Inner City Press

Inner City Press -- Investigative Reporting From the Inner City to Wall Street to the United Nations

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

  Search Search WWW (censored?)

In Other Media-eg Nigeria, Zim, Georgia, Nepal, Somalia, Azerbaijan, Gambia Click here to contact us     .


Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


Subscribe to RSS feed

Video (new)

Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

Reuters AlertNet 7/14/07

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

In NY, Libya's Empty Building Rings with Sudan's Spin, Lobster But No Rice

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

UNITED NATIONS, March 30 -- As in Washington US President Barack Obama met with his new envoy for Darfur Scott Gration about the expulsion from Darfur of ten non-governmental organizations, at an event of the UN Security Council it was counter-argued that after September 11, 2001 the US expelled a number of Muslim NGOs. Libya, which served as Council president for March, threw an end of presidency reception Monday night in its half-empty office building on 48th Street.

   Amid a crowd of diplomats and platters of lobster tails, allegations of double standards flew. In India after the tsunami, one Arab ambassador who served in New Delhi said, no foreign NGOs were allowed, and Sri Lanka has barred international NGOs and journalists from the northern conflict zone for some time, with minimal outside protest. “They are not NGOs, they are GO's, governmental organizations,” he said, adding that even before the International Criminal Court judges handed down their indictment of Sudan's president, MSF-Holland was nearly expelled from the country for “transporting witnesses,” only being allowed to stay after the Dutch Ambassador pleaded their case. “Where is Susan Rice?” one African Ambassador demanded, directing the question to Inner City Press, which offered, perhaps in Washington.

   Some most concerned with the North Korean launch slated from April 4 to 9 wondered as how little the U.S. has said, at least at the UN, in the run-up to that date. A Presidency source said, with seeming confidence, that the launch “will take place Saturday at midnight in New York, which is noon in Korea. There will be emergency Council consultations Sunday at noon, first about the format, and then a meeting in the chamber.” Last time, North Korea denounced the Council as “brigandish” and “gangster-like.” Somewhere, a thesaurus is being deployed.

   Libya's 26-story office building was begun in 1978 and completed in 1980, just as the US imposed sanctions on Libya, a diplomat explained. That made it illegal for Libya to rent out the floors it doesn't need. Now, Libya's Mission to the UN occupies three floors, and the Permanent Representative has two whole floors for his residence. The rest is empty. Next year, a Libyan is slated to become President of the UN General Assembly. What impact that might have on occupancy of the unused floors of Libya's building is not known.

Libya House, half empty, sanctions and crumbling cement not shown

Footnote: at Monday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked about two different dollar figures the UN gave out for cost savings from its involvement in Earth Hour, for which the lights were turned out for one hour on March 28: $81,000 and just over one hundred dollars. UN Spokesperson Michele Montas replied

Spokesperson Montas:  I think it’s putting the emphasis on the wrong thing.  I don’t know, I don’t have the exact number.  The emphasis should be it was a general worldwide effort to try to, it was not save money for the UN, that was not the objective.  The objective was to attract attention to energy use, it was to attract attention on climate change, and I think it achieved that.  When the lights went off at the Empire State Building, it attracted attention, maybe even more than it did right here at the UN.  So I don’t think it’s that important to find out what the exact number was.  I think we got conflicting numbers from different buildings management and different other management groups here within the building.  So I am not sure of what the final number is.  However, I really want to stress that was not the objective.

Inner City Press:  There is something I had asked I think about a week ago upstairs, [on] two of the envoys.  One is Romano Prodi and the other is Mr. [Olusegun] Obasanjo.  How they are paid and how much they’ve been paid so far under each mandate?  Not without counting, but the Prodi question so far hasn’t been answered, I was told DPKO would be answering it but there is nothing… But for that report that you did no African peacekeeping and Mr. Obasanjo’s ongoing role, just to add some statement on it, what’s being paid in his case?

Spokesperson:  Okay, I’ll check for you.  I think in the case of Mr. Obasanjo it is that he is paid when actually employed.

Inner City Press:  It wasn’t clear whether his mandate was ongoing or whether it was a one-shot deal.  So if you could just figure that out.

Spokesperson:  From what I gather it was a one shot deal.

Inner City Press:  (Inaudible) how much it was…

Spokesperson:  We can try to get in touch, or put you in touch with the people who can give you an answer.

[The Spokesperson later added that Romano Prodi’s contract finished when his Panel concluded its work last December.]

This last was added into the briefing transcript by the UN. But how much was Prodi paid? The question has still not been answered. And so it goes at the UN.

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

Feedback: Editorial [at]

UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

  Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

            Copyright 2006-08 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] -