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On UN's Sahel Office, Chad's PR Tell ICP It Should Be in Sahel, But Money Talks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 27 -- When Chad's Permanent Representative to the UN Mahamat Zene Cherif came to the Security Council stakeout on August 27 about the Council's just-adopted Presidential Statement on the Sahel, Inner City Press asked him about changes from his first draft.

   Specifically, hadn't his draft proposed that the operations of the UN's Sahel envoy not been in Dakar but rather one of the Group of 5 Sahel countries? Hadn't the draft proposed that the envoy be upgraded to Under Secretary General, given the mandate to interface with heads of state?

   Mahamat Zene Cherif to his credit acknowledged these changes, saying that keeping the operation in Senegal -- provisionally, he called it -- was a purely financial decision. 

  Inner City Press notes that while there are often complaints against trying to address political issues in the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee, in this case the P3 donor countries used the Security Council to impose budget discipline.

   From the Security Council stakeout Inner City Press went to the August 27 UN noon briefing and asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric why Ban only proposed the Sahel envoy as an Assistant Secretary General based in Dakar. "Because," was essentially the answer on the first; on location, Dujarric said it made sense. UNOWA is based in Dakar.

    Mahamat Zene Cherif also spoke in the Security Council on August 27 with the African Union's view of the Council's Darfur resolution. He is more candid than many and should do more stakeouts. Back on March 7 Inner City Press asked him about those who have had to flee Central African Republic into Chad. Shouldn't they be able to return to CAR? Video here and embedded below

Mahamat Zene Cherif said while Chad will not force anyone back, they should be able to return. He said that eighty percent of the Muslims have been chased out of the CAR.

How can elections be held this way, he asked.

Inner City Press asked if perhaps those displaced could vote even while in Chad. Mahamat Zene Cherif said the UN could check the feasibility, but that Chad would hope the displaced could return to CAR.

  The day before, Inner City Press tried to ask French Ambassador Gerard Araud about a statement or report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay that the French Sangaris force first disarming the ex-Seleka had left Muslim community vulnerable to attack by Christian anti-Balaka militias.

  Araud refused to take the question while at the microphone, then from the wings insisted there is no Navi Pillay report. Click here for that.

  What forces allowed 80% of the Muslims in CAR to be chased out? And what responsibility do they bear? Watch this site.


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