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At UN on Libya, ICC and Conservatives Lurk in UK Draft, US Called AWOL, No-Fly Won't Fly?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, February 25, updated -- While at the UN Security Council the UK draft resolution on Libya, on which Inner City Press reported exclusively mid-Thursday had not yet been circulated late on Friday morning, Council member sources described the issues to Inner City Press.

“The usual package,” one said, “arms embargo and travel bans.”

  The source did not predict the inclusion of a no-fly zone, which NATO is discussing, but did predict a fight over inclusion of language about the International Criminal Court.

 Earlier in the week, the ICC, Prosecutor put out a press release that he can only get involved if the Council makes a referral, as it did on Darfur. Ironically, there are moves afoot to suspend ICC prosecution of Sudan's Omar al Bashir, just as referral of Gadhafi and his sons is considered.

  Several Council sources marveled at how quiet the United States has been. “Is it just because Susan Rice is away?” one asked, referring to the US Permanent Representative's trip to South Africa for a UN sustainability conference.

UN's Ban & Gadhafi, Goodwill Ambassador daughter firing not shown- or heard

Others put the UK draft resolution in the context of UK politics. “This is the Conservatives sticking it to Labor,” one said. “Labor cut the deal with Libya, and now the Conservatives want to make them look bad.”

One of Gadhafi's sons has called for Tony Blair to him “crush” the Colonel's enemies, according to the Daily Mail, and UK firms did recently sell weapons to Gadhafi. We've yet to hear the UK Mission to the UN address this.

Ban Ki-moon will brief the Council Friday at 3 pm, then talk to the media at 4:20. It is expected that some Council members will ask for a delay in any vote on the resolution, and that others will demand weekend meetings to show their seriousness, as one source put it. Watch this site.

Update of 11:17 am - the UK and France have circulated elements of the draft resolution to other EU members, Inner City Press is told -- again with the question why the US is so AWOL.

Update of 2:26 pm - At Libya's Mission to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi held another presser, telling Arabic media that an International Criminal Court reference WILL be in the draft resolution. Inner City Press has replied to the US Mission's Twitter response, asking for US positions: watch this site (or Twitter).

* * *

At UN on Libya, UK Quietly Drafts a Resolution, Ban to Brief, Gadhafi Kin with UN?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 24 -- With criticism mounting about inaction on Libya by the UN and the Security Council the UK is preparing a resolution, Inner City Press is told, while Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is being asked to brief the Council on Friday.

This was hard won news, as Western countries' diplomats were saying very little. The US is represented by Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo, with Perm Rep Susan Rice away in South Africa for a UN sustainability panel. DiCarlo said only, “We are all very concerned.” UK Perm Rep Mark Lyall Grant ignored shouted questions on his way into the Council.

Other sources, though, said that the UK is drafting a resolution, and that in Thursday's “Any Other Business” consultations, it was decided to ask Ban Ki-moon himself to briefing, since Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe will be out of town in Egypt.

At Thursday's noon press briefing, Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky was asked if Ban is in favor of Libya being thrown off the Human Rights Council. He replied, that's up to the states on the Human Rights Council -- HRC, or as someone snarked, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is headed there on Monday.

Inner City Press had asked Nesirky since February 20 about Aicha Gadhafi, daughter of the Colonel, being a UN system Goodwill Ambassador. After refusing to answer by email, at the February 22 noon briefing when Inner City Press asked in person, Nesirky said he “understood” she is a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, on AIDS. On February 23 he announced, in response to questions from the previous day, that she was fired by UNDP.

But Thursday in Tripoli, Aicha Gadhafi said she had heard nothing from the UN system about no longer being a Goodwill Ambassador. Inner City Press asked Nesirky how Aicha was informed. Ask UNDP he said, adding that he had been clear. We'll see.

Footnotes: The UK being the quiet drafter is ironic: Beyond the current controversy about delay in getting UK nationals out of Libya, it's reported that Gadhafi's “Khamis Brigade was supplied with the British-made Bowman tactical communications and data system in a $165 million deal with General Dynamics UK.”

   While Switzerland has gone forward to freeze Gadhafi's assets, it echoed Switzerland previously blocking Libyan diplomats from travel to Europe, after a spat about Gadhafi's son's physical violence in Switzerland and Gadhafi's call for a jihad. One of the officials blocked, it was reported, was then President of the UN General Assembly Ali Treki.

  Where is Treki now? Permanant Representative Shalgam, it's said, is at his -- or Libya's -- house in New Jersey, brooding and “very emotional.” On the Libyan mission on 48th Street, the new/old black Libyan flag is flying, reportedly allowed by Deputy Perm Rep Dabbashi.

* * *

On Libya, As Malloch Brown Hopes Gadhafi Kin Not UNDP Ambassador, Belated Firing, Ban Ki-moon Dodges

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 23 -- Amid the UN's sudden claims to be getting tough with Libya, Inner City Press since February 20 has been reporting that the UN system named Aicha Gadhafi, the Colonel's daughter, a Goodwill Ambassador.

  Inner City Press sought comment in writing from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky, without answer.

