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Sri Lanka Got Saudi & Nepal to Stand Down, Silva to Now Cede to Kohona?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, January 31 -- Amid growing outrage at Sri Lankan General Shavendra Silva, accused of war crimes, becoming a UN Senior Adviser on Peacekeeping Operations and at Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's refusal to do or say anything about it, Inner City Press has learned more details of how this "travesty" came about.

   Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky on January 30 told Inner City Press to "ask the member states in the Asian Group" -- so Inner City Press did.

  It emerges that there was no vote in the Asian Group.

  Rather, Sri Lanka got candidates Saudi Arabia and Nepal to stand down.

  Some credited Silva's boss and former UN official Palitha Kohona with accomplishing this troubling but in UN-speak "impressive" feat.

  Nepal was previously bested by Qatar to appoint the current President of the General Assembly.

  While Ban and his top two UN Peacekeeping official Herve Ladsous and Susana Malcorra have claimed that they play no role at all in the selection of the Senior Advisers other than the five directly selected by Ban, including Ladsous' predecessor Jean Marie Guehenno, Inner City Press is informed by senior diplomatic sources that Malcorra, on behalf of Ban, met with representatives of member states and advised them how to make their nominations.

  Now, with inaction and buck passing from Ban Ki-moon, certain belated attempts to avoid this scandal for the UN and its Peacekeeping Operations have begun.

 Requests have been made for Kohona to stand in for Silva, with the cover story that Ban's UN prefers Permanent Representatives on this group, rather than less senior Deputy Permanent Representatives like Silva.

  One problem is that Japan went even lower than Deputy, naming "Number Three" Jun Yamazaki as one of the Advisers representing donors.

  More damningly, while Silva is named in the UN Panel of Experts Report for shelling hospitals and killing people trying to surrender, it must be noted that Kohona too reportedly played a role in these so called white flag killings.

Ban shakes with Silva, Kohona's back to camera, (c) MRLee

Significantly,  so did Ban's own chief of staff Vijay Nambiar. Thus, Silva is not the only person being "bluewashed". Ban wants to keep Nambiar on as an Under Secretary General, covering only Myanmar.

One wag wondered, perhaps Than Shwe could be lured out of "retirement" to further advise Ban Ki-moon? Watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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