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Amid Myanmar Crimes on Rohingya, UN Calls It Flux, Passed Buck to Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 16 -- After ethnic attacks on and threats to mass deport the Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar, Inner City Press on Thursday ran to ask UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman if the UN agrees that these are crimes, and why the UN has continued praising Myanmar's government or regime.

   Spokesman Eduardo Del Buey replied that "it's not for us to debate if it's an International Criminal Court crime." Video here, from Minute 3:41.

  He said in Myanmar it's "a few steps forward, a few steps backwards, the situation is in flux and we accept that... but we cannot divorce it from the progress that's taking place in other parts of the country. Hence the more comprehensive approach we've taken with Myanmar."

   Actually, US state media Voice of America reports that "the United Nations says the security situation is improving in Burma's western Rakhine state."

   Also dubious UPI reported that "Vijay Nambiar, a special adviser to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said he welcomed Turkish and OIC support for Myanmar's reform processes. 'This has demonstrated the willingness of the Myanmar government to cooperate with the international community to alleviate the suffering of its people,' he said in a statement."

   These UN quotes are cut and pasted directly from UN press releases. At Thursday noon briefing, only two correspondents asked questions, on a total of four topics: Myanmar, Syria, the crash of Uganda helicopters on the way to Somalia and if the UN will pay for them (Del Buey told Inner City Press he's check) and the repatriation of Nigerian peacekeepers from Darfur.

   On this last, Del Buey told Inner City Press to "ask DPKO." But the chief of DPKO Herve Ladsous is on record that he will not answer Inner City Press questions.

  Del Buey said that "Mr. Dwyer" can answer. But it was Kieran Dwyer who said, on camera on July 17, "we are on the record as not answering your questions."

  Also, it was DPKO and the UN which failed for a full day to provide confirmation after Inner City Press reported Gambari had left Darfur, even as "UN News" ran an interview with Gambari. And so it goes at the UN.

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