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

On Sri Lanka, UN Adopts "Janus Face," Half Calling to Stop Fighting, Hedging Bets

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

UNITED NATIONS, April 8 -- The day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declined to call for a ceasefire or even suspension of fighting in Sri Lanka, his top humanitarian official John Holmes published an opinion piece in the UK Guardian calling for just such a pause. At the UN's noon briefing in New York, Inner City Press asked if Holmes' piece is now the UN's position. Ban's spokesperson Michele Montas said, "You will have something more precise on this tomorrow... or the next day." Video here, from Minute 11:33.

   Close observers tell Inner City Press that the UN wants to have it both ways. Given the resistance of Sri Lanka's government to any criticism, Ban does not want to call even for a humanitarian pause. But if the "bloodbath on the beach" now predicted by Holmes takes place, the UN doesn't want to be blamed. By publishing his article, by adopting a Janus face, the UN covers its bet.

UN's Ban and Holmes, ceasefire or no ceasefire, some say "Janus face"

  Meanwhile, the UN-affiliated International Monetary Fund is slated to deliberate on April 25 on Sri Lanka's request for a $2 billion loan to make up for money spent in the military action, and for the detention camps in the north. Some say that with the commitments made to the IMF during the recent G-20 meeting in London, $2 billion is "peanuts.... who cares about human rights?"

From the transcript of the April 8 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: Michele, on this, the piece by John Holmes in The Guardian, I mean, that’s the UN’s call or is it John Holmes’ personal call?  I’m just trying to judge whether it was…

Spokesperson Montas:  John Holmes speaks not just in his capacity as the humanitarian coordinator, he speaks for the UN.

Inner City Press: I mean, we were both there when the Secretary-General yesterday… he seemed to be calling just for the Government to comply with international humanitarian law as it conducts its… whereas John Holmes is saying there should be a cease… you know, a suspension of hostilities.  Which is the UN calling for?

Spokesperson:  I can tell you that we will have something more precise on this tomorrow.

Inner City Press:  Okay.

  Watch this site.

  Click here for a new YouTube 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

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] -