Sri Lanka, France Pitches Hospital Not IMF or Genocide, Ban Vs. Adada
Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, April
-- As French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner was en
route to Sri Lanka, his ambassador at the UN Jean-Maurice Ripert
Inner City Press Kouchner's reasoning for going, and for not cancelling
trip after Sri Lanka denied Sweden's foreign minister a visa, saying
France and the UK were only allowed in as two of the five Permanent
the UN Security Council.
"They have already left," Ripert said, referring to
and UK foreign minister David Miliband. "We
have deployed a very important hospital
structure, more than 1 [m]illion
Euro for humanitarian help... the British have given 2 million
something, so they want to go
put some pressure."
Kouchner, Ripert said "he wants to install the
hospital as close
as possible to the conflict zone and he thinks he has to be there to be
goes there." Of the barring of
Sweden's minister, Ripert said "it has been condemned by the presidency
the EU... We don't go there as Europeans, we go there are French and
have been the ones, I was the one last week starting the whole process.
will meet with the president and his brother the minister of defense."
Inner City Press asked about the EU's leverage over
Sri Lanka on tariff
issues, and the pending request for a $1.9 billion loan from the
Monetary Fund. "The
to play with the question of the IMF loan," Ripert said, "what is important is to get the
commitment to stop."
Supplemental analysis: the Ripert quote "The Americans want
to play with the question of the IMF loan" is verbatim. However a
desires has been expressed to add that the question of the IMF loan is
being discussed, is in the air, by the American and others, but that
France believes the priority should be on getting a commitment to stop,
presumably the bombing and offensive military action in the "No Fire"
Ripert was asked if what is happening in Sri Lanka
might be genocide. He
answered, "When you start a discussion of words, then one doesn't talk
about the subject, you talk about the words."
Inner City Press asked if Vijay Nambiar told the
Council that Sri Lanka
had agreed to a UN humanitarian assessment mission to the conflict
"I'm not sure," Ripert answered.
France's Kouchner, Ripert in back at right,
use of leverage not shown
the UN's noon briefing on Tuesday,
Inner City Press asked
First, I wanted to know if the UN has any response to the Government’s
and denial of a visa to the Swedish Foreign Minister.
There was a three-country team there.
Does the UN think that was a useful move?
Spokesperson: We don’t have any reaction at this point on
And Mr. Holmes had announced a $10 million CERF grant to Sri Lanka. Given the issues that have arisen about the
camps and detention and lack of freedom of movement, [are] there any
conditions on that money? And was there
any development on the 13 UN staff members still held in the camps?
Spokesperson: We have no new development on the 13 staff
members. They are still there. I can also add that Mr. Holmes stressed
yesterday -- when he spoke publicly -– he stressed with Government
the need for a humanitarian pause to conduct an assessment of the
to bring in emergency supplies, including food and medical supplies. And he also asked for access to the screening
points and the need for the release of those 13 UN staff members, and
approximately 207 members of non-governmental organizations who are
trapped in the area. But you can ask
further questions. In terms of the Fund
itself, you can ask Mr. Holmes tomorrow, since you’ll get a chance to
him tomorrow afternoon.
Maybe I didn’t understand correctly, but when Mr. [Vijay] Nambiar [the
Secretary-General’s envoy to Sri Lanka] returned, it seemed like the
Secretary-General put out a statement that there had been a commitment
Government to allow a humanitarian team into the conflict zone. Since it hasn’t happened yet -– and there’s
some confusion about what was actually committed to -– I just want to
if it’s at all possible to have some opportunity with Mr. Nambiar that
to the press and say what took place over there. Since
he was the envoy.
Spokesperson: I think what Mr. Nambiar has said was
reflected in the statements we put out. He
had received the agreement of the Government. So
I don’t have any further comments on
that. In terms of what had actually
happened since Mr. Holmes met with the President, you can ask your
But Mr. Nambiar -– since Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari [and other] various
the Secretary-General sends, they almost always brief the press. And you always say, “We’ll make the request”,
and then they’re possible. Is there some
reason -– can Mr. Nambiar brief or can he give some statement of why
Montas: He doesn’t have to do it, you
coming out of the Secretary General's
monthly lunch with the
Security Council, Nambiar did not say anything.
The politics of Darfur, or how the
issue is concerned at the UN and in the West, were on display Tuesday
Security Council's monthly lunch with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
event is decidedly closed to the press, well placed sources at the
immediately afterwards told Inner City Press that Mr. Ban assured "the
Western powers" -- the US, France and UK -- that he had already spoken
his envoy to Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, about their concerns Adada has
on Khartoum and President al-Bashir. This showed, the sources said,
approach to Western powers, and these powers lack of seriousness, then,
question of Sri Lanka.
We continue to wait for the
UK's formal answer to the first of the two
questions which Inner
Press asked the UK Mission to
the UN two questions on Sri Lanka early on April 15:
Does the UK
believe that international law and the
rights of UN humanitarian staff are being violated by the
detention of UN staff in the Sri Lankan government's “IDP” camps?
this press time 13 days later, the formal answer has been
referral to Minister
Miliband's April 12
statement, and this.
On April 21, Inner City Press put the question to U.S. Ambassador Susan
Rice, whose spokesman the following day cleared this response:
"UN personnel should have freedom of movement and be treated with
respect." But they are still detained as of this writing. As more
answers arrive or are released we will report them on this site.
It has been reported
this morning that Sri Lanka's “minister also told the
Foreign Secretary that there was concern that the LTTE would
consolidate its fortification of the No-Fire Zone.” Please confirm the
of that, and of this
and if so, does the UK interpret it as saying that
an offensive on the No-Fire Zone and the civilians in it will begin?
the UK Foreign Secretary say?
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
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