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As Libya Kills Protesters, Gadhafi Daughter is UN Ambassador, UNDP Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 20 -- As in Libya the forces, including mercenaries, of Colonel Moammar Gadhafi shoot and kill peaceful protesters, the UN has been nearly entirely silent.

  On the morning of February 20, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

In the wake of the gunning down of 46 democracy protesters in Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi, by security forces under the command of Colonel Gadafi, is the UN reassessing its relationship with Col Gadhafi’s daughter, Aicha, who the UN has designated a “Goodwill Ambassador?

Has the Secretary-General sought to use the UN’s special relationship with its Goodwill Ambassador Dr Aicha Gadhafi to persuade her father not to use such excessive force against peaceful demonstrators?

  Nine hours later, no response at all from the UN. Inner City Press also asked Ban's spokesman Nesirky “in this context, the Secretary-General's planned trip to California to meet and greet 'the entertainment industry,' how much is this trip costing, and is it funded by the Regular Budget of the UN -- and if not, what is the funding source?” Again, no answer.

On February 17, Inner City Press had asked Nesirky

Inner City Press: Is there any thought of using the existing UN programs on the ground, whether it is UNDP or otherwise? There was some criticism of this training of police in Egypt prior to the — there was criticism by NGOs that it didn’t bring in human rights activists but rather Government people. Is there some thinking of how — the UNDP website about Libya hasn’t been updated now in several months, I guess — it seems to some, due to the turmoil. What about these UN…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Who might that be? Who is it, these people who think it might be?

Inner City Press: People that look at it and have seen that it was updated all the way, until suddenly there was turmoil in the country and then it is not updated any more.

UN's Ban and Gadhafi, Goodwill Ambassador daughter not shown

Inner City Press: What’s the role, according to the Secretary-General, of the existing UN programmes in countries like Libya and Yemen, where Helen Clark visited and didn’t say anything about democracy?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, there are lots of, as you know, across the region, there is a UN presence in different constellations; country teams with different components, whether it is UNDP or other UN agencies, funds and programmes. Of course, given that they are already on the ground, given that they have been working there in different capacities on different projects, they are well placed to be further involved. But this is part of a bigger picture, and it is being very carefully coordinated.

Inner City Press: Is there any change of policy? I guess I am saying, given that the announcement today that the UN is sort of taking cognizance of all this, is there, is that…?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, Matthew, it’s hardly an announcement today. This is something that has been said consistently for a number of weeks now. And indeed, further back, as you know, the Human Development Reports on the Arab world have been saying this for the best part of a decade. So, okay, thank you very much.

But what had the UN been doing about Libya? Watch this site.

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As Egypt Ambassador Dismissing Web Crackdown, His UN Job Search Continues, Yemen & Tunisia Perm Reps Compete?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 8 -- Amid continuing protests and crackdowns on media in Egypt, the Mubarak government's Permanent Representative to the UN Maged A. Abdelaziz spoke to the Press on Tuesday. Inner City Press asked him about the blocking of the Internet and social networks and whether these attacks on freedom of expression would continue.

I'm sure you know better than that,” Abdelaziz said. “Now everything is working -- social networks, Internet, Twitters... you have contact with your people back there, you see everything.”

But the fact that television networks can work around restrictions and threats does not answer the question. Abdelaziz said that as Ambassador to the UN in New York, there were questions he could not answer.

Earlier on Tuesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was asked about complaints by Abdelaziz, first to Ban's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar, about comments about Mubarak stepping down. Ban said

I think that there was some misunderstanding about my statement. I hope that there will not be much misunderstanding on that. What I said was that the Government leaders should listen more attentively to the genuine aspirations of the people and there should be a transition, and the sooner the better. And the future of their country and transition process should be something which should be decided by the people.”

Less than an hour later, Abdelaziz seemed pleased when he said that what Ban Ki-moon had just said “is the UN position.” Abdelaziz met with Ban on Monday.

Maged Abdelaziz makes point to Ban: UN job offer not yet shown

Abdelaziz' and the Egyptian Mission's spokeswoman commented to Inner City Press on Tuesday about its reporting that Abdelaziz is seeking a job. She denied he is seeking an IMF job -- which Inner City Press never reported. But there are many sources for his UN job search.

Also, the Permanent Representatives of Yemen and Tunisia are said to be seeking UN jobs -- one effect of what's sweeping the region. But it is like musical chairs. Watch this site.

* * *

As Egypt's IMF Rep Quits, Its Ambassador Wants UN Job Like Choi - & Kouchner?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 6 -- With Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UN Maged A. Abdelaziz set to meet on Monday with the returned Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, there's been scant reporting of a topic the two have discussed for some time now: a top UN job for Maged.

  For many months the UN Secretariat has been abuzz with Maged's demands for a UN job. When the number two post at the UN Development Program opened up, Maged tried to become the African Group's candidate. This lead to a split; the job was awarded to a candidate from Costa Rica.

  Since then, a senior UN official repeated to Inner City Press on February 4, Maged has continued to press for a UN posting, even as his name circulated in the pre-January 25 days as a possible foreign minister. “Now that chance is off the table,” the UN official told Inner City Press. “So Maged will just have to push the UN harder.”

  Meanwhile Egypt's now deposed finance minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali resigned as head of the Monetary and Finance Committee of the International Monetary Fund. He could have tried to stay on, but didn't. A lesson for Mubarak?

  The UN in recent years has handed top posts to a number of former Ambassadors, for example giving its Somalia post to Augustine Mahiga after he was Tanzania's Permanent Representative to the UN. The UN's envoy to Cote d'Ivoire, Choi Young-jin, was South Korea's Ambassador to the UN, along with masterminding Ban Ki-moon's campaign to become Secretary General.

  Now the buzz is that deposed French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner wants to become the head of the UN Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH. Not only NGOs and many Haitians, but even other UN officials, think it would be a “terrible decision,” given France's history with Haiti. But this is Ban Ki-moon's UN. Watch this site.

 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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