Monday, 31 August 2009

U.N. Chief's 'Quiet' Outreach To Autocrats Causing Discord

Ban Accused of Weakening Body's Moral Authority

By Colum Lynch
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 1, 2009

UNITED NATIONS -- U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has a message for despots and dictators: We can talk.

The world's top diplomat has had more face time with autocratic leaders than any of his recent predecessors, jetting off for tete-a-tetes with Burma's senior general, Than Shwe, and pulling aside Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir at summits for discreet chats.

Ban has said he is confident that his trademark "quiet diplomacy" can help nudge the most recalcitrant leaders to mend their ways. He says he has pried open the door for aid workers in cyclone-ravaged Burma, gotten thousands of international peacekeepers into Darfur and helped raise the international profile of climate change.

"It is human relationships which can make a difference," Ban said in a recent interview, adding that he doesn't find it productive to scold foreign leaders in public but won't shrink from delivering tough messages in private. "Some might think I have been quite soft, but I have been quite straight, very strong in a sense."

The approach, however, has recently exposed the U.N. chief to criticism that he too often remains silent in the face of atrocities by the very leaders he seeks to cultivate, and that he has exaggerated his accomplishments. His frequent contacts with unsavory leaders have contributed to the United Nations' reputation as a forum for grubby compromises, detractors say.

"The main image people have of him is sitting down with the bad guys and getting nothing," Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said of Ban.

As the Obama administration explores the merits of engagement with its adversaries, including Iran, North Korea and Syria, Ban's diplomatic strategy offers insights into some of the political risks of haggling with the world's most difficult political leaders. Halfway through his first term, Ban is facing a leadership crisis as U.N. civil servants and diplomats here increasingly portray him as an ineffective administrator whose reluctance to hold outlaw leaders to account for bad behavior has undercut the United Nations' moral authority.

For Ban, perhaps the greatest test of engagement as a policy came earlier this year.

In Sri Lanka, where the government was pushing to crush the ruthless Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the secretary general reached out to President Mahinda Rajapaksa to persuade him to show restraint to protect the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians forced to serve as the Tigers' human shields.

In an effort to maintain a cordial working relationship with Rajapaksa, Ban and his top advisers withheld criticism of the government, advising U.N. human rights officials not to publish U.N. estimates of the civilian death toll in the conflict, arguing that they were not convinced of their credibility, according to officials familiar with the discussions. In the end, Ban's diplomatic intervention achieved a brief weekend pause in the fighting but did little to stem to slaughter, which cost the lives of 7,800 to 20,000 civilians.

Ban says he won commitments from Sri Lankan leaders to improve conditions for displaced people and to pursue reconciliation, but his handling of such crises has raised questions among some U.N. diplomats about his viability for a second term.

Norway's U.N. ambassador, Mona Juul, wrote that Ban is a "spineless and charmless" leader who has failed to convey the U.N.'s "moral voice and authority," according to a confidential memo to Norway's foreign minister. Juul, whose husband, Terje Roed-Larsen, serves as one of Ban's Middle East envoys, sharply criticized Ban's handling of the crises in Sri Lanka and Burma in the memo, which was first published in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

"The Secretary-General was a powerless observer to thousands of civilians losing their lives and becoming displaced from their homes," Juul wrote of Ban's role in Sri Lanka. "The moral voice and authority of the Secretary-General has been missing."

Ban has been stung by the criticism and said he is striving to improve his performance. But he suggested that the criticism stemmed from a misunderstanding in the West of his Asian diplomatic approach. "We need to be able to respect the culture, tradition and leadership style of each and every leader," Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, told reporters in a visit to Oslo on Monday. "I have my own charisma, I have my own leadership style."

Mission to Burma

Despite the criticism, Ban still enjoys the support of the United Nations' most powerful countries, including the United States, Chinaand Britain, and of the U.S. Congress, which has recently voted to pay off American debt to the United Nations.

Ban's advisers say the criticism is patently unfair and does not take into account his willingness to speak out against abuses. Ban infuriated China by criticizing its treatment of ethnic Uighurs in western China, he has spoken out against Iranian President Mamhoud Ahmedinijad's nuclear ambitions and his frequent anti-Israeli remarks, and he has publicly scolded the powerful Group of Eight industrial powers for not committing to steeper emissions cuts.

