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Inner City Press Podcast --

Sudan's UN Envoy Admits Right to Intervene in Rwanda, UNICEF Response on Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

  UNITED NATIONS, October 6 -- Sudan's ambassador to the UN on Friday acknowledged the right of the international community to intervene without governmental consent in a situation like Rwanda in 1994. In response to a question from Inner City Press about Darfur, Rwanda and Cambodia under Pol Pot, Sudanese Amb. Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem mentioned the UN Millennium Declaration and the duty "to protect," while seeking to distinguish "orderly" Sudan from Rwanda. Video on UNTV from Minute 10:12,

Amb. Abdalhaleem: Rwanda yes, Darfur no

            Inner City Press also asked the Sudanese Ambassador about reports of his government sabotaging military equipment en route to the African Union force in Darfur, including the statements of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Frazer about bolts being removed from armored personnel carriers and the AMIS force commander having to wait in Ethiopia while a visa to enter Sudan was delayed.

            Amb. Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem called these "minor matters" and said that "bureaucratic delay is bureaucratic delay." He said that Inner City Press and the other media present could get visas for Sudan and Darfur anytime. Since journalists have been locked up by Sudan, and many have their computers' hard drives scanned and copies as they enter or leave Sudan, the invitation may mean less than it sounded like at the stakeout. Video on UNTV from Minutes 7:43.

            Also at the UN on Friday, following an upbeat press conference by George H.W. Bush and a minister from Pakistan to mark the one year anniversary of the South Asia earthquake, Inner City Press asked the UN's spokesman about a BBC expose of aid money going to terrorists groups -- click here to view. BBC has reported that the Al Rashid Trust and Jamaat ud-Dawa were not strong in the area before the quake hit, but set up camps and were inflated by the flowing of aid to those in "their" camps.  Inner City Press asked (video on UNTV from Minute 13:50), what safeguards do UN agencies have to avoid such consequences while seeking to deliver clearly-needed aid? While Inner City Press' questions remaining pending about Somalia, UNICEF on Friday responded about Pakistan:

Is UNICEF cooperating with Al Rashid?

No. UNICEF does not cooperate with Al Rashid, and nor is UNICEF money or material supplied to Al Rashid. Children have a right to education, no matter where they live, just as they have a right to immunization no matter where they live. The NGO DOSTI is an NGO which had the capacity to deliver educational services to 5300 children affected by the earthquake. Some of these children live in Al Rashid camps, through no fault of their own. DOSTI fulfilled its obligation by establishing a school in three such camps. The use of UNICEF material and the educational activities it supports are carefully monitored  by UNICEF. To suggest that the rights of children who have lost their homes and schools should be ignored because by chance they are living in a particular location, would contravene the Convention of the Rights of the Child, to which the Netherlands is  signatory. (FYI information the schools and the camp we referred to doesn't exist anymore. The only camp remaining in Mansehra is Jaba camp) The organization Jamaat [u]d Dawa is running 2 schools in Mansehra and UNICEF is not providing any support to this organization. Another question you might have is whether UNICEF cooperating with any individual/organization included in the UN  list of banned individual / organizations. The answer is: No. UNICEF has no contract/agreement  with individuals or organization included in this list and nor is UNICEF money or material supplied to these organizations / individuals.

            We report, ask and get answers, you decide. UNICEF has been asked about its Somali operations, developing.

Also on Friday at the UN:

U.S. Calls for Annan and Ban Ki-moon to Publicly Disclose Finances, As U.S. Angles for 5-Year WFP Appointment

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN

  UNITED NATIONS, October 6 -- Secretary General Kofi Annan, who only after delay and indecision filed a financial disclosure form on September 22, is now being asked to make the financial contents public. Mr. Annan's spokesman Friday at noon said that since the UN is an "inter-governmental organization" rather than a government, the Secretary-General's disclosure should remain private, until the General Assembly requires otherwise.  Video on UNTV from Minute 10:35.

            An hour later, Inner City Press asked Ambassador John Bolton for the U.S. position. "I'm sure Congress will be interested in that response," Amb. Bolton said. Video on UNTV from Minute 7:45.

            In response to an Inner City Press question Friday morning on whether the incoming Secretary-General, presumptively Ban Ki-moon, should disclosure his finances on the way in -- possibly before the General Assembly vote -- Ambassador Bolton signaled agreement, saying that "transparency" is good, that as with preventive diplomacy, the UN system does not engage enough in transparency. Video on UNTV from Minutes 7:15.

Agreeing to disclose or not? S-G/Ban Ki-Moon

            Beyond the U.S. Mission's continued withholding of information in its possession about UN officials receiving free housing from governments -- the U.S. spokesman says there are eight such UN officials while Kofi Annan's spokesman has said there is only one, without providing the name -- there is a emerging issue on which neither the UN nor the U.S. is practicing transparency.  As first reported by Inner City Press, the U.S. has put forward Josette Sheeran (Shiner) for a five year term as executive director of the UN's World Food Program. While Amb. Bolton has previously said that Kofi Annan should not appoint any new official past the end of the year, when asked by Inner City Press if the U.S. wants Josette Sheeran (Shiner) to be given a five year term right away, Amb. Bolton responded that "there is precedent for that."

            Friday the UN spokesman told Inner City Press that the selection process, and giving of a five year terms, is now expected to be completed in "early November," less than two months before Mr. Annan's term ends. Despite U.S. Amb. Bolton's previous statements about lame duck appointment, presumably the U.S. would not object if the American Josette Sheeran (Shiner) is the beneficiary of a five year lame duck appointment. In terms of transparency, Inner City Press on October 3 asked the UN spokesman's office:

Yesterday you confirmed that Secretary-General will be making the selection
of the next WFP executive director, in conjunction with the head of FAO. You stated that the "normal procedures" would be followed. Please elaborate on the "normal procedures." Specifically, Is there a selection panel?  Who is on the selection panel?  Is there a shortlist? How many names are on the shortlist?  Did the selection panel develop the shortlist, or are they only interviewing candidates on the shortlist? What is the timeframe for the selection?  Will this process be completed within October, November, or December? In previous cases of senior appointments (such as the chief of UNHCR), the  UN announced the shortlist prior to the actual selection of Mr. Guterres.  Was that "normal procedure"?  In this case will the UN announce the shortlist?  When?

            Three days later on October 6, the spokesman handed Inner City Press a page with a paragraph on it:

"Nominations were solicited from Member States and an advertisement was placed in The Economist. The deadline for the submission of nominations was 15 September 2006. A joint UN/FAO Panel met in Rome on 28 and 29 September to review the applications received with a view to drawing up a short list of candidates for the consideration of the Secretary-General and Director-General of FAO. The short-listed candidates will be interviewed in New York in the near future by a join UN/FAO panel comprising representatives from each side. The Panel is expected to identify two or three finalists for the Secretary-General's the Director-General's consideration. The Secretary-General and the Director-General would thereafter interview the candidates and jointly make a decision on the individual they would wish to appoint to the post. They would then jointly inform the WFP Executive Board accordingly and await their response before making the appointment public. The process should normally be completed by early November."

    Among other things, this does not answer whether the identities of the candidates on the shortlist will be made public. On Thursday, the Canadian government through an individual who because he is not a spokesman asked not to be named told Inner City Press that while Canada has not nominated its WFP Ambassador Robert Fowler, he is in fact a candidate. As to who will conduct the interviews, as early as next week, Inner City Press' sources indicate that it will be Mark Malloch-Brown. The propriety of the Annan administration considering a five-year appointment with only two months left in office has not been addressed. Developing.

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