In Pyongyang Has Korean Speakers Expelled, Flies African Children to
Eat for G-8
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: Exclusive
NATIONS, July 2 -- While the UN in New York announced that its World
Food Program will shrink what remains of its program in North Korea,
in the midst of declining donor confidence and missile tests by
Pyongyang, the UN was more quiet about the restrictions it had been
under and is accepting in the country. WFP in a memorandum from
Beijing notes that the Kim Jong Il government now requires that none
of WFP's remaining international staff should be able to speak
is told that WFP - Pyongyang's main Korea speaker was expelled from
the country as persona non grata on June 20 and that this bodes badly
for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon naming a new UN envoy to North
Korea. Reportedly, Ban had focused on a South Korean envoy, with an
eye toward running the candidate by members at the upcoming G-8
meeting. But if Kim Jong Il is expelling from the country what few UN
system Korean speakers remained, such an envoy seems even less
of WFP and
the G-8, for the upcoming meeting WFP is flying in children from
Ghana to eat as a part of an "exhibit" for the spouses of
G-8 leaders on July 10. The internal WFP email is below. Several WFP
sources expressed disgust to Inner City Press at the event, which
they ascribe to WFP head Josette Sheeran. One asked, "Would she
parade around Food Stamp recipient in the United States?" They
put the expenses of the event, including the substantial closure of
the WFP headquarters on July 10, at $500,000.
WFP's Sheeran gives award to UN's Ban,
PNG and Eat for G-8 not shown
As you know, Italy will be hosting the G8 Summit next
week and leaders from more than two dozen countries will be in
L’Aquila. We are honored that the Italian government has asked WFP
to host an official program at our headquarters on Friday, 10 July,
as part of the spouse program.
This visit is a profound testament
to the increasing visibility of WFP's work -- and an opportunity to
help the world better understand the important work we do. On our
premises, we are arranging a simulated food distribution and a
symbolic African schoolhouse, where a small group of Ghanaian
schoolchildren will help celebrate our work. (You may have noticed
the large exhibit being erected this morning behind the pool.)
to the security precautions mandated by the Italian government
and the visiting delegations, only those employees involved in the
event or deemed necessary for critical operations by their managers
will be permitted on the main building premises during the morning of
July 10. Among other things, parking will be severely limited at our
main building and automobile access limited in Parco de Medici in
But we encourage you to take advantage of this special
exhibit and bring your families, including your children, on the
afternoon of 10 July – anytime after 2:00 – so they can get a
taste of our field work and meet the schoolchildren. If you cannot
bring your family on 10 July, note that the tent and displays will
remain up on Monday, 13 July, so we invite you to bring family
members to see the display then.
this is a special event,
we realize it might cause some inconvenience. We hope you can
appreciate what an historic opportunity this is for some of the
world’s most influential people to understand what we do and to see
the impact of their donations.
Here are some guidelines for the
day: If you work in the main building, please do not come to the
office Friday morning, 10 July. The St. Martin’s building will
remain open. As much as possible, please work from home... We expect
the main building to re-open for business as usual at 2:00, so if
it's feasible for you to return, please do so. If returning to the
office in the afternoon is not feasible for you -- we recognize that
some of the Parco de Medici transit options do not run in the
afternoon, for instance – you are authorized special leave with
full pay. Thank you,
Chief of Internal
Communications, World Food Programme
Via C.G. Viola 68,Rome, Italy
N. Korea Resolution Passes, No Force on Ships, AK-47s In, U.S.
Does Not Speak at UN, Georgia (and DC) In Mind
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, June 12 -- After twenty days of talking about nuclear North
Korea, the UN Security Council on Friday adopted a sanctions
resolution. Afterwards, China's Ambassador emerged to say that for
cargo inspections, there should be no use of force, not even the
threat of use of force. Inner City Press asked Japan's Ambassador
Takasu, who was bragging how strong the resolution is, if what China
said is true. Video here.
a lengthy answer, Amb. Takasu argued that the resolution calls for
suspicious ships to go to the nearest port. And if they don't? Then
they get reported to the Security Council's committee on North Korea
sanctions. It is reminiscent of a scene in the spoof film Team
America, in which Hans Blix is asked by Kim Jong Il what Blix will do
if North Korea does not comply. We will write another letter to you,
Blix answers before being thrown to the sharks.