Still, U.N. officials and diplomats are concerned that the criticism of Ban's political mediation is overshadowing what they believe is his most important accomplishment: rallying international support for a treaty that would reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

The Obama administration has publicly praised Ban's performance. But before joining the administration, Samantha Power, the White House's top U.N. specialist, was a sharp critic of Ban's diplomatic style, characterizing his handling of the Darfur crisis as "extremely disappointing."

"Can we afford to do without a global figure, a global leader?" she told the New Statesman, a British magazine, last year.

U.S. officials say that Power's comments do not reflect the views of the administration and that they were made before she had an opportunity to work closely with Ban.

"Secretary General Ban has one of the most difficult jobs in the world," Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement. "I believe he is principled, hard-working, cares deeply and is willing to take risks to carry out his mission." Rice also credited Ban with increasing the number of women in senior posts and "bringing countries together to tackle challenges such as climate change and global health."

But Rice has differed with Ban over his engagement strategy, and she cautioned him against traveling to Burma in July. Rice argued that a high-profile meeting with the Burmese military ruler would make him look weak unless he extracted a clear commitment to democratic reform, according to U.N. officials.

During his visit, Than Shwe bluntly rejected Ban's appeal to release opposition leader Aung San Su Kyi; Ban's request to meet with her also was denied. Five weeks later, a Burmese court sentenced Suu Kyi to 18 additional months under house arrest, ensuring that she will not participate in the country's national elections next year.

But Burma's ruler subsequently allowed another visitor, Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), to meet with Suu Kyi and to take home a U.S. citizen, John Yettaw, who had been sentenced to seven years in prison for paying an unauthorized visit to her villa.

Ban bridles at the suggestion that his trip was a failure, saying he has established a vital personal channel to the Burmese leader. Ban said he also prevailed upon Than Shwe to allow him to address a gathering of Burmese officials, academics and relief groups, where he sharply criticized Burma's human rights record and publicly chided Than Shwe for rebuffing his request to see Suu Kyi. "That was unprecedented," Ban said.

Burmese opposition leaders say that while they appreciate Ban's efforts, they do not think he has moved the country toward democracy. "I don't want to say it was totally nothing," Burma's exiled prime minister, Sein Win, said during a recent visit to U.N. headquarters. "When you look at the immediate impact, of course, we could not see anything."

'Spotlight' on Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, Ban and his advisers sought to perform a delicate balancing act. They pressed the country's leader in private to halt the shelling of civilian zones, while avoiding an open confrontation with cautiously worded public statements about the violence.

Human rights advocates faulted Ban for not pressing hard enough to hold Sri Lanka accountable for its actions. Days after the war ended, the secretary general signed a joint agreement with Rajapaksa committing Sri Lanka to pursue political reconciliation with ethnic Tamils and to release hundreds of thousands of displaced ethnic Tamils in government-controlled camps.

In exchange, Ban dropped a U.N. push for an independent investigation into war crimes, leaving it to Sri Lanka to determine whether its military was responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in the final offensive. Two days later, Sri Lankan diplomats, citing the agreement, quashed a proposal by the top U.N. human rights official to create an independent commission of inquiry to probe war crimes in the country.

Some diplomats have defended Ban's handling of the crisis, saying he pushed far more aggressively to protect Sri Lankan civilians than did any government, including the United States, India, China, Russia and key European powers.

"He put a spotlight on what was happening in Sri Lanka," said John Sawers, Britain's U.N. ambassador. "So it's not perfect in Sri Lanka; far too many civilians got killed and there is still an outstanding problem with the civilians in the [Internally Displaced Persons] camps. But I believe Ban's engagement made the situation less bad than it would otherwise have been."

Saturday, 29 August 2009


DESA has become a den of corruption and cronyism. Thanks to the Greek project, the bad apple started to smell with Bertucci. But Bertucci has been nothing more than a dandy dealer in a corrupt network. The real goons are Peluso, Oveissi etc. They thrive by nurturing corruption.

