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BIENVENUE TO RADIO LIBERTE INTERNATIONAL!

"DOSSIER INTERNATIONAL,"


 

 

CNS NEWS

  2005

 swissinfo-Actualité Internationale

 

IN MEMORIAM

SERGE BEAULIEU

March 11, 1938 December 12, 2004

 

 Acknowledged as having one of the most brilliant minds of his generation, Serge Beaulieu dedicated his life to making both his homeland of Haiti and the world at large a better place.

 

May his legacy remain and be carried on…

 

We miss you, Bouboule.  We celebrate the day of your birth and mourn your passing.

 

  Serge Beaulieu
     "Bouboule"
 
    Le Leader Inconteste
     de la
        Majorite Nationale

       
March 11, 1938 - December 12, 2004 
****

Serge Beaulieu passed away on December 12, 2004 after 2-1/2 year valiant fight against lung cancer.  For much of that time his quality of life was high, he continued his daily activities, and he asked that no one be told he was sick.  Realizing that it had become a losing battle, during the last two months he told people he was dying but continued to enjoy his life to the very end.
 


****************

Serge had so much to offer to so many, and I know his hope was that the Haitian people would realize the love that he had in his heart for them and his sincere desire for peace and unity for his homeland. Every hour of every day he would do, think, and talk about what to do and how to make the lives of everyone—Haitians, family, and friends—better and more productive. 

 

A man like Serge comes along once in a lifetime, and we were all privileged to know him.  Serge made such an impact on so many lives and I know will continue to do so for generations to come—his words and spirit will live on.  

Linda Baker

General Manager, Radio Liberté 

 


Haitians walk by Brazilian UN peacekeeping soldiers guarding Haiti's National Palace

THE HAITI EXPLOSION

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief

October 10, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  
Last week we suggested that the Haiti situation should be taken care of by the highest personality of the United Nations.  We proposed that Haiti should be the legacy of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.  After reading our story, an official of the Organization of American States emailed us, “Would be interesting to know of any reaction from the court of Mr. Annan?”  So far, nyet.  

In the meantime, Gonaives , Haiti ’s third largest city, remains in open rebellion against everyone, where two international peacekeepers have been wounded.  

Everyone is busy with the forthcoming US presidential election, and no one seems interested in Haiti .  An unpopular prime minister has been going back and forth from Port-au-Prince to Gonaives , his home town, without being able to calm things down.  The Haitian’s are complaining that they are not receiving the attention promised after Hurricane Jeanne devastated the town.  

Elsewhere in the country, the people are calling for the return of former president Jean Bertrand Aristide, and no leader has emerged who is capable of talking to the masses.  

The questions now are:  How fast will it take for the situation to get completely out of control?  Are we going to have a Darfur or a Rwanda in Haiti ?  In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, Romeo Dallaire of Canada, former head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Rwanda and Uganda , renewed his previous warnings about danger spots in the world.

 

 

Secretary-General Kofi Annan (left) meeting with former Prime Minister of Sudan, Sadiq Al Mahidi.
(UN Photo #EDD560)

HAITI – KOFI ANNAN’S LEGACY

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

October 5, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

Considering the grandeur of Kofi Annan, people will be amused at this proposal to have Haiti as his legacy.  Nevertheless, we are putting it forth.  This brings to mind how Kofi Annan, on his first visit to Washington , responded to a journalist at the Foreign Press Center by saying, “Well, one can always profit from unsolicited advice.”  

Annan is at the end of his term of office.  The African arena has been a mess for him.  The Darfur , Sudan situation can become another Uganda .  To his credit, the struggle to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic is well funded.  

Haiti , which has been almost a failed state, is on the brink of going either way.  In order to change the situation, the country needs a powerful commander capable of changing the whole thing, especially with the financial power to do so.  

The forthcoming election in Haiti is impossible.  There are no candidates in view with enough strength or popularity to stop the insecurity.  The only possibility is for Kofi Annan to take over and manage the affairs of the country as Dag Hammarskjold did in the Congo in the 1960’s.  

