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At UN, Budget Endgame on Peacekeeper Funds Tied to Sexual Abuse, Vote Delayed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 30 -- On the day that funding for UN peacekeepers would expire, the UN Budget committee postponed a vote, already repeatedly put off, on the new budget that was scheduled for 3 pm.

  Among the most interesting issues in the air duing the endgame is whether peacekeeping money should be paid out to troops have been accused of sexual abuse or exploitation.

   In the North Lawn conference room where a vote was already supposed to have taken place, Inner City Press spoke with Shavendra Silva, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, a group of whose peacekeepers had been repatriated from the UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, after being charged with sexual abuse of underaged girls.

  Neither the UN nor Sri Lanka has ever reported on any discipline of the accused Sri Lankan troops after their repatriation.

  Thursday at 5 pm in the North Lawn building while mid-level diplomats lounged waiting in the downstairs conference room, upstairs UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip Parham strode with an entourage out of the office of the Group of 77 and China, which is pushing for a long delayed raise for the UN's peacekeepers, generally from the developing world.

  Ten minutes later, the European Union's top diplomat in New York returned down G-77 hallway in his light colored summer suit. Outside diplomats from Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Cuba milled around talking on their cell phones.

  Downstairs African diplomats told Inner City Press that rather than the usual consensus, there would be a vote on this budget. Security officers asked how long they would have to work this coming evening.

  On the other hand, Inner City Press spotted President of the General Assembly Joseph Deiss leaving the UN, with a body guard and a red rolling suitcase. "What about the budget?" Inner City Press asked. "We have a deal," Deiss said. But the milling around continued long after he left.

  Inner City Press asked Serbia's Permanent Representative if he was here for budget. “Yes,” he said. “If it's a showdown they want, it's a showdown they'll get.” But at the UN these things are usually worked out. Watch this site.

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At UN on Abyei Resolution, Western Delay on Budget & Bombing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 24 -- With much talk of the urgency of authorizing and sending Ethiopian troops to Abyei in Sudan, a split has developed in the Security Council about the timing and contents of the necessary Council resolution.

  Within the Council's Permanent Five members, there's both support for adopting the Abyei resolution on Friday June 24, to get the clock running. Other P-5 members want a briefing from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and have an additional round of amendments.

  Blame for delay is usually cast on Russia and China, as on the moribund Syria resolution. But in this case, the United Kingdom acknowledges having more amendments, and not seeing a difference on the ground for waiting until next week. Sources on June 24 told Inner City Press that France too is for delay. French Ambassador Gerard Araud was observed on June 22 outside the closed meeting on Darfur complaining about the budget.

  The issues on content involve not only whether and how much -- if any -- of the criticism of Khartoum's bombing in Abyei and South Kordofan to migrate from the draft Presidential Statement introduced earlier in the week by the United States, but also what relation the Ethiopian force will have with the post July 9 UN mission in South Sudan.

  Some feel that doesn't need to be decided at this time, in a way that results in any delay of adopting the Abyei resolution authorizing the Ethiopian troops to deploy to Abyei.

  Following the UN's confirmation this week of Inner City Press' scoop that Norway's Hilde Johnson has been tapped by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to succeed Haile Menkerios for the UN in South Sudan, seemingly at the request of the US Mission and Ambassador Susan Rice, some pushback has developed in the Security Council, where praise of Menkerios is contrasted to Hilde Johnson's history as an advocate.

  Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the Council has been consulted or coordinated with before Ban tapped Hilde Johnson. Comments on June 24 did not seem to bear that out. Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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