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On Somalia, No Q&A, Kenyan Navy Shelling of Kismayo UNaddressed

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 29 -- After the UN's envoy to Somalia briefed the Security Council this week, this month's Council president French Ambassador Gerard Araud did not provide a summary to or take questions from the media.

  The idea was that when he read out a Council press statement, he would take questions.

  Twice on August 29 UN Television cameras were set up for this purpose. First a UNTV crew rushed to set up their camera in the North Lawn building outside the Council's interactive session with the DRC and Rwanda.

  But that was disassembled, amid apologies and promises that the Q&A would take place at 12:30 by the Security Council.

   But rushing there, after putting four questions to Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, Inner City Press found the cameras set up, but no one from the French Mission. Soon this stakeout, too, was disassembled. The UN announced that it would e-mail out the press statement. There would be no Q&A.

  The statement, when it came, said among other things that

"The Members of the Council commended the African Union Mission in Somalia and the Somali National Forces for their bravery and for their vital role in providing a more secure environment for the Somalia Roadmap Signatories to deliver an end to the Transition."

  Among the questions that Inner City Press has is what is the UN and Council response to the Kenyan Navy firing shells into Kismayo on August 11 and killing at least three civilians including a pregnant woman?

  The Security Council statement commends AMISOM -- what about Kenya's Navy and the killing of civilians?

  On August 28, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's associate spokesman Farhan Haq if anyone in the UN had any response to the related riots in Mombasa, Kenya. Haq and the UN had no comment then, nor in the 27 hours since. And so it goes at the UN.

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