The United Nations is already present on the ground with thousands of soldiers, and the financial help for Haiti is ready.  A Marshall Plan should be put into action.  

Hammarskjold did not risk his prestige as Secretary-General when he became involved personally in the Congo .  Instead, he made the Congo his legacy.  We are not discussing his success or failure; we are discussing his direct involvement.  

I have been watching Kofi Annan for years.  I still cannot determine his real thoughts about Haiti .  But I am sure that, as an African, he is intrigued by the world’s first black republic, and I would not be surprised that, sooner or later, he will make a move to help this failing state reemerge, as Hammarskjold did in the Congo in the 1960’s.  Perhaps what he needs is a Ralph Bunche along with a change in the Security Council’s mandate.  

Haitians must realize that they have to swallow their pride it they want their country to regain its position in the family of nations.  

                                                                        ####

 

 

 

 

2004 Republican National Convention Fulfilling America's Promise: A Safer World and a More Hopeful America Liberty

August 30 - September 2, 2004

 

Our Team for the Republican National Convention in NYC

                     
         Serge Beaulieu                          Sondra Beaulieu                Linda Baker

 

 

Republican National Convention-Day 4

THE PRESIDENT SPEAKS

By Serge Beaulieu, Sondra Singer Beaulieu, Linda Baker

Looking confident and in charge, President George W. Bush accepted his party’s nomination to run for a second term and addressed the Republican National Convention on its last day.

”We are staying on the offensive—striking terrorists abroad—so we do not have to face them here at home. And we will prevail,” he said to loud cheering.

President Bush touched on domestic economic concerns, saying, “Government must take your side. Many of our most fundamental systems—the tax code, health coverage, pension plans, work training—were created for the world of yesterday, not tomorrow.”

His proposals include job creation, expanded health care, and educational opportunities.

”We will build a safer world and a more hopeful America —and nothing will hold us back,” the president said.

Now it is the voters’ responsibility to assess the political campaigns and cast their votes in November.

 

Republican National Convention-Day 3

                        

       Vice President Dick Cheney                    Senator Zell Miller

 

A NIGHT OF KERRY BASHING

By Serge Beaulieu, Sondra Singer Beaulieu, Linda Baker  

Vice President Dick Cheney took the podium Wednesday night and painted Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry as confused and indecisive.  

Kerry’s “back and forth reflects a habit of indecision and sends a message of confusion; and it is part of a pattern,” the vice president said.  

“Senator Kerry says he sees two Americas . It makes the whole thing mutual: America sees two John Kerrys,” Dick Cheney said.  

Cheney said that the United States has reached a defining moment. “The election of 2004 is one of the most important—not just in our lives but in our history.”  

“On the question of America ’s role in the world,” Cheney said, “the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest, and the stakes for the country are the highest.”  

* * * * *

Senator Zell Miller of Georgia spoke at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, becoming the first member of an opposition party to deliver the keynote address at a national political convention.  He slammed his party’s candidate, John Kerry, calling his anti-terror policies a “bowl of mush.”

The angry Miller said, “This is the man who wants to be commander-in-chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. Armed Forces armed with what—spitballs?”

Miller, who consistently has voted for legislation supported by President Bush, said, “Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending. I want Bush to decide.”

Every time Miller mentioned Kerry, the delegates booed loudly.

Republican National Convention-Day 2

DELEGATES IMPRESSED BY SPEECHES OF GOVERNOR ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER AND FIRST LADY LAURA BUSH

By Serge Beaulieu, Sondra Singer Beaulieu, and Linda Baker

New York, August 31, 2004 (CNS NEWS)


California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the delegates on day two of the Republican National Convention being held in New York City's Madison Square Garden. His message was aimed mainly at the immigrant citizens of the U.S.

Schwarzenegger, who was born in Austria, took the oath of U.S. citizenship 21 years ago and said that there is no country more compassionate, generous or welcoming than the United States of America.

Explaining how he became a registered Republican, Governor Schwarzenegger said that he was so impressed when he first heard President Richard Nixon speak that he decided he, too, would be a Republican. He said that immigrants are "welcome in this party. If you work hard and if you play by the rules, this country is open to you. You can achieve anything."

