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As UN Denies Pakistan Snub, Ex-Envoy Akram Joins Houston Oil Co., Kerim for FYROM President?

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, October 25, updated Oct. 28 -- The UN's relationship with Pakistan is complex to say the least. After a newspaper there reported that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is snubbing the country by not visiting during his upcoming Asian tour, Ban's spokesperson used the next day's noon press briefing to take issue with the story. Then while in the October 24 noon briefing the spokesperson said that in Haiti UN Day would not be celebrate, she did not note the widespread strike in Kashmir meant to call the UN to account, to work to solve that region's problems as called for decades ago.

  Meanwhile, Pakistan's former Ambassador to the UN, Munir Akram, has recently been seen in UN Headquarters. Inner City Press asked him to confirm the little known story that Akram has taken a place on the board of directors of Houston-based oil fields services company Allis-Chalmers Energy Inc. In a press release few in diplomatic circles seem to have seen, and that is now gone from the Internet, echoed by a short October 5 article, Micki Hidayatallah, Allis-Chalmers' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated that "Ambassador Akram will be a valuable asset for our board of directors, specifically in the development of new international markets for Allis-Chalmers services."

 Also cashing in on previous UN system service is Srgjan Kerim, last year's General Assembly President. First he grabbed a spot as another UN climate change envoy; now he in the ring to be nominated to run for president of FYROM. Meanwhile last week UK Ambassador John Sawers confirmed to Inner City Press that while Kerim had sought and received $40,000 from the UK to fund his President of the General Assembly office, specifically for UK citizen Robert Pollock, when the UK found out that Pollock was getting paid as a UN employee it demanded the return of its money from Kerim. Fast and loose, it what it's being called.

Update of October 28 -- Kerim's former spokesman has submitted the following this morning:

"These are spurious and unfounded allegations. There was no financial transaction between the UK Permanent Mission in this instance. Once Ambassador Sawer realized the administrative mistake the check was promptly returned. This incident typically underscores the problem caused by the ad hoc and piecemeal way the Office of the GA President as an institution has been funded. This is why President Kerim had from the  beginning asked for clarity on this and proposed that the staffing and functioning be funded entirely from the UN budget to make things transparent, accountable and equal for all incoming GA Presidents regardless of the size and wealth of each sending country or the ad hoc desires and wills of Member States."

  We'll have more on this topic, but for now we note that the irrregular nature of the office of the President of the General Assembly not being fully funded by the UN does not excuse Kerim's office having asked a member state for money to pay a staffer who was already getting paid by the UN.

Akram and Clinton, cash-in President, Kerim as head of FYROM not shown

  Speaking of FYROM, on October 27 a rhetoric-heavy protest is scheduled in front of the U.S. Mission to the UN, the CAPITAL LETTER-HEAVY notice for which reads:

RALLY FOR THE HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS IN FYROM Monday October 27, 2008 12:00 –2:00 pm 140 East 45th Street New York City Between 3rd and Lexington Avenues The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) mobilizes community activists, with the support of the PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATION USA, and other associations as well as human rights activists near the United States Mission to the UN in midtown Manhattan.

All who believe in justice and American democratic values are encouraged to join us and demand that: FYROM should stop being the perpetrator of cultural genocide against its historic Hellenic community. Its unapologetic, historically revisionist stance against humanity and violation of human rights should be properly investigated by the US State Department Human Rights division for denying the Hellenic minority in FYROM the right to their Hellenic identity and nationality. The government of FYROM (with its capital in Skopje) has a long legacy of anti-Hellenic cultural genocide, as their previous regimes forcibly transferred Hellenic nationals to iron curtain countries. .. Article 7 of the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (26 August 1994) [4] uses the phrase "cultural genocide." The complete article reads as follows: Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; (c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights; (d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures; (e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.

FYROM is guilty of all of the above-itemized sub-articles. The HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY will demand an end to the continuing campaign by the FYROM government to deny the Hellenic identity and nationality of its Hellenic minority. The HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY will call for human rights violations against the Hellenic community to be publicly investigated and condemned by the US State Department. Participants will be provided with signs, and Hellenic flags. Speakers will include community activists and human rights experts and live instrumental music from Macedonia. Please be advised that community affairs in New York do not permit signs or banners or flagpoles that are not made from paper or cloth. The HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY includes the distribution of thousands of informational pamphlets, stickers, t-shirts and expert media packets for the press. Banners will display the slogans "SHAME ON FYROM, IDENTITY THEFT OF THE 3,000 YEAR GREEK HERITAGE OF MACEDONIA" "FYROM STOP ABUSING THE HELLENIC COMMUNITY" "FYROM GUILTY OF GREEK CHILD ABDUCTION" " COMMUNIST BRUTALITY: 1949 28,000 GREEK CHILDREN FORCIBLY TRANSFERRED BY CRIMINAL FYROM" Please view and distribute our HELLENIC HUMAN RIGHTS RALLY promo video:

  We aim to have more on all this.

Update: while we published the notice above because we found the heavy dose of rhetoric and CAPITAL LETTERS noteworthy -- and telegraphed our reasoning by introducing it as "a rhetoric-heavy protest is scheduled in front of the U.S. Mission to the UN, the CAPITAL LETTER-HEAVY notice for which reads," have received numerous responses we'll publish this one for balance and be done:

I noticed you published a piece on a protest organized by the Greek community this upcoming Monday.  It is quite interesting that they claim Macedonia has no rights for a supposed Greek minority in Macedonia, yet according to Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, etc...Greece has no rights whatsoever for the Macedonian minority. If there were an oppressed Greek community in Macedonia, why hasn't Amnesty or Human Rights Watch or State Department Human Rights report reported on this?

 Why indeed. For what it's worth, we note the U.S. State Department's application of pressure to recognize Kosovo, and in light of the Pakistan piece above, India's recently reported recognition of the shorter form of FYROM as the name...

Update of October 27 -- Following Monday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press attended a protest in front of the US Mission to the UN. It concerned the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and included charges of genocide, cultural and otherwise. The crowd chanted, "Shame on you, FYROM!"

  A woman passing by asked Inner City Press, "Who's Fyrom?"  After receiving the explanation of the acronym, she said, "They ought to make that clear. No one out here understands."

  Several participants told Inner City Press that behind the demonstration was the exposure last week of the US State Department's communications with FYROM and even UN "name issue" envoy Matthew Nimmitz. "The UN shouldn't take its instructions from the US," one of them said. But on this and some other issues, it does.

   Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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