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In Mali, UN Ging Contrasts Needs with IBK's Jet, Sees Ethnic Cleansing in CAR

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 19 -- Returning from Mali, UN aid official John Ging took questions from the press and answered with a candor too rare in the UN system.

  Inner City Press asked about Mali's president having spent $40 million on a new airplane. (Inner City Press' story on the International Monetary Fund's criticism of the purchase, reiterated at the IMF's June 19 embargoed briefing, is here).

  Ging contrasted the jet purchase with the human needs he saw in the country --  here is a link to OCHA's Mali page -- and said he agreed with the IMF's criticism.

  Inner City Press asked who is in control in Kidal? Ging replied that humanitarians deal as they must with whoever is in de facto control of territory.

  Beyond Mali, Ging said in the Central African Republic, “there has been an ethnic cleansing under our watch.”

The Free UN Coalition for Access thanked Ging for holding briefings when he returns from trips -- here's hoping Oscar Fernandez Taranco does so when he returns from Sri Lanka -- and for his candor.

  If the UN had more officials like Ging its denials in Haiti, of bringing cholera, and in Sri Lanka of doing far too little (and worse), would not be what they are today. Watch this site.


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