Whether it involves facilitating recruitment of incompetent Bastet, or Bertucci's niece and nephew, or promotion of clueless Hian Qian as Division Director, it is these two opportunists who keep on buttering the right side of the bread so that their own hold on the Department continues unabated.

Lot were expected of M. Sha Zhukang. But not only the gentleman has proven himself to be an outright humbug, in league with these two master schemers of the Department he himself has also indulged in the most wanton act of nepotism and favouritism - promotion of clueless Haiyan Qian, a fellow chinese and the daughter of his former colleague, to the position of Director of DPADM, over the heads of many extremely highly competent candidates is a good example of abusive use of his authority. It has been reported that to accomodate Haiyan, Mr. Sha draically changd the original TOR of the position.

It is about time that OIOS takes note of these dubious activiies and do something to clean up the Department.

DESA's reputation both in substantive as well as in administrative terms, is at lowest ever.

DESA's new corruption case might turn into another nightmare for Ban Ki-moon

Spokesperson's Noon Briefing

Question: Can I just ask you one question. There is a pretty detailed report out about a UN employee, Bruno Bastet and that he was receiving welfare housing payments in France while living in New York in a condominium and he was also receiving rental subsidy from the UN. I wanted to just ask two things about it. I wanted to ask first, why does the UN or what is the Secretariat’s thinking on paying rental subsidy to people that actually own, you know extremely expensive apartments? They don’t get rental subsidy if they live in the apartment they own. But, if they rent it out to others and rent another apartment, then they receive rental subsidy. Does this seem reasonable to the Secretariat or…?

Spokesperson: Well, this is a matter, you know, as concerned that matter, you know the matter of the staff member’s rental subsidy, in the case of Mr. Bastet, that could be reviewed through the UN internal process to determine the accuracy and completeness of any statement and claims submitted by Mr. Basted. So, that’s what I can say. In terms of the actual, I can get some additional information for you on rental subsidies, but usually rental subsidies are given for a certain number of years to staff members coming into the system, and they are done according to the statements made by the staff member. [The rental subsidy declines gradually over a seven-year period, so that eventually the staff member must adjust fully to the local market.] And you can get, of course, full information on this. I think you can find this on our website, about the policy on subsidies.

Question: What I mean, because I think Marie was asked about it yesterday, because she is quoted in this report and she says it’s entirely legal for a UN official to own property, but nonetheless apply for rental subsidy to live elsewhere. And I guess I am just asking, you know, whatever the specifics of Mr. Bastet is, does that policy make sense that… Is the purpose of the rental subsidy to give it to somebody that can own, that only lives in rental housing? Or does this create an incentive to actually, as they say, build a real estate empire? Like somebody could own three buildings and still be getting a rental subsidy from the UN. Is that…?

Spokesperson: I’ll try to forward that question for you to the people in charge.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Loophole on UN rules allows US-Taxpayer's money to go for purchasing properties in Manhattan for UN bureaucrats

Following a FOXNEWS Reporting -- Many DESA staff are focused on how did Bruno Bastet (french diplomat) managed to pose as poor person back in France, while benefiting a hefty salary and many UN perks in New York, and whether Haiyan Qian or Catherine Pelluso or SHa Zukang knew about his deals long before the FOXNEWS Article.........
But Bastet is half of the story....or may we say quarter of it ? Than what is the other half of it?

The U.N. benefits loophole that allows Bastet to claim a rental subsidy in New York City even while he owns an apartment there is not something that the U.N. loudly broadcasts either.
According to a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, such subsidy payments are perfectly legal, provided employees are not living in the property they own. Under U.N. rules, employees can get subsidies for rental accommodation — paid for by U.N. contributors like the U.S.— even while they build a real estate portfolio in the same city where they rent a dwelling.
The only U.N. employees barred from receiving the rental subsidy are "staff who live in their own home or who do not pay rent for their dwellings," according to deputy U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe.
According to the U.N. Secretariat's proposed budget for 2010 and 2011, the U.N.'s human resource department expects that about 840 U.N. headquarters staff members will receive a rental subsidy.
Who are these 840 UN Headquarters staff who like Bastet received rental subsidies while owning a property in Manhattan or three boroughs ?

