineers brought with them to Lebanon as security comply with Resolution 1701?

            No, said Maj.-Gen. Pellegrini, not if they are in South Lebanon.

            On October 4, Russian Defense Minister  Sergei Ivanov announced that "Security will be provided by two protection units... composed of experienced professional soldiers from two battalions, Vostok and Zapad, that belong to the 42nd division in the republic of Chechnya."

            The Vostok battalion, beyond being implicated in human rights abuses in the Avar village of Borozdinovskaya, in September 2006 in St. Petersburg operated as a shakedown squad for one party to a dispute about a meat packing plant and the land beneath. Now they are in Lebanon. But where?

S-G & troops in Lebanon

            On October 12, Inner City Press had asked Kofi Annan's spokesman, as transcribed by the UN:

Inner City Press question: Russia sent to Lebanon troops it used in Chechnya for something called the (inaudible) Battalion.  Various human rights groups have said they are widely accused of human rights abuses and should not be part of the multinational force in Lebanon.  I don't know if the United Nations has any comment on that.  And also on Anna Politkovskaya's report, which since her assassination has been published and acknowledges torture in Chechnya, whether Louise Arbour [High Commissioner for Human Rights] is going to look at that report or do anything about it.

Spokesman: You have to ask Louise Arbour on the journalist who was killed; I think we already spoke from here.  And on the issue of the Russian troops I don't have any specific information, and of course as a matter of rule, we do expect any troops that participate in United Nations operations to uphold the highest standards.
Question: (inaudible).
Spokesman: That is something I would have to talk to Department of Peacekeeping Operations about.  But that would be the responsibility of Member States to provide us with that information.  [The Spokesman later clarified that Russian troops were not part of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.  Their presence is part of a bilateral agreement between Russia and Lebanon.]

            But can, via a bilateral agreement, troops be introduced into South Lebanon? Maj.-Gen. Pellegrini on Thursday said "no." Developing.

            Also at Thursday's briefing by Kofi Annan's spokesman, Inner City Press asked if the Secretariat has any response to the Ethiopian Prime Minister's public acknowledgement that there are Ethiopian troops in Somalia. The spokesman repeated a previous, generic call for all parties to respect the UN arms embargo. But while there are certainly other violators, when a head of state says publicly, to his country's parliament, that he is violating a UN arms embargo, shouldn't more than the usual platitudes be deployed?

            The UN General Assembly, meanwhile, continued Thursday morning with round after round of voting between Venezuela and Guatemala for a single two-year seat on the Security Council. The results are barely changing, and reporters and diplomats have started asking what the president of the General Assembly will do, or asking what her predecessor Jan Eliason might have done. The current president of the GA left Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday gave a speech in Toronto. In New York, the GA is being portrayed as a "theater of the absurd." In the stakeout area outside the GA, Guatemala's representative said he would prefer a single vote in the morning, and one in the afternoon, and that he'll welcome two days without voting next Monday and Tuesday. He'd previously echoed U.S. Ambassador John Bolton is saying that if Venezuela was "honorable" and followed past practice, Venezuela would drop out, since it is behind 105 to 78.

            But at the noon briefing, two other precedents were raised. In 1960, Poland and Turkey resolved a similar stand-off by agreeing to each take one year of the two-year term. And in 2003, Brazil took two years, followed by Argentina for two years. Neither party in these two cases stood down. Whether the vote tally was closer has been asked of the GA President's spokesperson. We'll see.

            At Wednesday's noon briefing, Kofi Annan's spokesman called it "unfair" to say that UNDP director Kemal Dervis had dodged the press:

Inner City Press question:  About Turkmenistan.  There was a conference this week with UNDP and Turkmenistan.  UNDP praised the country and its Government.  There's an SG report out, on human rights, and the EU has just refused to ratify a trade agreement on human rights grounds and there's a new law prohibiting marriages with foreigners and the killing of journalists.  My question is, what is the connection?  The SG's report on Turkmenistan, is this communicated to UNDP?  How is it decided with agencies engage with...?  UNDP on its web site said they advise Turkmenistan Government agencies.  If you have something to say, I'd like to hear it, or at long last have UNDP come to this room.