Speaking to "my fellow immigrants, my fellow Americans," the governor listed beliefs that made one a Republican. "If you believe this country-not the United Nations-is the best hope for democracy, then you are a Republican," was one of the points he made, which led to loud chanting: "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A." by the delegates.

Schwarzenegger said, "The other party says we are two Americas. Don't you believe that. Our men and women in uniform don't believe that. They believe there's one America, and they're fighting for it."

"We are one America," he said, "and President Bush is defending it with all his heart and soul."

Terrorism is more insidious than communism, Schwarzenegger said, because it strives to destroy the entire international order.  "America is safer with George W. Bush as president," he added. "He knows you don't reason with terrorists-you defeat them. Their hate is no match for America's decency. We are the America that fights not for imperialism but for human rights and democracy."

"We are still the lamp lighting the world," he said.  The governor referred to the statement that freedom is nothing but a dream. "They are right, it's the American dream."  No matter what your background, he said, "America brings out the best in people. It is an honor to become a citizen here."

* * * *

First Lady Laura Bush spoke warmly Tuesday night about her husband as a man she described as compassionate and caring, steadfast to his values and ideas.  She said that they are determined to assure quality education for every child in America and to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs who are creating most of the new jobs in this country. She praised her husband for having brought prescription drug coverage under Medicare, and she said that he was the first president to give federal funding for stem cell research-"exploring its potential while respecting the dignity of human life."

Laura Bush said that all of the things the President has done have been important but that the most important was his work to protect our country and defeat terror so that all children can grow up in a peaceful world.  She got loud applause when she said, "Fifty million more men, women, and children live in freedom thanks to America and our allies."

The First Lady said that even with such a fine document as the U.S. Constitution, it took a long time to abolish slavery and a longer time to give women the right to vote. Delegates began waving signs that said: "W stands for women."

"Our future will be better because of our actions today," Laura Bush said and encouraged everyone to vote another four years for George W. Bush.


Republican National Convention-Day 1

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani speaks at the 2003 Scholarship Banquet.

Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

"WE'RE AMERICANS-WE'LL NEVER SURRENDER, THEY WILL"
                                                                                                        
By Serge Beaulieu, Sondra Singer Beaulieu, and Linda Baker

New York, August 30, 2004 (CNS NEWS)

Senator John McCain of Arizona took the podium at Madison Square Garden Monday night and quoted a Democrat, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, saying that "this generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."

He said that the very essence of American culture is liberty. He defined the 9/11 attacks as "savage atrocity so hostile to all human virtue."

"We must fight, we must," he said.

Speaking of America's allies, McCain drew large applause when he said, "We have a right to expect their solidarity in our efforts."

He said of the Democratic Party: "I don't doubt the sincerity of our Democratic friends, and they should not doubt ours."

McCain also brought large applause when he said, "There is no avoiding this war.  We tried that, and our reluctance cost us dearly."

Referring to a strong opponent of the Bush administration, McCain described filmmaker  Michael Moore, whose latest hit is "Fahrenheit 9/11, as a "disingenuous film maker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace." The delegates booed Moore, who was present as an observer, and began to chant loudly: "Four More Years."  Moore, accepting the cameo role given by McCain, grinned, held up two fingers, and said: "Two More Months."

McCain said that President Bust "deserves not only our support but our admiration."

"We're Americans, we'll never surrender-they will" said McCain.

* * *
Also speaking Monday night was former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He reminded the delegates that New York City was the first capital of the United States and that in lower Manhattan George Washington took the oath of office as the first president of the United States.

Giuliani said, "This is the first Republican convention ever held in New York City. I've never seen so many Republicans in New York City. I finally feel at home."

He said that holding the convention in New York City was a statement that the city and America are open for business, and "we are stronger than ever."

He also said that over the years the main role of the Republican Party has been to "expand freedom in our own country and around the world."

