SUDAN WATCH: Ibrahim Gambari new force commander in UNAMID?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ibrahim Gambari new force commander in UNAMID?

According to the following report, Rwanda and Nigeria threatened to pull their troops out of Darfur over new force commander post in UNAMID.

From Inner City Press
Nigerian "Blackmail" Captures UN's Darfur Post for Gambari, Spurned Candidate Tells Inner City Press
By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
UNITED NATIONS, November 30, 2009 -- The joint UN - African Union envoy post to Darfur has been the subject of "blackmail by the Nigerians," a well placed African Ambassador exclusively told Inner City Press on Monday morning, explaining the UN's offer of the post to Nigerian Ibrahim Gambari.

He said that "once the Nigerian threatened to pull their troops out of Darfur unless they get [Rodolphe] Adada's post," he and other candidates withdrew themselves from consideration "to avoid putting the Secretary General in an awkward position."

Previously, Rwanda threatened to pull its troops if it was not given the force commander post in UNAMID, vacated by Nigerian Martin Luther Agwai.

Now, the Ambassador said, "the Nigerians have given Ban Ki-moon a list of their nationals for consideration for the post." He added that while he understands that Ban will "give in" and name a Nigeria, it will not be one on the list provided by the country.

Asked about the possibility, reported months ago on June 19 by Inner City Press, of Ibrahim Gambari getting the post, the Ambassador nodded and said, "but it is not yet very open."

Subsequently, Inner City Press got confirmation of the post going to Gambari from a senior Ban administration adviser on the 38th floor, as well as individuals who have received confirmation from Mr. Gambari himself. He was getting shouldered out of his Development Fund for Iraq duties by Ad Melkert. He was known to be frustrated by Ban's political chief Lynn Pascoe not letting him work on any African issues. But who will take over for the UN in Myanmar? Watch this site.

One wonders what the U.S., France and UK, which criticized Rodolphe Adada's "too soft" stance to Ban Ki-moon, think of this process to replace Adada.

At a closed door lunch between the Security Council and Ban, the three Western Permanent member lambasted Adada's assessment of Darfur. Inner City Press has been told, by an attendee of the lunch, that rather than say he'd look into it -- or, as he has with Kai Eide in Afghanistan, that he fully supports "all" of his SRSGs, Ban said he agreed with the criticism and would talk to Adada. Then Adada was not renewed.

More recently, Ban's outgoing spokesperson has insisted that UN position like the contested number two post in the UN Development Program are given out on merit, not continent much less nationality. The process to replace Adada, as described by a withdrawn applicant, is at odds with this claim.

Following the Security Council's consultations about Darfur on November 30, Inner City Press asked outgoing Council president Thomas Mayr-Harting of Austria what the Council made of report that Sudan's Al Bashir government wants the UN to prepare to pull its peacekeepers out. Mayr-Harting said, that did not come up. Again.

Footnote: Mayr-Harting also said, in his final stakeout as Council President, that the Council would defer until its extension of the mandate UN Mission in the Congo the damning conclusions of the Congo Panel of Experts, including that the Mission, run by Alan Doss, is assisting and enabling former CNDP units which are now Congolese Army units and are involved in mining, including of gold.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, in a rare but still overly controlled stakeout Q &A before Mayr Harting's, spoke of the DRC sanctions, alluding to Sixty Minutes' November 29 piece on the topic, as well as Somalia. Inner City Press has submitted written questions on these and another topic to the U.S. Mission, which says it will respond when possible. Watch this site.

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