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At UN on Libya, Ban Behind Closed Doors, Ukraine Clarifies, Turkey's Request

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24 -- The involvement of the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the military action on Libya is meant to give the action and bombing legitimacy.

  But there has been little transparency to date about Ban and Libya, beginning with who pays his envoy Abdul Ilah Al-Khatib, click here for that.

  But even Ban's briefing to the Security Council on March 24 will be two thirds or more in secret. The Council presidency has told Inner City Press that after a “one page” open briefing by Ban on Resolution 1973, he will move behind closed doors to brief on “The Situation in Libya,” then about his protested trips to Egypt and Tunisia.

  His short briefing on 1973 will involving enumerating the countries which have provided notifications under the resolution. This is currently presented as twelve, but as Inner City Press reported on March 23, the status of Ukraine is in flux.

Ukraine provided notice, then sent subsequent letters that all they want to do is come in to take their nationals out. Now moves are afoot to create two lists: those supporting military action, and those providing notice for a exemption from the no fly zone.

  Even the African Union may have to provide such a notice -- but it has not supported the military action.

Now Turkey is asking the UN to provide some clarification to NATO, and the UN Department of Political Affairs is not sure how to respond.

The Libya Sanctions committee provided for by resolution 1970 has yet to meet. Now, Inner City Press is informed that it will meet on March 25, then brief the Council on short turn around on March 28. Will all these sessions be closed? Watch this site.

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With UN on Libya, 12 Notifiers May Mean Less Than That: Ukraine & UAE Cases

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- Still only 12 countries are listed as having provided notice to the UN under Security Council Resolution 1973, the same number as on the morning of March 22.

  The number of actual “partners” may even be lower. Beyond backtracking by the United Arab Emirates, based on “the West's position on Bahrain,” a well placed Council diplomat on Wednesday morning told Inner City Press that Ukraine, despite being announced by the UN as a notifier, is primarily concerned with its own citizens.

  On Tuesday, after first reporting Ukraine on the Security Council's list, Inner City Press questioned how a country which took more than a month to come through with attack helicopters for the UN Mission in Cote d'Ivoire would be able to meaningfully participate in what the US is calling Operation Odyssey Dawn.

  While the UN's list of twelve is sometimes presented as a list of supporters of the no fly zone and even bombing, when Pressed at Wednesday's noon briefing, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky insisted he had made it clear on Tuesday that these are only letter writers.

Here is what Nesirky said on March 22, about the UAE not yet Ukraine:

Spokesperson Nesirky: They notified the Secretariat under the terms of the resolution. I did not say that they will be taking part in enforcing a no-fly zone; I didn’t say that... I haven’t seen their notification, the specific letter, I haven’t seen that letter. We need to be clear that each of the countries, when notifying the Secretariat and when we transmit that notification to the Security Council, that notification can take different forms. The content is not the same for each one. Each country is saying something different about what measures it is taking or simply how it is supporting the resolution. But the details of each of those would need to come from the Member States concerned...If a Member State requests that a document should be circulated, in other words, made an official document that is circulated and available, then that will be done. But I don’t know any specific case what has happened.

The UN's daily Journal does on a delay include the letters, at least Ukraine's initial letter - click here. But Council sources say that Ukraine's position is not as described.

Inner City Press asked Nesirky if, even belatedly, the Secretary General and his Spokesperson's Office can provide public disclosure of these letters more frequently than the day's noon briefing. When we get then, we'll tell you, Nesirky said. We'll see.

Footnotes: Inner City Press asked Nesirky if Ban Ki-moon would like his briefing(s) on March 24 to teh Security Council to be public -- the one about his trip is thought to be closed door, but why shouldn't his briefing about Resolution 1973 be public? Punting, Nesirky said that is entirely up to the Council. So much for leadership on transparency.

 Nesirky also refused again to state whether Ban's envoy to Libya al-Khatib is a UN staff member, an Under Secretary General, or to confirm that he is still paid -- in seeming violation of the UN Charter -- by the government of Jordan, a country which has not yet notified under Resolution 1973 despite UK claims.

* * *

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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