City Press asked French Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert why he had
voted for a resolution which explicitly allowed continued sales of
small arms and light weapons to North Korea. From France's
City Press: The resolution allows for sale of small arms and weapons
to North Korea, there is an exclusion to allow that sale. Why is it
in there and does France favor that ?
Ripert: for light arms, some categories of arms. It was requested by
some member states saying that what we want to achieve is not to have
a full embargo against the country of North Korea, what we want to
achieve is to cut the links that North Korea has to get some
resources to fund its programs and its by exporting arms that they
get some funding. So the important part of the reasoning was to stop
the export of all those arms to cut their resources and their
UN Council meets on DPRK,
some PRs not present
City Press: Is there any discussion about the two journalists which
have been arrested and now condemned to 12 years of hard labour ?
What does France think of that ?
Ripert: there were discussions all over the place at the United
Nations but not in the Security Council. We were discussing the
resolution. We of course strongly condemn the condemnation of those
City Press asked new UK Deputy Permanent Representative Philip John
Parham if and why the UK supported allowing the sale of small arms
and light weapons to North Korea. "We have have preferred a
broader ban," he said, "but this is what has been agreed by
the Council." Video here,
from Minute 4:40. The UK reportedly held another briefing for select
journalists; perhaps there they explained their vote for a specific
exclusion to allow continued flow of SLAW.
City Press also asked Ripert about the state of negotiations on the
Abkhazia resolution which would have to pass by Monday:
City Press: About the Georgia consultations given President Sarkozy’s
role in it. Is there a resolution ready for vote Monday and does
France believe that it should say "Abkhazia, Georgia", or
how is that going to be resolved, what is your thinking ?
Ripert: There are talks going on now, as you know we had to spend a
lot of time on North Korea, unfortunately we started discussing
Georgia a bit late. There are very serious talks now among the group
of friends of Georgia and we will continue those talks probably
today, this morning and we hope to be in a position to circulate the
text as soon as possible with the aim of adopting a new regime before
the expiration of the resolution on Monday night.
the German mission specified that negotiations will continue over the
weekend. Georgia's president has reportedly vowed to do all possible
to get the word "Georgia" in the resolution. But Russia is
holding most of the cards. We'll see.
No U.S. representative came to the UN stakeout on Friday to talk
about the resolution. The US Mission explained that Susan Rice was in
Washington. Some questioned why the U.S. would have so little to say
at the UN on this issue. Regardless of one's view, the fact is that
France, Japan and the UK spoke and took questions, while China spoke
but took no questions. The U.S. neither spoke at the stakeout nor
took questions. It can further be noted that while UK Permanent
Representative Sawers is away, his Deputy spoke and took questions.
What does this all mean? Watch this site.
UN, N. Korea Test Reaction Veiled in Secrecy, P-5 Search for Leak
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, June 10, updated June 11
-- Seventeen days after North Korea conducted at
least its second underground nuclear test, the UN Security
Council is scheduled this morning to circulate a previously-leaked
draft sanctions resolution. A belated reaction with belated demands for
secrecy, it will finally be made public on a volutary basis. For that
reason and those below, for now there was no need to have it published
here until circulated - now here it it.
North Korea has already denounced it, and
it is unclear who, if anyone would actually search North Korea ships.
Perhaps the U.S. will seize more of Kim Jong-Il's money, as it did in
Banco Delta Asia. But it could have done that without action by the
in the process, Inner City Press got and published a
draft of the resolution, minus
substantive operative paragraph eight. Credit was given; there
was little push-back.