Spokesman:  I don't have any of the details of this event involving UNDP and Turkmenistan.  I know that you and UNDP have had some issues and you've had some trouble talking to them.  We will try to negotiate some sort of communication channel between you and UNDP, so you can get your answers to your questions.  The reports of the Secretary-General are obviously public documents and, of course, available and known to all agencies and UN country teams.  But I don't have the details of this specific event you are talking about.

Inner City Press question:  Shashi Tharoor, in this room, said that Kemal Dervis, Head of the UNDP, was going to appear by video, but something happened and he was in Rome.  I've never actually seen a UNDP person come and brief anyone here.

Spokesman:  That would be unfair, because there have been people here.  Mr. Dervis has been here and briefed the press.  That is a bit of an unfair assessment.

            On Thursday Inner City Press posited that Mr. Dervis has not appeared for a press conference in Secretariat Room 226 since August 2005, fourteen months ago. Giving the questions that are building up, about UNDP's engagement with repressive regimes from Turkmenistan to Zimbabwe to Sudan, isn't it time for Mr. Dervis to take questions? Or for his spokesman William Orme to answer simple written questions in less than two weeks? We'll see.

As Turkmenistan Cracks Down on Journalists, Hospitals and Romance, UNDP Works With the Niyazov Regime

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

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 -- The European Union reacted  to the torture murder of Turkmen journalist Ogulsapar Muradova while in state custody, and other excesses by Turkmenistanís Saparmurat Niyazov, by declining the invitation to enter a trade agreement with the Central Asian coungtry.  The UN Development Program has taken a different approach, and recently offered praise of Niyazov's government.

            Today's Turkish Daily News quotes Niyazov that "for some years the state structures and public organizations of Turkmenistan have successfully realized joint programs and projects in collaboration with such organizations as the UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO and many others."

            UNESCO, it should be noted, recently "voiced grave concern at the death of Ogulsapar Muradova in jail in Ashgabat," the capital of Turkmenistan. The UN agency's press release, No. 2006-116, cited Reporters Without Borders that "Ms Muradova's children identified Ms Muradova's body in the morgue of Ashgabat on 14 September. Witnesses are reported to have seen a head wound and many other marks on the rest of her body."

            A month after Ms. Muradova's body was identified in the morgue, UNDP's resident coordinator in Turkmenistan Mr. Richard Young told two hundred people at a conference on UN - Government of Turkmenistan cooperation that "as a member of the United Nations, Turkmenistan recognizes the importance of working together to meet concrete targets for advancing development. National ownership is a key to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and adhering to global human rights values." The quote is from a write-up provided by the UN System in Turkmenistan. The write-up contained no criticism of Niyazov or his regime.

Cleansing Turkmenbashi

            It is not clear what "national ownership" the UN's Richard Young was referring to. In recent years, Niyazov has closed all hospitals outside of the capital, telling the BBC, "Why do we need such hospitals? If people are ill, they can come to Ashgabat."

   Niyazov, who has called himself Turkmenbashi, Father of All Turkmen, has also closed all libraries, including those in the capital, on the grounds that "nobody reads books or go to libraries".  

            In fact, the main book taught in schools in Turkmenistan is one written by Niyazov himself, called Ruhknama. Niyavoz has said Ruhknama, sometimes spelled Ruhnama, "was issued to eliminate all shortcomings." It is available in 22 languages on the Turkmenistan government website, here.  A UN staffer who has worked for the UN system in Turkmenistan (and who has read Rukhnama) tells Inner City Press that many of the UN offices in Ashkabat use the government's web servers, which block content objectionable to Niyazov and presumably record and register the communications traveling through them. (The UN staff asked not to be named, as for now still a UN employee.)

            Like the Karimov government in Uzbekistan, which UNDP also assists in a range of ways from tax collection to help with open source software, Niyazov is cracking down on and thinning the ranks of non-governmental organizations. Reportedly the human rights group Arkadag "has files full of the most diverse explanations they have received about why they are being turned down Ė a misplaced comma here, a wrongly ordered paragraph there, or a demand for details of all rank-and-file members even though the law stipulates that only the board members need to be named...Re-registration is also a problem for existing NGOs, in the wake of the Law on Public Associations passed in 2003." A more recent law restricts the ability of citizens of Turkmenistan to marry foreigners.