Ban Ki Moon should remove the UN Immunity from Bastet

Following a detailed FOXNEWS Reporting - In order to allow French authorities to undertake their full investigation and appropriate actions, Ban Ki Moon should strip Bruno Bastet from UN immunity.
Any attempt to protect Bastet would heavily jeopardize the fragile authority and reputation of the United Nations.
The UN-HR rules say specifically that when e staff is involved in any outside-legal or court affairs should retain first from Legal Affairs the temporary suspension of his/her Immunities in order to properly participate in any proceedings.
Ban Ki Moon should show the world that he is not a "spineless" individual but a leader with strong values.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Former Chief of Staff of Guido Bertucci, Investigated for fraud in France

Thursday , August 27, 2009

By George Russell


A United Nations official in a department that promotes "ethics, transparency and accountability" falsified his permanent address to illegally obtain what could amount to tens of thousands of dollars in family allowance and housing funds that normally go to poor and moderate-income citizens in his native France, according to investigators there.

The fraud findings against Bruno Bastet, 40, are contained in an investigation report issued on May 20 by France's Caisse d'Allocations Familiales (CAF), a branch of the French social security system that calls itself "one of the pivots of the French 'social model'" — in other words, a centerpiece of the French welfare state.

The fraud involves Bastet's listing himself, his then common-law wife and two children as residents of a city-owned housing complex in Paris designated for those in need of social assistance. Bastet, a program officer in the U.N. Department of Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), has actually lived in New York City since 2004, while his former companion told FOX News she and the children have lived in the Dominican Republic since 2005.

Housing benefits of the kind that Bastet has been receiving are based on a complicated formula that involves income, family size and type of rental unit, but they are generally given to French citizens who have income of $17,000 per year or less. They must be living in their homeland.

Bastet could hardly be described as in need of the social assistance reserved for lower-income French residents. Non-American U.N. employees at his P-4 level and experience have tax-free salaries of about $100,000 annually.

With hefty cost-of-living adjustments for New York City residence and other benefits, moreover, Bastet's annual tax-free income is more like $180,000, according to documents obtained by FOX News.

As part of that package, Bastet has taken advantage of a king-sized loophole in United Nations cost-of-living regulations to receive a $2,000-per-month rental housing subsidy, even while other documents obtained by FOX News show he is the long-time owner of a posh Manhattan apartment.

Bastet's apartment is at 140 E. 56th Street in the expensive midtown area, about a dozen blocks from his U.N. office on 44th Street, and a short stroll from the shopping mecca of Bloomingdale's. Apartments in the building have recently been valued at anywhere from $525,000 for a studio apartment to $1.395 million for a three-bedroom unit, according to information obtained from New York City realtors.

CAF officials confirmed to FOX News that Bastet would be asked to return funds discussed in the investigation report, but did not answer further questions. Once a finding of fraud has been made, a criminal complaint can be made in French court, in addition to demands for restitution. Whether such a complaint has been made is not known. Overall, as much as $31,000 at current exchange rates could be involved.

Click here for a copy of the investigation report and a translation. (Certain details in documents have been redacted to protect privacy.)

Asked to comment on the findings against Bastet, the U.N. declined, citing employee confidentiality.

According to the CAF report, Bastet had for years been listing himself and his common-law wife and two children for family allowance — and subsequently housing-support purposes — as residing at 7A Rue Charlemagne, an apartment in central Paris, not far from the River Seine. In order to receive the benefits, this had to be his principal and primary residence.

As recently as April 20, 2009 — a month before CAF issued its report — the U.N. itself backed up Bastet's false claim about his French address, with a formal letter from the U.N. Department of Human Resources Management to Bastet's Paris attorney, certifying the Rue Charlemagne address as his permanent residence.

Click here to see the U.N. letter.

According to his common-law wife, Eve de Lengaigne, who has long been separated from him, the apartment complex is specifically designated as housing for those in need of social assistance. In fact, allocation of such apartments in Paris has long been highly politicized; waiting lists are long, and much political string-pulling can be involved in obtaining them.

According to the CAF investigative report, however, French tax records show that Bastet lists his permanent primary residence on a bucolic road on the outskirts of a town named Montgeron, more than a 20-minute highway drive from high-cost-of-living Paris, where the housing subsidy is allocated.