June 5 Inner City Press obtained the
near-final draft, which had been circulated to the capitals of the
Permanent Five member plus Japan and South Korea. Inner
put it online that Friday at noon, it went with credit to Japan,
of London and Washington
Post. The feedback, however, was
not all positive.
Ambassadors approached Inner City Press to complain. You have made
things more difficult, they said in different ways. One, Rosemary
DiCarlo of the U.S., was to her credit willing to explain why.
Countries find it hard to back away from positions in a draft that
goes online, she said. Another had said, just summarize it, don't put
the text online. Ambassador DiCarlo said that it's easier to
away from a summary.
Permanent Representative Jean-Maurice Ripert had an extraordinary
reaction. He summoned "the French press," how ever defined,
and insisted to them that the draft Inner City Press had put online had
not, in fact, been circulated. This had been contradicted by
others in the French mission, and by other diplomats. Still Ripert
insisted it was true, according to multiple sources in attendance at
Ripert held yet another news event for only portions of the press corps
on the eve of the North Korea meeting, this time about peacekeeping. He
focused on the Congo, yet the topic of the UN Mission there, known by
its French acronym MONUC,
constructively working with indicted war criminal Jean-Bosco Ntaganda
somehow did not come up. We'll have more on this.
U.S. mission took a different approach, grilling other Council
members and even Secretariat staff trying to determine the source of
the leak. To some, the approach seemed inconsistent with what Barack
Obama has said, about transparency and openness to the press. Several
journalists detailed to the UN during these past two weeks have
expressed surprise at the press relations of the current U.S.
mission. Perhaps a work in progress.
Secrecy at the stakeout, hunt for leak and
promises of transparency not shown
at six o'clock, the Russian mission emailed out comments of
Ambassador Churkin, that consensus is emerging. Then at nine a.m.
Wednesday, a meeting was scheduled for two hours later. It will be
live blogged here. Watch this space.
of 11:08 a.m. -- one by one, or rather each with separate entourage,
they have entered. Susan Rice with security and spokesman; Vitaly
Churkin, like China's Deputy Liu, with a jaunty step. China's Permanent
Representative with a single political advisor and a smile.
France's Ripert, who reported told some journalists to only expect a
vote on Friday, stopped and said in French, hopefully "demain"
of 1:20 p.m. -- the Office of the Spokesperson for Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon, true to form, held its noon briefing in direct conflict
with the Ambassadors who spoke at the stakeout. Perhaps so that even
fewer reporters would attend and ask questions at the Secretariat's
briefing. There were only three, and none of the questions were
answered. Afterwards, Russia's Vitaly Churkin was speaking at the
stakeout. He was asked why the draft has not yet been "put into blue."
Ripert, it was said, repeated his prediction of adoption tomorrow or
Friday. Several Japanese reporters expressed relief, that their two
week vigil of watching nothing happen appears finally at an end.
of 7:53 p.m. -- a vote on Thursday is said to be unlikely, by a
non-permanent Security Council member, some of whom pushed back
against not having been included in the process of the P-5 plus Two.
As Swiss Ambassador Peter Maurer told the Press on Wednesday
afternoon, on the record, why do countries work for four years to get a
seat on the
Council only to sit back and wait to be given the menu by the P-5?
of June 11, 11:19 a.m. -- A Russian diplomat tells the Press that there
have been a number of amendments proposed, presumably by non P-5
members, and "they must be considered." Asked if a vote Friday is
possible, he said, "I do not know... I have to ask my expert."
of 11: 26 a.m. - Japan's Ambassador Takasu, more upbeat, said in
Japanese to the press from that country (which in turn offered this
translation to Inner City Press) that he is not aware of any
opposition, but that he will of course listen to any opinion. Asked if
there will be a vote Friday, he said he does not like to make
of 11 p.m. -- it has "gone blue," and a meeting scheduled for June 12
at 11 a.m., presumably to vote: watch this site.