On February 22, Inner City Press asked at the noon briefing for confirmation:

Inner City Press: can you confirm that Colonel Qadhafi’s daughter, Ayesha, is a UN system Goodwill Ambassador with a Laissez-Passer that remains open until 2013? And what does… If so, what does the Secretary-General think about this goodwill ambassadorship? Will it be revoked? Is it, what is your position on it?

Spokesperson Nesirky: As I understand it, she is a national Goodwill Ambassador in Libya for UNDP [United Nations Development Programme]. On the other details you have asked, I will check.

Since Nesirky had checked and gotten the answer from and about UNDP, it is unclear why he didn't answer the pending written question. Perhaps he hoped that, with briefings truncated by meetings, the question couldn't be asked in person.

On February 23, in person, Inner City Press asked former UNDP Administration Mark Malloch Brown about Aicha Gadhafi being a Goodwill Ambassador.

I hope she's not a UNDP Ambassador,” he said. “I don't think it's UNDP. I was surprised when I saw that... she was an Ambassador to any part of the UN system.”

But it was UNDP. And only on February 23, the day after Nesirky's first confirmation, did the UN announce a belated removal of the Ambassadorship:

I was asked yesterday whether one of Colonel [Muammar] Qadhafi’s daughters is a Goodwill Ambassador. And as I mentioned, Aisha al-Qadhafi was appointed as National UNDP Goodwill Ambassador for Libya on 24 July 2009. Her appointment at that time enabled UNDP to address the issues of HIV/AIDS and violence against women in Libya, both culturally sensitive topics in the country. Following the recent events, UNDP has terminated the agreement with Ms. Qadhafi, based on article 30 of the UN Guidelines for the Designation of Goodwill Ambassadors and Messengers of Peace. By the way, I can tell you that UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors do not get paid, they volunteer their time, and they do not hold UN laissez-passer travel documents.”

Later on February 23, Ban Ki-moon appeared at the UN North Lawn second floor stakeout and took a handful of questions. When asked if he was calling on Gadhafi to step down, Ban dodged the question then left.

At Malloch Brown's event, the selling of his new book “The Unfinished Global Revolution” in the UN bookstore, Inner City Press asked him about the process for selection the UN Secretary General. He replied that he had wished Ban's 2006 selection had included “hustings and manifestos.”

  He contrasted this with the “two most successful Secretaries General, Dag Hammarskjold and Kofi Annan,” while noting that those who voted for them hadn't read their biographies.

  Under Dag Hammarskhold, would the daughter of Libya's dictator, who killed his opponents as far back as the 1970s, have been made a UN system Goodwill Ambassador? Watch this site.

Footnote: Malloch Brown, before answering Inner City Press' question, said it should buy a copy of his book, for the “pain extracted from me for so many years.” While it may refer back to some profanity he used, compared to current UN system leadership, at least Malloch Brown purports to take and answer questions.

* * *

As Libya Kills Protesters, Gadhafi Daughter is UN Ambassador, UNDP Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 20 -- As in Libya the forces, including mercenaries, of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi shoot and kill peaceful protesters, the UN has been nearly entirely silent.

  On the morning of February 20, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

In the wake of the gunning down of 46 democracy protesters in Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi, by security forces under the command of Colonel Gadafi, is the UN reassessing its relationship with Col Gadhafi’s daughter, Aicha, who the UN has designated a “Goodwill Ambassador?

Has the Secretary-General sought to use the UN’s special relationship with its Goodwill Ambassador Dr Aicha Gadhafi to persuade her father not to use such excessive force against peaceful demonstrators?

  Nine hours later, no response at all from the UN. Inner City Press also asked Ban's spokesman Nesirky “in this context, the Secretary-General's planned trip to California to meet and greet 'the entertainment industry,' how much is this trip costing, and is it funded by the Regular Budget of the UN -- and if not, what is the funding source?” Again, no answer.

On February 17, Inner City Press had asked Nesirky

Inner City Press: Is there any thought of using the existing UN programs on the ground, whether it is UNDP or otherwise? There was some criticism of this training of police in Egypt prior to the — there was criticism by NGOs that it didn’t bring in human rights activists but rather Government people. Is there some thinking of how — the UNDP website about Libya hasn’t been updated now in several months, I guess — it seems to some, due to the turmoil. What about these UN…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Who might that be? Who is it, these people who think it might be?

Inner City Press: People that look at it and have seen that it was updated all the way, until suddenly there was turmoil in the country and then it is not updated any more.

Inner City Press: What’s the role, according to the Secretary-General, of the existing UN programmes in countries like Libya and Yemen, where Helen Clark visited and didn’t say anything about democracy?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, there are lots of, as you know, across the region, there is a UN presence in different constellations; country teams with different components, whether it is UNDP or other UN agencies, funds and programmes. Of course, given that they are already on the ground, given that they have been working there in different capacities on different projects, they are well placed to be further involved. But this is part of a bigger picture, and it is being very carefully coordinated.

Inner City Press: Is there any change of policy? I guess I am saying, given that the announcement today that the UN is sort of taking cognizance of all this, is there, is that…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, Matthew, it’s hardly an announcement today. This is something that has been said consistently for a number of weeks now. And indeed, further back, as you know, the Human Development Reports on the Arab world have been saying this for the best part of a decade. So, okay, thank you very much.

But what had the UN been doing about Libya? Watch this site.

 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.

* * *

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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