Activist Jesse Jackson (C-L) and actor Danny Glover (C-R) move up Seventh Avenue during a protest march towards Madison Square Garden, the venue for the Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York.(AFP/Getty Images/Chris Hondros)
Activist Jesse Jackson (C-L) and actor Danny Glover (C-R) move up Seventh Avenue during a protest march towards Madison Square Garden, the venue for the Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York.

LET'S GO CONVENTION-WITHOUT FEAR
By Serge Beaulieu, Sondra Singer Beaulieu, and Linda Baker

New York, August 29, 2004 (CNS NEWS)


More than 200,000 people, under the leadership of celebrities Michael Moore, Danny Glover, Jonathan Demme, Harry Belafonte, Stevie Wonder, Congressman Major Owens, and Senator Hillary Clinton, demonstrated in the streets of Manhattan Sunday against Republican Party policies.  Central Park was supposed to be a restricted area, but they went there anyway, making a nervous police force fly helicopters above and use intelligence sources on the ground.  The elderly, youth, blacks, Hispanics, Haitians, and members of many other groups were all in the streets protesting on the eve of the convention.

On Friday, we received an email advising us to pick up our credentials on Saturday to avoid anticipated delays on Sunday from the expected crowds of demonstrators. For those of us living in New York, it was a question of going a few blocks away from our headquarters. But for CNS correspondent and website manager Linda Baker, it was a matter of crossing the George Washington Bridge.

In a relatively short time, the credentials were delivered very efficiently, along with two canvas souvenir bags filled with books about New York, a camera, and a delicious box of macaroni and cheese, which we cooked and ate as soon as we returned home. For a late snack we enjoyed the special packet of red, white, and blue M&Ms. We were impressed by the convention spirit. For us, it began with food, reading, and very polite blond visitors from Texas. Now the serious work will begin.

We haven't seen anything yet, but we believe that the Republicans chose a good place for their convention and that the overriding sense of fear that had been introduced will pass.

When we look at the brave police force these days, we see them loaded with equipment-more than ever before.  We worry that in a riot situation this will slow their reaction. And then we think about the other security forces: FBI, CIA, Secret Service, who are present but often not seen.  But we are accustomed to New York and the way it responds to any situation. We are sure that regardless of current restrictions: barricades, closed streets, etc., New York is still an open city.  And, when everything goes back to normal, the city will have earned the $76 million allocated for this event.

Let's Go Convention Without Fear!

 

 

OUR TEAM IN BOSTON

                               

             Serge Beaulieu            Sondra Singer Beaulieu        Linda Baker

THE 2004 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
EN ROUTE FROM UNITED NATIONS TO BOSTON

By Serge Beaulieu
Sondra Singer Beaulieu
and Linda Baker, travelling

UNITED NATIONS, New York, July 24, 2004 (CNS NEWS)


Fifteen thousand journalists will descend upon Boston, Massachusetts this week to cover the four-day 2004 National Democratic Convention, according to Boston police spokesperson Beverly Ford. Although the FBI has sent out mass warnings to thousands of journalists of terrorist threats to blow up their vehicles, nothing will stop them from covering the event. Many of them represent foreign media accredited in the United States and at the United Nations, mainly from Europe, India, Pakistan, Haiti, Latin America, and some African countries.

In the corridors of the U.N., where many foreign correspondents are accredited, everyone was awaiting an email signaling that their accreditation was ready to be picked up in Boston on Sunday.  Some missed the filing deadline and were looking for colleagues to accommodate them. Another group, limited by low budgets, was looking for cheap lodging in the Boston area. It is imperative for them to be there.

For decades, the State Department created in the most important U.S. cities Foreign Press Centers to assist foreign journalists. They provided them and their families with special entrance I visas, special license plates for their vehicles, and-in the 1960s-even provided them with travel accommodations to be the guests of American families around the country so they could familiarize themselves with America. That was the golden era of the foreign press.  In New York, even the Foreign Press Association found refuge in the Foreign Press Center as a guest tenant.  Little by little, although the Foreign Press Centers continue to exist, this enthusiasm died out.  The Foreign Press Association in New York was even expelled from its free space. America no longer needs to lobby for friends, since gradually it has become the sole superpower.

