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Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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UN Plan To Send Envoy Taranco to Bahrain Shot Down by Saudis, Sources Say

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 3 -- When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proposed sending his Middle East coordinator Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to Bahrain, he was told not -- not by Bahrain but by Saudi Arabia, Inner City Press has learned from well placed sources.

After Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain as support against the largely Shi'a protests, the UN issued a cryptic statement in which Ban Ki-moon “noted” their entry. Ban's spokesmen refused repeated requests to elaborate on the statement.

Inner City Press has asked if the UN acknowledges that Bahrain's used of non-national Sunni forces as security -- from Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere -- might constitute a use of mercenaries, Ban's spokesmen have refused to answer.

Taranco in Council, but not in Bahrain: Saudi protest not shown

Now, when Ban's Secretariat told Bahrain they would be sending Tarranco, his Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, it was not Bahrain which said no. Rather, Bahrain told Saudi Arabia, which put on the kibosh.

Saudi Arabia give money and even planes to the UN, and for Ban Ki-moon to fly on. And so unlike Libya and even now Yemen, this is one crackdown on which the UN is doing absolutely nothing. Watch this site.

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At UN in April, As Colombia Pitches Haiti Some Say Not Ready for Prime Time

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- As Colombia takes over the UN Security Council for April, there are more questions than on-the-record answers. Colombia's thematic debate, as Inner City Press reported a month ago, will be about Haiti, and take place on April 6.

  President Santos will come to New York, along with Bill Clinton. It is understood that the GRULAC Latin Group has told Ban Ki-moon that he cannot name Frenchman Bernard Kouchner to succeed Guatemalan Mulet as UN envoy in Haiti.

But Colombia's relations with the rest of GRULAC, especially the ALBA or White Group, is less clear. Whereas Lebanon was the conduit for Arab League views on the Council's Libya resolutions, GRULAC members tell Inner City Press that Colombia is too standoffish, and its Permanent Representive, former coffee executive Nestor Osorio “out of his depth.”

Osorio & Ban Ki-moon, oversight not shown

The other high points for April, according to non-Colombian sources who've seen the program of work, including an April 8 briefing on Darfur, Sudan, and the “horizon” briefing by the Department of Political Affairs on April 11.

  Michelle Bachelet of UN Women will speak on April 12 -- one hopes at the stakeout -- and Margot Wallstrom on sexual violence on April 14.

Small arms will be discussed on April 25, and the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will accompany Council members on a retreat on April 28-29.

On the horizon are two or three trips: at the end of May, France's month, to the African Union, and maybe a junket to China. Russia's proposal for a Middle East trip does not appear to have moved forward, due to US opposition.

Various Council members and other member states have wondered if Colombia will be independent in its month. We will keep an open mind as long as we can. Watch this site.

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

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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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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