            At UN headquarters on Wednesday, Inner City Press asked Kofi Annan's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about these laws, and to explain the contradiction between UNESCO's and even the Secretary-General's own denunciations of the Turkmenistan government's human rights record and UNDP's statement, on its dedicated Turkmenistan website, www.undptkm.org, that "UNDP provides advisory services to selected government agencies in improvement of institutional and legal frameworks for economic and financial management and social protection, statistical capacity development."  Video here

   The spokesman has indicated that while this is a good question, it should be answered by UNDP, rather than the Secretariat. The question was asked at noon, but as of six p.m. no response of any kind had been received. We note that UNDP has now delayed two weeks in providing an update on its previously announced de-funding of violent disarmament in the Karamoja region of Eastern Uganda, and has also delayed in responding to Inner City Press' written request for comment on recent testimony to the Fifth Committee on A/61/5 Add.1, on "UNDP's failure to complete monthly bank account reconciliations," "internal control weaknesses present in the implementation process of UNDP's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system" and "the adverse and qualified opinions on project auditors on the implementation of UNDP program expenditures executed by governments." 

            To be fair to UNDP, here is another UN agency providing unexplained funding to Turkmenistan's government -- UN/DESA Division for Social Policy and Development providing technical cooperation funds to the Niyazov regime. Other supporters include Deutsche Bank, Turkmenbashi's private banker, and the French construction firm Bouygues, to build another palace. Thus is Turkmenbashi provided UN technical assistance to further the Millennium Development Goals. Developing...

At the UN, Darfur Discussed, Annan Eulogized and Oil For Food Confined to a Documentary Footnote

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

UNITED NATIONS, October 18 -- "On Darfur... it's absolutely no good to say, it's horrible, I can't bear to let this happen. That doesn't get you anywhere." So at the UN Wednesday night said Sir Brian Urquhart, who has known and served all seven of the UN's Secretaries-General.

            He continued, speaking on a panel in the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium, that, "I rather wish that those extremely well-intentioned people who take out full page advertisements in the New York Times and demonstrate in front of the White House and, I expect, in front of here would engage in a discussion of what the point of entry might in actuality be. This is a very hard and difficult problem. As far as I can make out, there is very little leverage over the government of Sudan. And if you don't have permission from the government of Sudan, you won't get the nations who take part in peacekeeping to contribute troops."

            Andre Lewin, long-time French diplomat who served as UN spokesman from 1972 to 1976, pointed out that the UN has used the concept of national sovereignty to help "more or less" stop wars between countries. (The less would include the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and other clouds on the Security Council's horizon and those ignored, like Somalia and Ethiopia - Eritrea.)  But it is the very concept of sovereignty, Amb. Lewin pointed out, that makes stopping the carnage in Darfur difficult for the UN.

S-G in Darfur

            A third panelist recounted that "Kofi Annan in 1996 finally convinced the French to stop vetoing him by promising the French the position he had held, head of Peacekeeping. There are reports that the British got similar commitments from the South Korean--"

            The moderator Shashi Tharoor quickly said, "I disassociate myself from those remarks," to laugher from the audience. The discussion followed the screening of half-hour documentaries about the tenures of Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan, part of "At the Glass Building: the History of the UN told by its Secretaries-General." Both were laudatory. For example, the Oil for Food scandal was mentioned immediately after Kofi Annan's opposition to the U.S. war on Iraq, implying that the entirety of the scandal was a U.S. retaliation. Thus is the U.N. organization not reformed.

            The incoming and eighth Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was mentioned only oblique in panel discussion. Earlier on Wednesday, rocker Sir Bob Geldof came into Inner City Press' office. Inner City Press asked, "Did you meet with Kofi Annan already?"

            "Yes."

            How did it go?
            Fine, preparations for G-8."

            "Is Ban Ki-moon on your radar?"

            "I'll wait until he gets the job. I'm sure he has connections to make," he said. "I want to show Kofi the respect of dealing (mostly) with him, until his last day."

            It's nice to be nice, but whether the UN organization is served by such deference is unclear. Among South Korean reporters, who have been in closer touch with Mr. Ban, discussion turned to the identity of the next Deputy Secretary-General. Mr. Ban has reported said it will be a woman from a developing country. One intriguing candidate is Anna Tibaijuka, the head of UN Habitat and of the UN System in Nairobi. Other candidates, some feel, should be named and their merits discussed.