The Charlemagne address is listed as a "secondary residence," on the tax records, says the report, adding that Bastet has not been seen by neighbors at the Paris address for a lengthy period.

Bastet and his common-law spouse, says the report, have not lived together for "many years." The CAF document cites testimony by the common-law spouse, Eve de Lengaigne, that she and her two children — one by Bastet, one from an earlier marriage — have been living since September, 2006 in the Dominican Republic, making them ineligible for housing-support payments.

In fact, Lengaigne told FOX News she left France even earlier, in September 2005. She also declared that Bastet paid her and her children between $6,000 and $7,000 in monthly support money in the Dominican Republic, dating from her September 2006 departure from France until November 2008. He continues to pay roughly $200 per month for their son's schooling, she said. The couple are currently engaged in an acrimonious legal dispute over visitation rights to the son.

Lengaigne, a former flight attendant who is currently unemployed, told French investigators she never applied for housing allowance payments while in France, nor did she receive any.

Lengaigne's name was nonetheless listed as a beneficiary on CAF statements showing housing support payments of roughly $615 per month, in current dollar terms, issued from April 21, 2007 until December 2008. Her name continued to be listed as a beneficiary of family allowance payments of about $170 monthly, at current exchange rates, until February 2009.

Contacted by FOX News, Lengaigne reiterated that she had never applied for or personally received any housing subsidies while in France, or afterwards. Any family allowance or other money allotted to her by CAF for that purpose went into bank accounts controlled by Bastet, she claimed, and she did not see the bank statements after she left France. She told FOX News she assumed her family allowance payments had lapsed when she did not fill out a required annual application for them after leaving for the Dominican Republic.

According to documents supplied to FOX News by Lengaigne, the first housing payment made by CAF in April 2007 was sent to a joint account created by the couple prior to their separation. But the next CAF housing payment went to a new bank account, and was designated only in Bastet's name.

In its investigation report, CAF notes that on April 30, 2007, Bastet and Lengaigne together sent a signed letter to the social welfare agency, asking future support payments of any kind be filed electronically to Bastet's new bank account. CAF obliged.

For the next 20 months, payments of about $785 a month (at current exchange rates) for both housing and family allowances went to the new Bastet account. At some point they began being credited directly to the landlord, a French housing agency, presumably as a credit against the apartment rent.

Click here to see one of the payment statements.

As the CAF report notes, however, Lengaigne denies she ever signed a power of attorney giving Bastet the right to collect that money on his own, or transfer it to anyone else. In telephone interviews with FOX News, Lengaigne also said she never signed any request to CAF to put money in the new Bastet account, nor did she have any access to it, or records of transactions made there.

FOX News has obtained a copy of the document allegedly signed by Bastet and Lengaigne, which asks that their allowances be sent to the new Bastet bank account, as well as a copy of the couple's common-law marriage "certificate of cohabitation," signed and witnessed at Paris City Hall on November 8, 2000.

Click here to see the bank account change request and a translation.

Lengaigne's signature on the marriage certificate bears no resemblance to the Lengaigne signature submitted to CAF requesting that future funds go to a new bank account. Nor does the bank request signature resemble Lengaigne's signature in her current French passport.

Click here to see the mutually signed certificate of cohabitation and a translation.

Why was the new bank account request sent? One possible reason, FOX News has learned, may have to do with a CAF rule change that came into effect the very next day — May 1, 2007.

Prior to that date, child allowance and other CAF payments had to be split between the two parents in the event they divorced or separated. After May 1, however, under the new rules, two divorced or separated spouses could designate only one of them to receive all of their CAF support payments, so long as both formally agreed to the deal.

With a legitimate signed agreement from both parties to route the money to his bank account, Bastet would be able to dispose of the money as he saw fit.

Absent such agreement, the rule provides that the payments had to be split equally.

Asked in an e-mail by FOX News to explain the fact that his common-law wife's signature on the last bank account request did not match her signature on other official documents, Bastet, replying through an attorney, declined to answer and cited "active litigation," presumably with Lengaigne, as the reason.