Many foreign correspondents took the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. Some of their newspapers, particularly in Europe, whose sole purpose was to help America during the Cold War, have closed shop.  CNN has become the local press of the developing world.

In Latin America, when the general-caudillos, who owned the local press, radio, and television, were overthrown, so went their press.  In Africa, frequent changes of government and civil war left no place for the press. Even the United Nations press corps, where at one time the developing world was in the majority, has very few left.  The Ghana News Agency, home of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has left the building permanently.  We are fighting to keep the Nigerian News Agency.  We could not save the Indonesia News Agency.  Even the U.N. correspondents' association has more members outside than in the building.

Then came 9/11, which changed the whole enchilada.  Foreign journalists became terrorist suspects. 

At a press conference in Washington, an official of the recently created Office of Homeland Security explained a change in the way I visas would be issued after July 16. Instead of applying directly to the State Department in Washington, without leaving the country, now correspondents have to return to their own countries or find an American embassy willing to accept them.  He noted that forty-seven percent of I visas issued had been delivered to nationals of India, which provoked a question from an Indian journalist: "India is not a terrorist country, why have you done this to India?" The official explained that with the new security regulations the State Department is no longer equipped to do this work.

Imagine a household of six, which has been living legally and quietly in the U.S. for years, having to displace itself to renew its visas. But that is the new law.

"Where are you from?"
"Bangladesh."
"Stop the car."

If you are in the category of Morocco, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, forget it.

Nevertheless, the Democratic and Republican national conventions are of such great importance, all the world should vote-the president of the United States is, in effect, the president of the whole world.  The future of the United Nations is on the line.  Already they are preparing a smaller building across the street to replace the old one, with the idea that the organization soon will not need so much space.

Development in Turkey, assistance to the Sudan, AIDS programs for Africa, rebuilding of Haiti-all the projects in the world depend on a go -ahead from the president of the United States. If CNN, Reuters, AP are covering those conventions, why do we need foreign press?  Each country has its own dream and deserves its own analysis, even if they are preempted in their own countries. This is the reason that we are all going to Boston to provide-not to the world-but to our own people a different perspective and put them on notice of what is in store for them.

En route…

 

John Kerry and John Edwards celebrate at the Democratic convention. (AOL)
John Kerry and John Edwards celebrate at the Democratic convention.

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
DAY FOUR
CARRYING NIGHT--KERRY ACCEPTS NOMINATION

By Serge Beaulieu
Sondra Singer Beaulieu
Linda Baker

Boston, Massachusetts, July 29, 2004 (CNS NEWS)

Building on his experiences in the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam war, John Kerry gave his backing to the themes developed by all the speakers during this four-day convention: keeping America safe, regaining the country’s respect and cooperation from the other countries in the world, strengthening the armed forces and the technology they use, a united America, elimination of America’s reliance on Mideast oil, protection of the environment, universal health care, affordable prescription drugs, saving social security, civil rights, quality public education, respect for teachers, keeping jobs in America for American workers, elimination of bigotry and hatred, support for stem cell research, lowering taxes for the middle class.

 The biggest applause came when Kerry quoted Abraham Lincoln, saying I don’t know if God is on our side, but I want to pray humbly that we are on God’s side.

 Kerry appealed to President Bush for the two of them to be optimists, not opponents, and to show respect for each other.  

“It is time to reach for the dream,” he said. It was Kerry’s night all the way, and he carried it.  

At the end, the TV audience heard a technician saying, “We need more balloons. Drop the balloons now.  Hold the confetti.” He used the “f” word, and the station had to apologize to its viewers who may have been offended.  

Who knows, maybe the balloons will win the race in November.  Anyway, one has to congratulate the city of Boston and the convention’s organizers for giving us four days of fun.

