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

March 1, 2011: Libya

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

In French Month Atop UN Council, Araud's 3 Stakeouts Hit New Low, Of Misstatements to Press & "Hostile Acts"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 31 -- France's month as president of the UN Security Council ended with a whimper on Tuesday when a meeting on Sudan had no outcome, not even a Press Statement. French Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud did not go to the stakeout and deliver any summary of the discussion, or any closing statement for his generally unsuccessful and untransparent month atop the Council.

  A review of the UN Webcast Internet site reflects that of the past eight presidents of the Council, France's Araud did the least press stakeouts during his month. His output was doubled by Brazil in February, Colombia in April, and the UK last November.

  At one of Araud's listed stakeouts, on May 11, he took no questions at all. He read a statement about Sudan in French, then left a translator at the stakeout to read it out in English, after he said, smirking, “Since I speak no English.” Click here to view.

  Araud's last stakeout was on May 27 at 7:30 pm, with only three reporters present, click here to view. Araud came late, having not been able to find his way into the UN building. “He doesn't even know how to get in here,” one UN staffer marveled.

  When Araud finally arrived, Inner City Press asked him why the statement he read, only in English, about the arrest of Ratko Mladic had been delayed from 10 am, when the French mission told UN TV to set up a camera, until 7:30 pm. Araud said he would not explain, and added despite France's bragging to the contrary that “we are not ready” and not promising on Syria.

  On May 9, Inner City Press asked Araud if the trip he was leading to Sudan would go to Abyei, if Sudan had agreed to that. He said yes, there is no problem, they have agreed, there are only logistics. Click here to view.

  But as Inner City Press reported at the time, Sudan's Deputy Permanent Representative repeatedly said that Khartoum has not agreed to the Abyei visit, which ultimately did not happen as fighting broke out there.

  This was not the French mission's only misstatement in the month.

Araud as President in May, talk to press & results not shown

 At the beginning of the month Araud claimed, in French, that he wanted to make the Council less formal. But then another Council member told Inner City Press that Araud had gone back on a reform from November, and now required countries to sign up in advance to speak in the Council's closed door consultations.

  When Inner City Press asked, at a Friday reception hosted by Italy, France denied this. But then another Council member said that on that Sunday, France emailed to other members to reverse the policy they had just told Inner City Press they didn't have.

  The French Mission to the UN's public relations appear to have less to do with the truth than with what they view as power politics.

  When for example this year Inner City Press obtained and published documents from the Mission and the French military about French policy in Cote d'Ivoire, including the NYC Police Department arrest document for a French Mission diplomat, Romain Serman, accused of attempted purchase of cocaine and resisting arrest, the French Mission approached Inner City Press and called the publication “a hostile act.”

  (Since then, the normal ways one uses to get a Mission's answers don't work, but will continue to be tried, not least in fairness to the Mission, which apparently doesn't like to be asked questions.)

  Later, the French Mission asked pointedly that the Romain Serman arrest document be taken off line -- although it precisely the type of document widely published concerning the arrest, for example, of French political figure Dominique Strauss Kahn, around whom impropriety and corruption scandals swirl, not unlike at the Mission here reviewed. The negative impacts may have been (slightly) more on display during France's now concluded month atop the Council, but will continue. Watch this site.

* * *

At UN, Council President Won't Explain 10 Hour Mladic Delay, Syria Not Promising

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 27 -- The Security Council president Gerard Araud showed up at the stakeout at 7:40 pm on Friday night, more than nine hours after it was announced he would read a Council Press Statement on the arrest of Ratko Mladic.

  “Three for the price of one,” Araud told the Press, before reading out statements on an attack on UN peacekeepers in Lebanon and the arrest of Mladic, and a separate “elements to the press” on the arrest of Rwanda genocide suspect Bernard Munyagishari in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  After Araud finished reading, Inner City Press asked him to explain the ten hour delay on the Mladic statement.

 Sources say there was resistance to including a reference to Srebrenica in the statement -- one wag noted that the UN itself might be embarrassed to have it in, given the charges against peacekeepers in that case.

Araud said he would not as President of the Council describe any negotiations.

  Inner City Press asked him about the draft resolution on Syria, whether he thought it possible it could be voted on during France's presidency, which ends Tuesday.

  No, Araud said, we are not ready, we are not close. Later he went further: less promising. And so it goes at the UN.

* * *

As UN Won't Lay Blame for Abyei, France Says Little, No Notice on Libya

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 23 -- Four days after an attack in Abyei on a convoy led by UN Mission in Sudan peacekeepers, the UN still won't say who was responsible for the attack.

  The Press Secretary for US President Obama on May 21, and the UN Security Council on May 22, blamed this initial attack on “Southern forces.”

  But when Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky on May 23 who was responsible for the attack, Nesirky merely pointed back to what he'd told Inner City Press last week: that an investigation is necessary.

  What does the US and Security Council know that the UN doesn't?

  Inner City Press asked Nesirky, and he pointed to a statement about subsequent burning and looting in Abyei, which likewise doesn't say who is doing the looting, only that the Sudan Armed Forces is responsible to stop it.

  As in Darfur, which the Security Council chose not to try to even visit on this trip, the UN appears loath to lay blame for attacks. Perhaps that's one of the roots or causes of the problems in Abyei.

  Meanwhile, the Security Council too is having its communications problems. It put out a press statement in Khartoum, which was transmitted to UN correspondents in New York as a faint Adobe PDF file, barely legible.

  The Council has no ongoing spokesperson: the country that is the president for the month is in charge. While as noted US President Obama, and the foreign ministers of the UK and even Norway have spoken out about Abyei, little has been seen from officials of France, the Council president for May.

  President Sarkozy was in Cote d'Ivoire, gloating about French Force Licorne involvement in ousting Laurent Gbagbo, as France ships more attack helicopters to Libya.

  Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Nesirky on Monday at noon if Ban has gotten any notice, under Council Resolution 1973. No, Nesirky said. Ah, communications.

Susan Rice, Sangqu of SA, Haile Menkerios- why is this man smiling?

The fog of Security Council communications and travel led, it seems, to misattribution of quotes by the US' Susan Rice to Russia's Vitaly Churkin, who was quoted about Sudan lossing a chance to speak with the Council - Rice's line - instead of Churkin's actual “get well” to Sudan's Ali Karti.

They'll be on the road to Thursday. But we'll still be reporting. Watch this site.

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

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] -