Bastet also declined through his attorney to discuss his housing subsidy, his Paris or New York residential addresses, or his ownership and possible rental to tenants of a New York apartment, citing the same reason.

The attorney further requested that FOX News refrain from publishing a copy of the bank account change request signed by both parties, which was attached to the French fraud investigation report, claiming that in Bastet's view it had been "wrongfully disclosed."

The U.N. benefits loophole that allows Bastet to claim a rental subsidy in New York City even while he owns an apartment there is not something that the U.N. loudly broadcasts either.

According to a spokesman for U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, such subsidy payments are perfectly legal, provided employees are not living in the property they own. Under U.N. rules, employees can get subsidies for rental accommodation — paid for by U.N. contributors like the U.S.— even while they build a real estate portfolio in the same city where they rent a dwelling.

The only U.N. employees barred from receiving the rental subsidy are "staff who live in their own home or who do not pay rent for their dwellings," according to deputy U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe.

According to the U.N. Secretariat's proposed budget for 2010 and 2011, the U.N.'s human resource department expects that about 840 U.N. headquarters staff members will receive a rental subsidy.

The U.N. declined to provide FOX News with the number of its employees who are enjoying the loophole benefit. Nor did it provide Bastet's New York City rental address for subsidy purposes, citing employee confidentiality.

George Russell is executive editor of FOX News.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Ban Ki-moon: Just another shill

Ban Ki-moon, dubbed the "Invisible Man" by The Wall Street Journal, has of late become quite transparent indeed as a shill for the failed policies of the United Nations.

About halfway through his first term as secretary-general, Mr. Ban stands by his self-professed "quiet diplomacy" when decisive leadership is so desperately needed. And instead of rightful condemnation, he condones U.N. lunacy.

Following Iran's rogue election of a world miscreant, the titular head of Turtle Bay reportedly dispatched a letter of congratulations to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Splattered by the blowback, the U.N. quickly issued an explanation, saying Mr. Ban's letter wasn't an endorsement but an expression of hope "that Iran and the United Nations will continue to cooperate closely in addressing regional and global issues."

Obviously that excludes Iran's nuclear ambitions, against which the United Nations has been utterly useless.

Meanwhile Ban has been anything but quiet in the U.N.'s fear-mongering over global warming, telling an audience at an economic forum that humanity has "just four months ... to secure the future of our planet." Only four months because the "science" of the U.N.'s climate canard rapidly is crumbling as more nations reject its tax-looting, industry-crippling diktats.

Ban Ki-moon continues the unremarkable tradition of his predecessors, giving the United States and like-minded nations more reason to abandon this ship of fools.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

UN chief criticised in secret report by Norwegian envoy

By Harvey Morris at the United Nations

Published: August 21 2009 03:00 | Last updated: August 21 2009 03:00

A highly critical secret report on Ban Ki-moon's leadership of the United Nations by a senior Norwegian diplomat has cast doubt on a planned visit by the UN secretary-general to one of the world body's biggest donors.

A report to Norway's foreign ministry by Mona Juul, number two at Norway's UN mission in New York, describes Mr Ban as bland, weak and lacking in charisma, according to a text published in the Norwegian press.

"At a time when solutions by the UN and multilateral agencies are more necessary than ever to resolve global conflicts, Ban and the UN are conspicuous in their absence," the leaked report said.

The Norwegian foreign ministry declined to comment on the letter when it first emerged yesterday but quoted Jonas Gahr Stoere, foreign minister, as having described Mr Ban as "hardworking" and "attentive".

Ms Juul was yesterday on holiday in Norway with her husband, Terje Roed-Larsen, the UN's former Middle East envoy, and was not immediately available for comment.

The concerns expressed in the leaked report about Mr Ban's leadership echoed private conversations with senior UN diplomats and officials. But the criticisms published in the Norwegian press were the first ascribed to a named diplomat.

Mr Ban's aides have made a notable effort to elevate his image following critical press coverage that coincided with his reaching the mid-point of his five-year term last month.

A UN spokeswoman told reporters after publication of the text in Norway's Afterposten yesterday: "We do not know the veracity of the reports to which you refer".

