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

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UN Libya Sanctions Chair Says No Arms to Rebels, US Says It Can as Obama to NY

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 28 -- On the Libya arms embargo, things get more and more strange. On Monday Chairman Cabral of the UN Libya Sanctions Committee stated on camera that there is a full embargo on arms to Libya, including to the rebels.

  When he was told, as Inner City Press and other have been, that the UK is seeking a legal opinion, Cabral said this was just talk, and reiterated his reading of the resolution: a full arms embargo. This position has been echoed to Inner City Press by other Security Council members.

  How then can not only Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney on March 25, but also Defense Secretary Robert Gates on March 27, say that the UN resolutions have the flexibility to allow for arms transfers to the rebels?

  Skeptics at the UN say that if the George W. Bush administration was making such comments, there would howling about their contempt for international law and multi-lateralism. But now very little is being said. Would this silence continue if the US did in fact more to arm the rebels?

The US did not even raise the issue to debate it in the Sanctions Committee's first meeting on March 25, Inner City Press is reliably informed.

Susan Rice, Obama and Clinton, negotiation of Paragraph 4 and new position not shown

 At the March 28 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Martin Nesirky about two of the requests that were discussed in that meeting, by Belarus and Senegal:

Inner City Press: has Kuwait written a letter to the Council under resolution 1973 (2011)? And also, there are supposedly some notes verbale that went in and I wanted to know what… if you can confirm one from Belarus and Senegal, and describe what they concerned.

Spokesperson Nesirky: As you know, when we have had notifications that have gone through to the Council, then we have been advising you. I don’t have any update beyond the numbers that the Secretary-General used. And I know that the question was posed during the briefing on Friday; we don’t have any further update on notifications since then.

Inner City Press: And do you know, this thing on Ukraine, because you’ve been the one to announce Ukraine and then take it off, could we, just for the purposes of transparency, understand why it was on and then off?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, we did go through this a number of times, and I know it was raised again here on Friday. So, I don’t think we need to…

Inner City Press: But we didn’t really get to why did it go on and then come out.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, as I mentioned to you before, there are different kinds of notification under the terms of the resolution. Some are relating to military action and others not. And so I think it needs to be seen in that context, as well. And if there are further updates, then obviously we will make sure that the people have those.

Inner City Press: And just also on Libya, on the Envoy, Mr. [Abdul Ilah] Khatib, I wanted to know a couple of things. I have been told that there is an OLA [Office for Legal Affairs] ruling that he cannot receive funds from Jordan and as a full-time Envoy at the same time. I wanted you to either confirm or deny that. And also that he has requested to work out of Amman, and has requested the use of private planes only.

Spokesperson Nesirky: As I have said to you, and as Farhan [Haq] said to you on Friday, there are some details that are still being worked out with regard to the contract, as Farhan mentioned to you on Friday. I don’t have anything to add to that at the moment.

While the UN Secretariat, ostensibly coordinating the action in Libya, still has not answered, Inner City Press can now report that another note verbal was submitted by Malta. We have made inquiries with the Maltese Mission and will report more on this.

President Barack Obama is slated to dedicate the new US Mission to the UN building on Tuesday afternoon. Some are wondering if, for the photo op, USUN has invited anti-Gaddafi Libyan diplomats Ibrahim Dabbashi and Shalgam, who while no longer representing Libya at the UN have been given courtesy passes by the Ban Ki-moon administration of the UN. Watch this site.

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At UN on Libya, US Didn't Raise Arming Rebels in 1st Session on Sanctions

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 27 -- Barely an hour after Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney argued in a Washington press conference that the UN Security Council resolutions imposing an arms embargo on Libya have the “flexibility” to allow arming the Benghazi based rebels, the US took part in the first meeting of the Council's Libya sanctions committee.

In the closed door meeting, however, the US did not disclose or argue for the permissibility of any plans to arm the rebels, the Portuguese committee chair Jose Filipe Mendes Moraes Cabral on the record and a range of other participants told Inner City Press.

According to sources in the meeting -- not the Chairman or anyone in the Portuguese Mission -- the US representative asked only to discuss additions to the sanctions list, and asked that the rules of the committee be called “provisional,” allowing future changes.

No date for a second meeting of the committee was agreed to, or requested by the US.

As the US knows, the chairman of the committee has expressed his view that the wordings of the two resolutions, including a phrase in Paragraph 4 of Resolution 1973 that seems to create an exception to the arms embargo, do not permit giving weapons to the rebels.

And after the meeting, other members of the committee including a country with a population over one billion said it was “absolutely clear” that the resolutions do not allow for arming the rebels.

A source in the room while Resolution 1973 was being negotiated said that US Permanent Representative Susan Rice explained that she needed the “notwithstanding” loophole for a situation in which the US might have to go in with weapons to save a downed pilot, and wouldn't want merely carrying weapons to violate the arms embargo.

So the US said one thing at the UN to explain, as quasi legislative history history, an exception in the arms embargo, and now says another thing from Washington.

  (Susan Rice, it's said, will be back at the UN on Monday.)

   Chairman Cabral has explained that the sanctions committee could take up the possibility of arming the rebels. But if the US just did it, the committee would have to be unanimous to condemn it.

  It is similar to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon naming Jordanian businessman and Senator Al Khatib as the UN's envoy to Libya despite financial conflicts of interest, then saying that a financial disclosure not due until March 2012 is the only way and time to address it. Ah, the rule of law. Watch this site.

Footnotes: also in the first meeting of the Libya sanctions committee meeting, there was discussion of a query from Belarus about the scope of the resolution's asset freeze -- the US proposed a response that the freeze did NOT apply to the entities Belarus asked about -- and a recitation of approval given an emergency basis to a request by Senegal to extract its citizens from Libya on a Gambian plane.

All of these make more clear the lack of transparency of the process. Ukraine wrote it about extracting its national, and got listed as one of the dozen supporting the no fly zone. They protested, and were dropped from the list.

  Others have written in, but call it a “note verbal,” and are not listed. And STILL the UN Spokesperson's office has not confirmed what Inner City Press reported on March 25, that Kuwait wrote in to say it will help with humanitarian. Some system.

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UN Envoy Al Khatib Is On Board of Jordan Ahli Bank, Links With Libya Central Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- In selecting Abdul Ilah al Khatib as the UN's envoy on Libya, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved quickly -- maybe too quickly.

 Since serving as the foreign minister of Jordan, describe even some close to Ban as an autocracy, al Khatib has served on the boards of director not only of Lafarge Jordan Cement Company but also of Jordan Ahli Bank.

Jordan Ahli Bank is active beyond that country's borders. A sample connection: along with Libyan Foreign Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Libya, Jordan Ahli Bank is a top 20 shareholder of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises.

   Could there be conflicts of interest? Did the UN's Ban administration even consider these?

   Ban previously claimed that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure. But when Inner City Press showed this is not true -- even Ban's close ally Choi Young-jin, his envoy in Cote d'Ivoire, declined to make public financial disclosure -- Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban's statement had been “metaphorical.”

Now Ban names and injects al Khatib into a struggle about democracy and free press, when as Inner City Press noted yesterday

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."

  By what process was al-Khatib vetted and selected? Watch this site.

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

 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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