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After Ivorian One-Off, Red Flag on African Elections for UN, Anderson's Farewell

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 11 -- When American diplomat Brooke D. Anderson was tapped to move from the US Mission to the UN in New York to become deputy chief of the National Security Agency in Washington, another Ambassador on the UN Security Council commiserated with Inner City Press what a “big loss to USUN” it would be.

  Monday night at the Waldorff towers, Ms. Anderson was bid farewell by many of her past and recent Security Council colleagues, for examples the Permanent Representatives of Gabon, Brazil and Russia, previous member Austria and new member India. Susan Rice said how much she would miss Brooke, then to party on.

  The talk turned to the UN and African elections, the topic of a closed door briefing earlier on Monday. “The UN is not supposed to be a supra national body,” the Permanent Representative of the Democratic Republic of Congo complained. “At some point a red flag will be raised.”

  Another Ambassador, serving on the Council, said that Laurent Gbagbo had brought about the beginning of the end of his command in Cote d'Ivoire by basing his power in recent years on UN Security Council resolutions “instead of the Ivorian constitution.”

  Two members, one Permanent and the other wanna-be, agreed that Ivory Coast would be the last time that UN would be in the position of certifying an election or its winner. The phrase used in the Council was sui generis, a Latin phrase meaning "one of a kind" much used with regard to Kosovo.

Brooke Anderson, sui generis, at the UN stakeout

  Earlier on Monday, Inner City Press had asked the UN's part time Special Advisor on Africa if he was every consulted, by Lynn Pascoe of the Department of Political Affairs before his briefing on African elections, or with regard to Cote d'Ivoire. No, he said, I specialize in economic and development issues.

  What about actions on Ivorian cocoa customs revenue? He replied that Ban Ki-moon's envoy Choi Young-jin is doing a “great” job.

  An African Permanent Representative who had seen the question and answer rolled his eyes and asked, “What else is he going to say?”

  So who dares speak truth to power, and say when a policy is wrong? The US abstained from the General Assembly resolution against arbitrary executions, and couldn't or wouldn't explain why. One surmised it concerned drones, but the official line, repeated Monday night, vaguely referred to “misreadings of international humanitarian law.”

  Introduced on Monday night was Ms. Anderson's (at least temporary) successor, David Dunn. He's a 32 year State Department veteran who served, among other things, as US Ambassador to Zambia and Togo.

   It was explained that the formal replacement is “pending in Congress,” as is that for the long vacant position at USUN for management and budget. It has been filled for some time by Joseph Melrose, observed by Inner City Press working the General Assembly floor at 4 am on December 23-24, 2010 on the budget.

  A Council press statement on Cote d'Ivoire was agreed to and read out by Bosnia's Deputy Permanent Representative at 6 pm on Monday. Since Ms. Anderson was in charge of negotiating the text, its adoption presumptively had something to do with, and was a tribute to, her farewell reception which began mere minutes later.

 We note in no particular order her first stakeout (on Guinea-Bissau), a later one on Cote d'Ivoire, an initial dispute with USUN whether she would be the Mission's Number Three or Four official (the former, as Rosemary DiCarlo did not end of overlapping with Alejandro Wolff, with whom one would still like to speak about the 2009 meeting with the ICC's Luis Moreno Ocampo about Omar al Bashir's billions, minutes as Wikileaked classified by Mr. Wolff) -- and the response, ultimately true, that Ms. Anderson didn't care so much for titles. We wish her well.

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Amid Ivorian Chaos, UN Council Meets on 24 African Elections, Shrunken Horizon

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 10 -- Elections in Africa this year, and whether and how the UN should be involved in them, was the only topic agreed on for this month's forward looking or “horizon” meeting of the UN Security Council.

The discussion takes place amid the chaos of the Cote d'Ivoire election, where UN envoy Choi Young-jin declared Alassane Ouattara the winner, leading to protests in the Security Council by permanent member Russia.

In advance of UN political affairs chief Lynn Pascoe providing a closed door briefing to the Council, one Council member told Inner City Press that while UN technical assistance to elections is not viewed as controversial, being as involved as in Cote d'Ivoire would be a subject of debate.

Another member showed Inner City Press a list of 24 elections in Africa this year: including Chad (for which no request for UN assistance is expected, following the ejection of the UN peacekeeping mission last year),

Central African Republic (later this month), Democratic Republic of Congo (in connection with which the UN peacekeeping mission may be further slimmed down at President Kabila's request),

Egypt (Mubarak's son), Gabon (Jammeh), Ivory Coast (legislative), Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Liberia, Guinea, Djibouti, Madagascar, Mauritania, Nigeria, Niger, Seychelles, South Africa, South Sudan, Sao Tome, Uganda, Zambia and of course Zimbabwe.

In November, Pascoe's briefing included a wider range of issues, which some members protested. This time, the Bosnian presidency limited the issues in advance to just this one.

UN's Ban & Mugabe, UN electoral flubs not shown

A real “tour d'horizon” of issues threatening international peace and security might have included, for example, the violent protests in Tunisia and Algeria. One assumes that the UN's Department of Political Affairs is not blinded to that. But the Security Council will not be hearing about or discussing these issues.

Nor will the Council be discussing Sudan, even after 33 deaths in Abyei over the weekend. One member predicted the Council will wait for initial results of the South Sudan referendum. 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.

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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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