The spokeswoman would not confirm that Mr Ban would make an anticipated visit to Norway later this month, although preparations were under way. "We have not announced any trips by the secretarygeneral yet," she said.

Mr Ban's trip would include a visit to Norway's Arctic rim to determine the impact of climate change, the top priority of his UN agenda. Diplomats also noted the importance of Norway as a political and financial backer of the UN. Its regular and voluntary contributions to UN programmes make it the world body's second-largest funder.

The Juul report was particularly critical of Mr Ban's response to crises this year in Sri Lanka and Burma, and examined the question of whether he would be elected to a second term.

Diplomats said the latest indication of unease about Mr Ban's performance would add to speculation that he might opt to leave the UN to stand for the presidency of his native South Korea. Mr Ban has just returned from a holiday in his home country.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The holy UN

UN says. UN says. UN rules. UN recommends. We follow the United Nations. The United Nations is for Norway to become the highest authority, that you must obey.

The two letters, the United Nations, is the ultimate argument. When it is performed, it is really nothing more to discuss. The United Nations is the only to bow to. But the UN is far from a clear authority. There is an old and tired truth that the UN is not something more or something other than what the members want the organization to be. It applies well in reality for all organizations, but additional lot for an organization that, in principle, to represent the world community as a whole and has 192, to some very different countries, as members. And where five of them have the right to stop any action they do not like.

There we saw more than during the Cold War. We saw also that the UN had a new kind of spring, when the Cold War ceased around 1990. The hope was that the UN would be something other than the members would that it should be. But then the world went on, although some thought to see the "end of history" at this time. The United Nations is, and remains, an organization with significant limitations.

Not powerless.

But that does not mean that the UN is completely powerless and without influence as an organization. Here we are at a core point, a very omdiskutert phenomenon in international politics and history: whether people's personality disorders and their significance for development. Some theoreticians speak any of the long lines and about general trends, others focus more on their impact. Regardless of theoretical basis, it can not be any doubt that people can have great significance, both because of what they do, and what they do not do.

And this is where criticism of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hit so hard. The evaluation is rather tough. After mid-term as Secretary General, he has barely moved an inch forward the UN. He has simply not shown the leadership that is necessary. He does not have the personal qualities needed in such a position. He is konfliktsky, in the sense that he does not do anything that may cause criticism. But as any manager knows, there will always be criticism if he / she does something. But as everyone also knows, there will be criticism if she / he do nothing.

Action Lamb.

Ban has chosen to do as little as possible. He has not shown the necessary leadership. He also has a personality that has not inspired, neither the employee or member. Ban may be standing as an impotent NOK General, and with it have forspilt a number of opportunities for the UN to be leading, not least in a period where the U.S. is far more friendly mind-set toward the world organization than during the eight years of President George W. Bush .

We here in Norway can, through a criticism that was meant to be internal, perhaps a little more realistic view of the United Nations.The two letters need not be used like enchantments every time discussing foreign policy priorities and allocations.

Støre: Do not share the characters

-This is something we take under advisement, "said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre about comments from their UN ambassador. He does not want even to give a personal assessment of the UN commander.

Støre underlines that the diplomat's role to "report back what is the prevailing mood" on the destination, but will not even say what he thinks of the present United Nations commander.

-There are many strong opinions relating to this question, but I do not want to share out some grades at mid-range.

He cites the UN first head, Norwegian Trygve Lie, that the post of Secretary General is "the world's hardest job," adding that Ban Ki-moon has had very many demanding tasks on their board in recent years.

"But everything is not with the Secretary General. My attitude is that the UN is the sum of what individual countries are in the United Nations is able to do, "said Støre.

He says that Norway has "appropriate channels" to tell the UN about the country's attitude to the organization and its leadership.

-Norway must be a critical friend, and the United Nations must get honest feedback, "said Støre, who also refers to Ban as" hard working "and" responsiveness. "

About the criticism from the UN delegation will be a theme when Ban is coming to Norway 31. August, do not say anything about Støre. But it is no matter NOK talking about:

Weather-issue to the Copenhagen conference will be important when we meet.Moreover, it is important to look at the UN's role in the many forgotten conflicts taking place around the world, particularly in Africa, says foreign minister.