            During Wednesday's panel discussion, Inner City Press asked whether the Secretary-General selection process would not have been better served by a debate, or at least question-and-answer in an open (and televised) Security Council meeting. Sir Brian Urquhart said that the work habits of diplomats militates against this. Shashi Tharoor quipped that the Security Council might oppose this because then the presumption would be that they'd select the person who'd answered best.

            Inner City Press also asked each panelist about the need for a Freedom of Information Act at the UN. Perhaps under Mr. Ban...

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

At the UN, North Korea Sanctions Agreed On, Naval Searches and Murky Weapons Sales

At the UN, Georgia Speaks of Ethnic Cleansing While Russia Complains of Visas Denied by the U.S.

At the UN, Deference to the Congo's Kabila and Tank-Sales to North Korea, of Slippery Eels and Sun Microsystems

At the UN, Annan's Africa Advisor Welcome Chinese Investment, Dodges Zimbabwe, Nods to Darfur

Georgia on its Mind, Russia Delays North Korea Nuclear Resolution with Abkhazia Allusions

At the UN, Richard Goldstone Presses Enforcement on Joseph Kony, Reflecting Back on Karadzic

The UN Shrugs on Congolese Warlords, While UNDP Assists Sudanese Justice, and OIOS Is In Hiding

Hungarian Revolutions Past and Present, Kissinger to UN and Ban Ki-Moon Speaks, Of Needs and Refugees

UN Defers on Anti-Terror Safeguards to Member States, Even in Pakistan and Somalia

Afghanistan as Black Hole for Info and Torture Tales, Photos and Talk Mogadishu, the UN Afterhours

Amid UN's Korean Uproar, Russia Silent on Murder of Anna Politkovskaya, Chechnya Exposer

UN Envoy Makes Excuses for Gambian Strongman, Whitewashing Fraud- and Threat-Filled Election

U.S. Calls for Annan and Ban Ki-moon to Publicly Disclose Finances, As U.S. Angles for 5-Year WFP Appointment

Sudan's UN Envoy Admits Right to Intervene in Rwanda, UNICEF Response on Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

UN's Annan Dodges Danger and Set-Backs in Gabon, Geneva, Tibet, Sudan, Disclosure Form Also for Successor?

At the UN, Ban Ki-Moon's Track Record on Myanmar Criticized by ASEAN Parliamentarians on Human Rights

At the UN, Cagey Council President of the GA on the Bottom of the Sea, of Stolen Chairs, Uzbek Human Rights and Georgia

At the UN, As Next S-G is Chosen, Annan Claims Power to Make 5-Year Appointments, Quiet Filing and Ivory Coast Concessions

Chaos in UN's Somalia Policy, Working With Islamists Under Sanctions While Meeting with Private Military Contractors

U.S. Candidate for UN's World Food Program May Get Lame Duck Appointment, Despite Korean Issues

At the UN, U.S. Versus Axis of Airport, While Serge Brammertz Measures Non-Lebanese Teeth

Exclusion from Water Is Called Progress, of Straw Polls and WFP Succession

William Swing Sings Songs of Congo's Crisis, No Safeguards on Coltan Says Chairman of Intel

Warlord in the Waldorf and Other Congo Questions Dodged by the UN in the Time Between Elections

In Some New Orleans, Questions Echo from the South Bronx and South Lebanon

In New Orleans, While Bone Is Thrown in Superdome, Parishes Still In Distress

At the UN, Tales of Media Muzzled in Yemen, Penned in at the Waldorf on Darfur, While Copters Grounded

US's Frazer Accuses Al-Bashir of Sabotage, Arab League of Stinginess, Chavez of Buying Leaders - Click here for video file by Inner City Press.

