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UN's Landgren Spoke of Withholding from Nepal Equipment that India Gave

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 14 -- After UN envoy Karin Landgren told the UN Security Council earlier this month that the “monitoring equipment” could not be left in Nepal without an agreement, Inner City Press repeatedly asked the UN for clarification. None came.

  Now it emerges that the equipment was given by India, and that India has told Nepal it can keep it. The UN has nothing to say, contrary to Landgren's speech to the Security Council, which has been widely criticized in Nepal.

  Inner City Press also repeatedly asked the UN why Secretary General Ban Ki-moon jumped the gun and named Landgren as his next envoy to Burundi on December 31, while the parties in Nepal still had two weeks in which they might have made a joint request for the UN Mission in Nepal to stay.

  While the UN answered that Landgren would not begin in Burundi as Charles Petrie's replacement until January 15, that did not answer the question. Why did Ban jump the gun and telegraph the UN's unwillingness to stay in Nepal, even if both parties asked?

  A Security Council sources tells Inner City Press that the UN was just “sick of Nepal,” that the parties weren't negotiating and solving things. But other say this is also true to some extent in Cyprus, the Former Yuguslav Republic of Macedonia, the Middle East and elsewere from which the UN doesn't leave. The UN has been asked to leave Cote d'Ivoire, and hasn't.

 So why the flight from and flubs in Nepal? Watch this site.

Landgren in the Council, Indian equipment not shown

From the UN's January 13 transcript

Inner City Press: since there’s no noon briefing tomorrow, I just wanted to ask — one is Nepal, and the pullout of the UNMIN [United Nations Mission in Nepal] mission. There had been some discussion of leaving behind the monitoring equipment — either on a loan basis, or — what’s going to actually happen with the equipment on the 15th, given that that’s the deadline?

Spokesperson: I’ll check on both of them for you, Matthew.

But at close of business the next day January 14, no answer had been provided. Watch this site.

* * *

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.

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."

 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

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