Norway lambasts Ban Ki-moon

A confidential memo from the Norwegian UN ambassador fails Ban Ki-moon as Secretary-general of the United Nations.

A confidential memorandum from Norway’s United Nations Ambassador Mona Juhl to her government delivers a hefty broadside at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon saying that he is ‘battling to show leadership’ and that he is conspicuously absent in discussions about broad solutions to global crises.

The confidential memorandum, which was given the Highly Confidential stamp at Norway’s foreign ministry, has nonetheless been leaked to and published by one of Norway’s leading newspapers, Aftenposten.

Juhl says that the United Nations is having difficulty in entering the environmental agenda and that Ban’s leadership has been minimal during the global financial crisis.

“At a time when the United Nations and the need for multilateral solutions to global crises is greater than ever, Ban and the United Nations are conspicuous in their absence,” says Juhl.

Political crises are not Ban’s cup of tea either, says Juhl adding that his recent visit to Burma was a clear example of a lack of leadership and inability to deliver on behalf of the United Nations.

“ After a seemingly fruitless visit (to Burma) by the Secretary-General, the United Nations ‘good offices’ will be made even more difficult. (United Nations Special Representative) Gambari will have major problems after ‘the top man’ has failed and the generals in Rangoon will no longer meet him,” says Juhl.

Sri Lanka
Juhl says that another example of Ban’s weakness was the war in Sri Lanka, where she says Ban was a helpless observer as thousands lost their lives and were driven from their homes.

“The authorities in Colombo refused to receive the Secretary-General during military operations, but he was invited – and accepted an invitation – as soon as the war had been ‘won’,” Juhl says adding that Ban’s ‘moral voice and authority’ have been lacking.

Bland one-term SG
“Common to all of these issues is that a bland Secretary-General lacking charisma cannot be compensated for by high-profile and visible aides. Ban has general chosen special representatives and secretariat chiefs who don’t make much of an impression either – apart from Afghanistan,” Juhl says.

“As you know (Ban) was a conscious choice by the then American administration that did not want an active secretary-general, nor has the current U.S. administration signalled a changed attitude to Ban – although there are rumours that people in Washington are now calling Ban a ‘One-term SG’,” Juhl says adding however, that China is happy with Ban and holds the key to his possible re-election, while Russia is displeased with his handling of Kosovo and Georgia.

General displeasure
The Norwegian ambassador says that most other nations are increasingly negative towards Ban, who is half way through his term.

“Of the many who felt he should be given more time, that he’d get better after warming up and that comparisons with his predecessor’s charisma were unjust, the tone is now that the learning potential has been used up and that (his) lack of charisma is, in fact, a problem,” Juhl writes adding that Ban is given over to fits of rage that even sober-minded and experienced employees are finding difficult to tackle.

No comment
Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has declined to comment on the memorandum.

“It is something that we have noted,” Gahr Støre tells Aftenposten.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

US got cold feet on Ban's future: Susan rice barely mention UNSG in her first public address since office

In a speech last night at New York University, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice spelled out the Obama administration's vision for U.N. and global engagement. Her tone was decidedly upbeat -- almost valedictory -- and it came as no surprise to hear her happily declare, "It is a great time to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations." After eight years of hostility from the George W. Bush administration, two of which were spent under Ambassador John Bolton (who left little tiny shoes to fill), the high-spirited atmospherics were to be expected. The new administration, in stark contrast to its predecessor, has brought a wholesale shift in mood and attitude to Washington's relations with the United Nations. With it has come a jump in the step of diplomats walking the hallways in Turtle Bay. But Rice's speech, which was a good one, also deserves a very careful reading. Some important things were left out.

Rice did not expend many words considering specific situations around the globe. Anyone who was hoping for a stirring call to action on North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Middle East peace, Sudan, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo was disappointed. The speech would have been painfully long to do justice to any or all of these hot spots. Instead, the remarks were designed to deal with structural and architectural issues. And it is here that the fine print deserves attention. Note for example that U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon was mentioned a grand total of once very late in the speech (the same number of times as the U.S. secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano). U.N. employees will be carefully reading the tea leaves of this coolness in coffee shops across Manhattan's East Side.