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

At UN, Myanmar Languishes in Council's Footnotes, Those Fleeing into China Are UNProtected

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 2 -- Myanmar is in the footnotes of the UN Security Council's agenda for September, during which U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice will serve as Council president. On Wednesday at the UN, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Rice why Myanmar is in the footnotes, to confirm reports that she warned Ban Ki-moon against visiting the country lest it just support Than Shwe, and to address Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul's leaked memo that Ban lacks "moral authority" on Myanmar, like Sri Lanka. Video here, from Minute 21:50.

   Ambassador Rice replied that "Myanmar -- which we call Burma... is in the footnote because a number of members of the Council, including the United States, felt it is timely to stay focused on events there." She said that Aung San Suu Kyi's appeal of her sentence might result in an outcome that the Council might want to consider.

   Ms. Rice did not address the Juul memo's critique of Ban's performance, and said that her "advice to the Secretary General, it would be wise for me to keep it private." Video here, from Minute 23:47. Rather, she noted that Ban said he received commitments by the Burmese leadership for "swift positive political steps."

  In fact, the military regime in Myanmar has gone on a Sri Lanka-like assault into rebel held territory, resulting in people fleeing across the border into China.

Susan Rice on a UN panel, Myanmar or Burmese fleeing in footnotes

  At Wednesday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN Associate Spokesperson Farhan Haq what the UN is doing, if anything, about these flows, and if the UN considers those fleeing to be refugees.

  Haq didn't answer, except to say that the UN refugee agency UNHCR had answers. But journalists who have sought answers from UNCHR since Monday on this Myanmar - China question have gotten nothing. The analysis is that while UNHCR will criticize less powerful countries, for those who flee into China, whether from North Korea or Myanmar, UNHCR and the UN offer no protection. And given China's veto on the Security Council, that issue will never make it only to the full agenda, and is not even among the aspects of Myanmar which are in this month's agenda's footnotes. Watch this site.

From the U.S. Mission to the UN's transcript

Inner City Press: Myanmar's in the footnotes of your program, and it's been reported that you warned the Secretary-General against going this summer to Myanmar, that it might buttress the regime in some way. Could -- so Myanmar also shows up in this Mona Juul memo that many people have spoken about, talking about where the U.N. stands in terms of what she called a lack of moral authority on Myanmar, Sri Lanka and even Sudan. Can you say, I guess, either -- you know, why is it in the footnotes? What do you expect to come up? Do you -- can you confirm sort of your thinking on the Secretary-General's trip to Myanmar?

Ambassador Rice: Let me begin with Myanmar, which we call Burma, in my national hat. It's in the footnotes because members of the Council, including the United States, felt it timely to stay focused on events there.

We're aware that Aung San Suu Kyi has appealed her sentence, and that could potentially result in an outcome that the Council might want to consider. In addition, the Secretary-General has said, as a result of his meetings there, that he received commitments from the leadership to take very swiftly positive political steps, including the release of all political prisoners. And so we think it merits continued inclusion in the footnotes of the Council agenda for the month of September.

Just to finish the answer, with respect to my own advice or counsel provided to the Secretary-General, I think it would be wise for me to keep that private. So I'm not going to discuss press reports in that regard.

* * *

At UN, American Month of Rice Astride the Council Starts, Questions to be Asked

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 2, with updates -- Today at the UN is the beginning of the "American month," as some here are calling it. President Barack Obama, after nine months, will come to the UN, for speeches and climate change and to chair a meeting of the Security Council. His Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice will be president of the Council for the whole month, beginning with consultations with the other 15 members on the program of work, then a briefing of the press.

  Many in the UN press corps, albeit not by name, have complained about lack of access to Ms. Rice. She arrives, unlike any other Council member, surrounded by Security. She rarely takes questions at the stakeout, and meets off the record with small groups of select reporters. There is hope, beginning with Wednesday's briefing, that this month will be a new begining, or the beginning as one reporter put it.

   Beyond the staples of the Middle East and North Korea, non-proliferation and Darfur, Ms. Rice can expect to face the fallout of critiques of the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. As synthesized in the leaked memo of Norwegian deputy ambassador Mona Juul, Ban failed this year in Myanmar, which is on the Council's formal agenda, and in Sri Lanka, which even as thousands of civilians were being killed was confined to informal Council session held in the UN basement. Now that a video of the Sri Lankan Army committing summary executions has surfaced, one wonder what Ms. Rice has to say on that topic, and on Libya.

Susan Rice and UN's Ban in agreement, Myanmar and Sri Lanka not shown

   The Wednesday morning meeting at which the program of work was adopted was shorter than usual. "Just breakfast," as one Council member put it. It's said that in the Council's meeting on the Haiti mission, Bill Clinton may come. A Council member who had adopted Haiti said he will fly back to New York that day, arriving at the airport at 3 p.m. for a 4 p.m. Council session. Better get a helicopter, someone said.

   The overlap of this month's General Assembly with the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh is causing major planning agita for delegations. One Latin country whose President will attend both meetings said that a sort of buddy system is being implemented, paired Presidential planes flying into the otherwise closed down Pittsburgh airport. Coming right after the UN's climate session, will any of it be carbon offset? Watch this space.

Update of 12:36 p.m. -- Amb. Rice, introduced by Mark Kornblau, begins by pitching the Obama-chaired September 24 meeting. "Consulting with colleagues on a potential product" from the meeting. Kornblau's ground rule is this will be 30 minutes, and questions should focus first on the "work of the Council."

12:38 -- 2d issue is Liberia mandate renewal, including meeting with troop contributing countries. There's a recent scandal in Liberia of an American UN employee under investigation for child sex abuse. 3d is Haiti - and yes, Bill Clinton will come.

12:40 -- 4th is Women, Peace and Security, meeting on September 30 with Hillary Clinton coming. But will the U.S. support a new ASG post? Rice says "a new SRSG" under discussion. 5th is Afghanistan.

Update of 12:59 p.m. -- Inner City Press asked Amb. Rice about Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and the Mona Juul memo, and will report her answers elsewhere on this site.  Click here for Sri Lanka coverage.

* * *

  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

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] -