Third Day of UN General Debate Gets Surreal, Canapes and Killings, Questions on Iran and Montenegro and Still Somalia

On Darfur, Hugo Chavez Asks for More Time to Study, While Planning West Africa Oil Refinery

At the UN, Ivory Coast Discussed Without Decision on Toxic Politics, the Silence of Somalia

Evo Morales Blames Strike on Mobbed-Up Parasites, Sings Praise of Coca Leaf and Jabs at Coca-Cola

Musharraf Says Unrest in Baluchistan Is Waning, While Dodging Question on Restoring Civilian Rule

At the UN, Cyprus Confirms 'Paramilitary' Investigation, Denies Connection to Def Min Resignation, CBTB Update

A Tale of Three Leaders, Liberia Comes to Praise and Iran and Sudan to Bury the UN

Behind the UN Speeches, A Thai Coup, Somali Assassins and Hit-and-Run Chirac Ignoring Ivory Coast

Annan Pitches UN With No Mention of Reform; EU President Dodges Human Rights and Micro-States

UN Round-up: Poland's President Says Iraq Is Ever-More Tense While Amb. Bolton Talks Burmese Drugs, Spin on Ivory Coast

As UN's Annan Now Says He Will Disclose, When and Whether It Will Be to the Public and Why It Took So Long Go Unasked

At the UN, Stonewalling Continues on Financial Disclosure and Letter(s) U.S. Mission Has, While Zimbabwe Goes Ignored

At the UN, Financial Disclosure Are Withheld While Freedom of Information Is Promised, Of Hollywood and Dictators' Gift Shops

UN's Annan Says Dig Into Toxic Dumping, While Declining to Discuss Financial Disclosure

A Still-Unnamed Senior UN Official in NY Takes Free Housing from His Government, Contrary to UN Staff Regulations

UN Admits To Errors in its Report on Destruction of Congolese Village of Kazana, Safeguards Not In Place

As UN Checks Toxins in Abidjan, the Dumper Trafigura Figured in Oil for Food Scandal, Funded by RBS and BNP Paribas

Targeting of African Americans For High Cost Mortgages Grew Worse in 2005, While Fed Downplays Its Own Findings

The UN and Nagorno-Karabakh: Flurries of Activity Leave Frozen Conflicts Unchanged; Updates on Gaza, Gavels and Gbagbo

The UN Cries Poor on Lawless Somalia, While Its Ex-Security Chief Does Business Through Ruleless Revolving Door

At the UN, Micro-States Simmer Under the Assembly's Surface, While Incoming Council President Dodges Most Questions

"Horror Struck" is How UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments Would Leave U.S., Referral on Burma But Not Uzbekistan

Security Council President Condemns UN Officials Getting Free Housing from Governments, While UK "Doesn't Do It Any More"

At the UN, Incomplete Reforms Allow for Gifts of Free Housing to UN Officials by Member States

Rare UN Sunshine From If Not In Chad While Blind on Somalia and Zimbabwe, UNDP With Shell in its Ear on Nigeria

Annan Family Ties With Purchaser from Compass, Embroiled in UN Scandal, Raise Unanswered Ethical Questions

At the UN, from Casamance to Transdniestria, Kosovars to Lezgines, Micro-States as Powerful's Playthings

Inquiry Into Housing Subsidies Contrary to UN Charter Goes Ignored for 8 Weeks, As Head UN Peacekeeper Does Not Respond

Congo Shootout Triggers Kofi Annan Call, While Agent Orange Protest Yields Email from Old London

On the UN - Corporate Beat, Dow Chemical Luncheon Chickens Come Home to Roost

UN Bets the House on Lebanon, While Willfully Blind in Somalia and Pinned Down in Kinshasa

Stop Bank Branch Closings and Monopolies in the Katrina Zone, Group Says, Challenging Regions- AmSouth Merger

Ship-Breakers Missed by UN's Budget for Travel and Consultants in Bangladesh, Largest UNIFIL Troop Donor

Sudan Cites Hezbollah, While UN Dances Around Issues of Consent and Sex Abuse in the Congo, Passing the UNIFIL Hat

With Somalia on the Brink of Horn-Wide War, UN Avoids Question of Ethiopian Invasion

In UN's Lebanon Frenzy, Darfur Is Ignored As Are the Disabled, "If You Crave UNIFIL, Can't You Make Do With MONUC?"

