UN Banned Its Eritrea Report after Ethiopian Zerihoun Talks to Some SC
By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, July 05, 2012 -- Two days after Inner City Press noted,
reported and asked the UN about the removal from the Internet
> of the "Report of
the Secretary General on Eritrea," S/2012/412, Security Council sources told
Inner City Press why it was taken down.
Wednesday Inner City Press exclusively published the June 8 report
> which "the
Secretariat" confirmed would not be put online again.
On Thursday multiple Security Council sources quoted Ethiopian UN official
Taye-Brook Zerihoun <http://www.ethiopianreview.com/content/27750
saying the report came down after consultations with Council members.
This immediately gave rise to questions by Council members who had not
They agreed in the abstract that the UN Secretariat has the ability to
take down its own reports, even if it injures the UN's credibility.
But, they said, the Secretariat cannot do so after consulting with some
but not all Council members.
Given the role of the US and Ambassador Susan Rice in the passage of the
Eritrea sanctions on December 2011 and the difficulty for that country's
president Isaias Afwerki to address the Council before the sanctions
resolution was finalized "in blue," Inner City Press waited to ask
When she left the Council's session on Sudan and South Sudan, Inner City
Press asked Ambassador Rice about any US role in the taking down of the
Rice said without breaking stride, "What are you talking about Matt?"
Then Inner City Press went to the day's noon briefing and asked about
what Council members quoted Zerihoun as saying. Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky repeated the answer he'd given the day
previous, adding "I'm not privy" to what's said in Council consultations.
Previously, the Spokesperson's office was allowed in, and present at,
Council consultations. Under Ban they were thrown out, after what some
Council members called a weak response from Ban's then chief of staff Vijay
Nambiar. "Would Malcorra do better?" one mused.
Again, we are publishing the June 8 report
> which "the
Secretariat" has confirmed will not be put online again.
As circulated, Ban Ki-moon's report for example quoted Eritrean President
Isaias Afwerki <http://www.innercitypress.com/ban1eritreaicp060812.pdf
telling Ban in September 2011 that "the border issue with Ethiopia was a
'closed chapter' and that there was 'nothing to negotiate.'" See, Paragraph
It recited Ban's July 24, 2011 meeting with "Eritrean Foreign Minister and
Political Adviser to the Eritrean President" on Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan
and Darfur. (See <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLO4vzNX_kA
> Inner City
Press video of Yemane Ghebreab at that time, here
O4vzNX_kA> on Inner City Press' YouTube channel with 28,000 views and
The June 8, 2012 report recited Eritrea's objections
> to Security
Council manuevers in late November and early December 2011, exclusively
reported by Inner City Press, which even after protest would only have
allowed Isaias Afwerki, President of a country facing unprecedented
sanctions, to speak to the Council AFTER the resolution was put in blue and
finalized for a vote.
But now all of that has been taken off line, as if it never existed. A
diplomat from one of Eritrea's neighbors explained to Inner City Press that
the June 8 report just "wasn't right," that it was not like other sanctions
reports and not what his country has in mind.
This was the approach taken when Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Herve Ladsous changed and watered down the most recent Western Sahara
report. As many noted, but only Inner City Press explicitly emphasized,
Ladsous is the fourth French chief of DPKO in a row, whose previous job was
to serve discredited French foreign minister Michele Aliot-Marie including
arranging her flights on planes of cronies of Tunisian dictator Ben Ali.
Since then, Ladsous refuses to answer
> Inner City
> ; Big Five
media have moved to expel
> Inner City Press,
now led by US government owned Voice of America asking the UN to review
> Inner City Press'
accreditation status <http://www.innercitypress.com/unca2voaban062112.html
But who -- not which countries, which is obvious, but which UN official
beyond Ban Ki-moon -- is responsible for taking off line the Eritrea report,
and what will happen and be issued next?
Again, we are publishing the June 8 report which
> "the Secretariat"
has confirmed will not be put online again. Watch this site.
UN Half-Speaks on Detained Staff in Myanmar, Quiet on Ethiopia
By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- After UN spokesman Martin Nesirky brought up the
UN's work in Myanmar at Friday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked him
about reports that authorities there detained six UN system staff and six
members of Medecins Sans Frontieres.
Nesirky said he would respond quickly with a prepared statement, and in
fairness he did:
The UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar has already reported to Government
that some UN staff members were detained by the authorities in Rakhine State
for questioning. The UN is still trying to get access to these staff, and
out of concern for their privacy, the UN has decided not to release any
personal or professional information about any detained staff. The Resident
Coordinator has asked the Government for information about each detained
staff member, making reference to the 1946 Convention on the Privileges and
Immunities of the UN. The UN is still awaiting a formal reply.
It is a formal answer, understandable perhaps given the desire to simply
get them freed. But, for example, the UN has stayed quiet about its Security
staffer in Ethiopia who was first convicted, and then sentenced to eight
A week ago on Friday, June 22 Inner City Press asked Nesirky:
Inner City Press: the case in, in Ethiopia where a UN staff member was found
guilty of terrorism for having met or allegedly met with the Ogaden
Liberation Front. You said that the UN was asking the Government for
clarification... Now Abdulrahman Sheikh Hassan has been sentenced to seven
years in prison. Did the UN get any clarification from the Government and is
the UN lodging any protest at the imprisonment of its own staff member for
speaking to a rebel group?
Spokesperson: We're obviously aware of these reports, and if I have anything
further beyond what was said on Monday, then I'll let you know.
But a week later, nothing. Sometimes could silence be consent? We'll
retain an open mind. Watch this site -- and this Twitter timeline.
Received on Thu Jul 05 2012 - 17:36:07 EDT