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With UN's Ruecker Private in Pristina, Angela Kane Is Said to Pull Ahead, Is Ripert Ripe for DPKO Post?

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

UNITED NATIONS, April 26 -- The reclusive Joachim Ruecker, the chief UN envoy in Kosovo who avoided speaking with the press before or after appearing before the Security Council on April 21, has now provided five responses to questions submitted through his personal web site. The responses come through UNMIK spokesman Alexander Ivanko, and four of the five are in essence "no comment."

Asked why he declined to follow BAN Ki-moon's urging that UN officials made at least some public financial disclosure, but instead checked a box saying I decline to disclose, Ruecker has responded, "I went with one available option and have no further comment."

UN Ethics Office chief Robert Benson has explained the "I choose not to disclose" option in terms of UN officials from countries whose government's might misuse their citizens' disclosures. But Ruecker is from Germany. While Germany recently paid an informant for a CD-ROM listing its citizens with bank accounts in Liechtenstein, this does not appear to be the type of governmental misuse of disclosure to which Mr. Benson referred.

Another UN official who declined to disclose, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, explained on March 26 that his decision was made in light of a pending divorce case. At least he was honest.

      Ruecker, when asked to "please confirm or deny that you are seeking and/or are under consideration for a post at UN headquarters," responded that "this is a question you should ask UNHQ." While it would be for the UN's HQ to confirm if Mr. Ruecker is (still) under consideration, the question of whether he is (still) seeking a high headquarters post is for him to answer, it seems.

            Inquiries within UN HQ indicate that while the Under Secretary General for Management post at issue is still slated for a German, it is now another German, Angela Kane, who would move laterally and up from her current post as Assistant Secretary General in the Department of Political Affairs. In this way, Germany would move up a slot, from ASG to USG, but there would not be a new high post for Germany, to go along with Achem Steiner at UNEP and others. But inquiring minds want to know: why is ASG Kane not named on BAN's list of disclosers?

Ruecker in red tie, climb Pristina stairs, financial disclosure not shown

            The one question to which Ruecker provided an unequivocal answer concerned his time as German consul in Detroit, of which he said "I very much enjoyed my work in the US."

            Asked about "reports that either Mr. Rossin or Mr. Gallucci will leave UNMIK," Ruecker has responded that "the so-called Gallucci issue is an internal UN matter and, as you know, we do not comment on internal matters." The departure of Rossin continues to be strongly rumored. On April 24, Inner City Press asked UN Peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno about the UN's investigation into UNMIK's role in re-taking the courthouse in Mitrovica on March 17, and whether the report is finished. Not yet, Guehenno said, adding that he will be traveling to Belgrade soon. Video here.

            Of Rossin's predecessor Steven Schook, Inner City Press asked "were you aware of any irregularities by Mr. Schook during his tenure under you at UNMIK?"

Ruecker responded, "Mr. Schook was a loyal Principal Deputy who I have a lot of respect for. I understand that he was being investigated by OIOS but I am not aware of any concrete charges." Beyond irregularities in privatization, the matters being explored involve Schook having breached the rules of the UN' witness protection program. Nora Istrefi, we note, recently sang in the New York area...

Footnote:  Of Jean-Marie Guehenno's French successor at DPKO, reports are growing that current French Permanent Representative Jean-Maurice Ripert may be the man. Ripert's reported rift with Sarkozy's diplomatic adviser Jean-David Levitte, however, may present a problem.  Alongside the UN's muted response to the downing of a Georgian drone over Abkhazia -- about which Inner City Press asked asked Guehenno, video here -- UMOMIG's Jean Arnault is still said to be in the running.

In a final French footnote, sources tell Inner City Press that Bernard Kouchner is once again gunning for a UN system post, this time that of High Commissioner for Human Rights as Louise Arbour leaves it. Watch this site.

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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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