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UN Mali Envoy Search Shifts from De Mistura to Koenders or Nigerienne

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 24 -- On the eve of the UN Security Council adopting the French drafted Mali resolution, the politics and candidates of who will head the mission as envoy have changed, Inner City Press has learned.

  In early April the UN had fastened for envoy on Staffan De Mistura, Italy's deputy foreign minister who previously led UN missions in Iraq (where he hired Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's son in law as chief of staff) and Afghanistan.

  Some found it too much that the UN would have an Italian as envoy on the Sahel, Romano Prodi, then De Mistura on Mali. But the idea was, Prodi would run for president of Italy. He did, but lost. Now he remains, damaged goods, in the Sahel.

  Meanwhile with a new Napolitano government in Italy, De Mistura thinks he can be promoted up to foreign minister. UN sources tell Inner City Press he has taken his name out of the Mali race.

  So who are the candidates? Sources tell Inner City Press they include Bert Koenders, currently at the UN's mission in Cote d'Ivoire (where he has covered up UN inaction or worse as internally displaced people were killed in the Nahibly IDP camp), another candidate and and the former acting chief of the mission in Darfur, Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane, from Niger.

Some people call this selection “not strong,” but of the two, Koenders has already shown himself biased and a tool of Herve Ladsous. So why not Aïchatou Mindaoudou Souleymane from Niger? The downside is that Niger is “in the neighborhood,” as one UN source put it. Watch this site.

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