UN Decries Uzbekistan's Use of Torture, While Helping It To Tax and Rule; Updates on UNIFIL and UNMIS Off-Message

At the UN, Lebanon Resolution Passes with Loophole, Amb. Gillerman Says It Has All Been Defensive

On Lebanon, Russian Gambit Focuses Franco-American Minds, Short Term Resolution Goes Blue Amid Flashes of Lightening

Africa Can Solve Its Own Problems, Ghanaian Minister Tells Inner City Press, On LRA Peace Talks and Kofi Annan's Views

At the UN, Jay-Z Floats Past Questions on Water Privatization and Sweatshops, Q'Orianka Kilcher in the Basement

In the UN Security Council, Speeches and Stasis as Haiti is Forgotten, for a Shebaa Farms Solution?

UN Silence on Congo Election and Uranium, Until It's To Iran or After a Ceasefire, and Council Rift on Kony

At the UN Some Middle Eastern Answers, Updates on Congo and Nepal While Silence on Somalia

On Lebanon, Franco-American Resolution Reviewed at UN in Weekend Security Council Meeting

UN Knew of Child Soldier Use by Two Warlords Whose Entry into Congo Army the UN Facilitated

At the UN, Disinterest in Zimbabwe, Secrecy on Chechnya, Congo Polyanna and Ineptitude on Somalia

Impunity's in the Air, at the UN in Kinshasa and NY, for Kony and Karim and MONUC for Kazana

UN Still Silent on Somalia, Despite Reported Invasion, In Lead-Up to More Congo Spin

UN's Guehenno Says Congo Warlord Just Needs Training, and Kazana Probe Continues

With Congo Elections Approaching, UN Issues Hasty Self-Exoneration as Annan Is Distracted

In DR Congo, UN Applauds Entry into Army of Child-Soldier Commander Along with Kidnapper

Spinning the Congo, UN Admits Hostage Deal with Warlord That Put Him in Congolese Army

At the UN, Dow Chemical's Invited In, While Teaming Up With Microsoft is Defended

Kofi Annan Questioned about Congolese Colonel Who Kidnapped Seven UN Soldiers

At the UN, Speeches While Gaza Stays Lightless and Insurance Not Yet Paid

At the UN Poorest Nations Discussed, Disgust at DRC Short Shrift, Future UN Justice?

At the UN Wordsmiths Are At Work on Zimbabwe, Kony,  Ivory Coast and Iran

UN Silent As Congolese Kidnapper of UN Peacekeepers Is Made An Army Colonel: News Analysis

At the UN, New Phrase Passes Resolution called Gangster-Like by North Korea; UK Deputy on the Law(less)

UN's Guehenno Speaks of "Political Overstretch" Undermining Peacekeeping in Lower Profile Zones

In Gaza Power Station, the Role of Enron and the U.S. Government's OPIC Revealed by UN Sources

At UN, North Korean Knot Attacked With Fifty Year Old Precedent, Game Continues Into Weekend

UN's Corporate Partnerships Will Be Reviewed, While New Teaming Up with Microsoft, and UNDP Continues

Gaza Resolution Vetoed by U.S., While North Korea Faces Veto and Chechnya Unread

BTC Briefing, Like Pipeline, Skirts Troublespots, Azeri Revelations

Conflicts of Interest in UNHCR Program with SocGen and Pictet Reveal Reform Rifts

At the UN, A Day of Resolutions on Gaza, North Korea and Iran, Georgia as Side Dish

UN Grapples with Somalia, While UNDP Funds Mugabe's Human Rights Unit, Without Explanation

In North Korean War of Words, Abuses in Uganda and Impunity Go Largely Ignored

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

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

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

UN Gives Mugabe Time with His Friendly Mediator, Refugees Abandoned

At the UN, Friday Night's Alright for Fighting; Annan Meets Mugabe

UN Acknowledges Abuse in Uganda, But What Did Donors Know and When? Kazakh Questions

In Uganda, UNDP to Make Belated Announcement of Program Halt, But Questions Remain (and see The New Vision, offsite).

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Leads UN Agency to Suspend Its Work and Spending

Disarmament Abuse in Uganda Blamed on UNDP, Still Silent on Finance

Alleged Abuse in Disarmament in Uganda Known by UNDP, But Dollar Figures Still Not Given: What Did UN Know and When?

Strong Arm on Small Arms: Rift Within UN About Uganda's Involuntary Disarmament of Karamojong Villages

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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