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At UN, Nepal Opposition Letter Delayed & Ignored, Landgren to Burundi

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 5 -- Two weeks before the mandate of the UN Mission in Nepal was set to expire, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named UNMIN chief Karin Landgren as his representative to Burundi.

This telegraphed that the UN would ignore the plea by the Nepali opposition that the UN stay on. On January 3, Inner City Press e-mailed Ms. Landgren some simple questions, asking her

to state your current role in Burundi. Charles Petrie told me he was leaving November 1, then December 31. Are you currently handling both Nepal and Burundi? Who is currently in charge of UNMIN? And when will you arrive in Burundi? Who is in charge there right now?”

There was no answer, so Inner City Press sought to ask the question at the UN's noon briefing on January 4. Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky pointedly did not allow the question, walking about of the room.

On January 5, Inner City Press again tried to ask Nesirky, finally blurting out, “Why did Ban Ki-moon move Karin Landgren to Burundi?” Nesirky again refused to answer, using the time instead to say that the Security Council was meeting about Nepal later in the day, and claiming that there was no time for him to answer, since the Bosnian president of the Council was about to begin. (The Bosnian briefing did not start for at least another ten minutes).

  Nevertheless, after the repeated refusal to answer the Nepal questions, Nesirky's office sent this:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 12:55 PM
Subject: Your question on Karin Landgren
To: Inner City Press

Ms. Karin Landgren was named by the Secretary-General on 31st December to be the new SRSG in Burundi. She remains currently in charge of our mission in Nepal, UNMIN, and will continue there through the scheduled end of its mandate on 15 January. She will take up responsibilities in Burundi soon thereafter. Mr. Charles Petrie left Burundi on 26 December. Until the arrival of Ms. Landgren, the Chief of Staff of BINUB in Bujumbura has been designated as Officer in Charge.

The question remains, why so publicly pull Landgren from Nepal even as the opposition was calling for the UN to stay, and writing to the Security Council to make that request?

  While Nesirky's Office told Inner City Press that the letter was received on January 3, on January 4 a Permanent Five member of the Council's Permanent Representative told Inner City Press that the letter had not been circulated. That took place on the morning of January 5. When Inner City Press asked this month's Council president about the letter at the stakeout, after he read a short press statement, the President refused to answer. Video here.

Landgren in the Council, soon to be on Burundi, shallow bench not shown

It appears that because Charles Petrie was leaving Burundi on December 26 -- after quitting on November 1 -- the UN felt a need to name a replacement as of December 31. This reflects, using a sports team metaphor,  how shallow the UN's bench of diplomats is: there was apparently no one else to take over in Burundi.  Watch this site.

Footnote: India's ambassador, on his way into the Council on January 4, told Inner City Press that UNMIS was "over... wind up." The Council President told Inner City Press on January 5 that most on the Council thought the Mission should end. Another Council diplomat explained: for five years, no progress, but they kept asking us to stay. Now we are leaving. "Good riddance."

* * *

Amid Calls in Nepal for UN to Stay, Ban Reassigns Landgren, Limits Talks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 3 -- Amid calls from some in Nepal for the UN to stay, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has re-assigned his top envoy from Nepal, Karin Landgren, to another rudderless UN Mission, in Burundi.

  Inner City Press asked the UN for its response to the request that it stay in Nepal to deal with the rebel fighters still in the cantonments. The UN responded:

Date: Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 1:16 PM
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Subject: Answer
To: Inner City Press

On Nepal

"We received the letter from the Government of Nepal on 3 January and will respond. We have been in detailed discussions with the government over the disposal of UNMIN assets."

  By limiting the discussion to the “disposal of UNMIN assets,” the UN Secretariat has already in essence answered the letter, in the negative: No. The same was true of re-assigning Ms. Landgren to replace Charles Petrie in Burundi, when there were still two weeks to go in the UN's Nepal mandate.

  The UN Security Council is slated to hear from Ms. Landgren on January 5, the second working day of Bosnia's Council presidency.

Ms. Landgren, Nepali fortnight not shown

  But Ban has already pre-determined things with his re-assignment of Ms. Landgren.

Some used to think the UN had done a good job in Nepal. Its manner of leaving now seems to disprove that.

   Is it any wonder that troubled Burundi demanded the shrinking of the UN's Burundi mission from 450 staff to a mere 60? And when WILL Charles Petrie re-surface in Somalia, and wearing what hat? Watch this site.

* * *

UN Resignation of Petrie Caused by Inaction on Staff Genocidaire, UN No Comments

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 20 -- The UN moved Charles Petrie from Somalia to Burundi in April of this year, and now on November 1 he is leaving the employ of the UN.

  On October 19, Inner City Press asked the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq why Petrie is leaving. He is not being thrown out of the country, Haq said. “Clearly, he has been talking about this, and so, you could get the answer just as easily from Mr. Petrie. I wouldn’t have any way of adding to his own comments.”

  But a September 30 resignation letter from Petrie to Ban Ki-moon, obtained elsewhere in New York by Inner City Press, shows that Petrie is choosing to leave the whole UN system, due to the UN's inaction on genocidaire Callixte Mbarushimana, and that while he will now work part time on Somalia, it will not be through the UN, but on behalf of European donors.

  For a UN official to leave the UN system due to its failure to act on a genocidaire who worked for the UN is news -- which may be why Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson's Office has refused to say anything. Back on October 11, Inner City Press asked

Inner City Press: does the UN have any comment on the arrest in Paris of Callixte Mbarushimana?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: I know who you mean, and this is an ICC [International Criminal Court] arrest. We’ve seen the same press release or statement that you have on this person…

Inner City Press: He worked for the UN; I am wondering what the response…

Spokesperson Nesirky: We of course know where he worked before, and you also know the full history to that. What I can simply say is that we are aware in the same way that you are — from the media and from their press release — that the International Criminal Court has announced that this man was arrested earlier today in Paris by the French authorities following a sealed ICC arrest warrant. That’s what I can tell you.

   But the UN could have said more.

UN's Ban with Petrie, inaction on genocidaire and resignation not shown

  The public record shows that Petrie was the UN's Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Rwanda at the time of the 1994 genocide. In his September 30 letter of resignation to Ban, Petrie urged

the UN to come to terms with the case of Callixte Mbarushimana, a former staff member of UNDP (1992 - 1995 Rwanda, 1996 - 1998 Angola) and later UNMIK (2000-2001), accusing of having participated in the murder of thirty-three people at the time of Rwanda's genocide, among [them] UN colleagues. To a large part as a result of the UN's inability, or unwillingness, to initiate an investigation of the accusations that were know to it by 1996, Callixte Mbarushimana won a legal action against the UN in 2004 which resulted in the organization paying his thirteen months salary as compensation for the 'violation of his rights.'”

   The UN could have addressed this, but didn't. Perhaps the “review” that Petrie's letter to Ban says he will embark on will help address this. Watch this site.

 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.

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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

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