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As SC Slams Ransom, ICP Asks UK If France Pays Them, Wikileaks

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 27 -- After the UN Security Council adopted a resolution against the paying of ransom to kidnappers, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant if he thinks that France pays or works with companies like Areva to pay ransoms.

  Lyall Grant responded that since France is a member of the G8, it had agreed last year not to. But what about the release of Father Vandenbeusch by Boko Haram? And the release in Niger of Pierre Legrand and Daniel Larribe?

  In the Security Council after the vote, Argentina took the floor to explain its reservations about the resolution and process, including that it should have been dealt with in the General Assembly, and not in the more limited, five-country dominated club of the Security Council. (Inner City Press asked, and Lyall Grant said he had no objection to it being considered in the General Assembly as well.)

  But France didn't speak. (Its Permanent Representative Gerard Araud was present, perhaps mostly for the session to follow on France's former colony Cote d'Ivoire.) Is France agreeing to live by this resolution it, as a Permanent Five member of the Council, is preaching to others, including the provisions about private companies? Or it another case of "Do as I say, not as I do?"

  Also, after Robert Fowler and Louis Guay were kidnapped while working for the UN in Niger -- until then not known -- and then ultimately released, cables released by Wikileaks assert that Canada (and Austria) "pay ransom." What is their response to this UN Security Council resolution? Watch this site.

Footnote: Just by coincidence (?) Pamela Falk of CBS the president of the United Nations Correspondents Association, degenerated into the UN's Censorship Alliance, tried to ask the first question to Lyall Grant, as if this were a precedent or tradition.

  It is not, and should not be allowed to be, given UNCA's and its "leaders'" repeated descent into censorship, for example about Sri Lanka, also for France and officials it places on the UN payroll, and even by blocking access to leaked documents by Google's Search, abusing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. There should be no sacred cows, no "Holy Seats."

 And we'll wait to see Falk's and CBS' story on the anti-ransom resolution. Watch this site.

Here is the UK mission's transcription:

Inner City Press: What do you make of the questions raised by Argentina after the vote and also, do you believe that either France pays ransoms or coordinates with countries, like Areva, to pay ransoms for kidnapped employees of such enterprises.

Amb Lyall Grant: I can’t speak on behalf of Argentina or France. Argentina’s concerns seemed to be that they wanted the General Assembly more involved, not just the Security Council and we have no problem with that. This is the start of a process and we’re looking to engage with other UN bodies and with other UN Member States to take forward this issue, but because it is focussed on counter-terrorism and tackling the threat of financing for terrorist activities caused by kidnapping, we do think it was right to bring this issue to the Security Council. On France, as you know, France is a member of the G8, and all G8 leaders expressly rejected the payment of ransom to terrorists for kidnaps in the June G8 summit last year.


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