 

 

Senator John Edwards

                   
                                                                   Reverad Al Sharpton                       

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
DAY THREE
AL SHARPTON'S 20 MINUTES OF GLORY

By Serge Beaulieu
Sondra Singer Beaulieu
Linda Baker

Boston, Massachusetts, July 28, 2004 (CNS NEWS)

As the 2004 Democratic National Convention unfolded on its third day, Reverend Al Sharpton followed Jesse Jackson's pale presentation and delivered a formidable jab at President George Bush, eliciting rousing cheers from the audience.  The Rev. Sharpton we used to know: controversial, outspoken, is now being taken very seriously, to the extent that the convention organizers had to think about damage control.  If there is one who can energize the base of the Democratic Party, it is Rev. Sharpton.  He has lost weight, but his Mohegan demeanor has not disappeared.  And, oh boy, his speech lifted to the rafters.  Pat Buchanan, a former Republican presidential candidate, would have called this "the Amen corner."

The civil rights activist may have gone overboard, but, make no mistake, every black in the audience, Latinos, Haitians, Mexicans, saw themselves reflected in his message.

Republican observers retorted that they thought there was a consensus by the Kerry/Edwards team to avoid a negative convention. Sen. Jesse Jackson, Jr. came to Sharpton's defense and said that he had not gone overboard. Several other delegates from the Black Caucus agreed.

Responding to President Bush's question in a speech last Friday about whether the Democrats take the black vote for granted, Sharpton said: "Our vote was soaked in blood.  This vote is sacred to us. This vote can't be bartered away. This vote can't be given away.  Mr. President, our vote is not for sale."

President Bush said that Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas were from the Republican Party.  Al Sharpton said that when Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the former slaves were promised 40 acres and a mule.  

Some of the delegates were moved to tears when Sharpton said: "We never got the 40 acres. We didn't get the mule. We decided we'd ride this Donkey as far as it would take us."

Sharpton was scheduled to speak for six minutes, but he stayed on the podium for twenty.  It was Sharpton's night of glory.

Introducing the final speaker of the night, Elizabeth Edwards described her husband, John Edwards, the vice presidential candidate, as an optimist and a hard worker. She said that in two days they would be celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary and would follow their tradition and eat in Wendy's.  Elizabeth Edwards also took the opportunity in her opening remarks to praise Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of the presidential candidate.

John Edwards also began by praising Teresa Heinz Kerry. He then introduced his father, who was a mill worker, and his mother, who had worked in the post office. He thanked them for the values they taught him and for making him the first in his family to attend college.  Edwards said that the heart of this campaign is to make sure that all Americans have the same opportunities that he had.  "We don't want people to just get by," he said.  "We want people to get ahead."

Edwards described John Kerry as decisive and strong.  He spoke about Kerry having volunteered for military service in Vietnam and of his acts of heroism in saving the men under his command.

"We want one America," Edwards said.  "An America no longer divided by race."

He said that his party's message to Al Queda is:  "You can run, but you cannot hide. We will destroy you."

He spoke about veterans, their needs and the needs of their families.  "The real test of patriotism is how we treat the people who have put their lives on the line," he said.

The delegates joined him in chanting the motto: Hope is on the way.

In urging the public to vote the Kerry/Edwards ticket, he said: "This is America, where everything is still possible. In our America, tomorrow will always be better than today."

He did not discuss Kerry's voting record in Congress.

Edwards' low-key presentation may have softened the perceived divisiveness of Al Sharpton's earlier speech, but the Republicans have openly shown that they are upset.

 

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
DAY TWO
TWENTY MINUTES FOR A KENNEDY ICON


By Serge Beaulieu
Sondra Singer Beaulieu
Linda Baker

Boston, Massachusetts, July 27, 2004 (CNS NEWS)


In a speech taking little more than 20 minutes, the heir of the Kennedy clan, Senator Ted Kennedy, electrified the podium of the 2004 Democratic National Convention by bashing President Bush and Vice President Cheney with the words: The fear that we have to have is four more years of Bush.  He said that come January Dick Cheney will be able to go to an undisclosed location.

In a pure Kennedy style, the Senator from Massachusetts gave his city of Boston as an example of the heroism of common people who fought hard for this country's independence and won.  "The ideals of our Founders still resonate around the globe," he said.  "Our values and optimism are still burning bright."  He put on notice those who are trying to divide this nation by fear.

Kennedy criticized the wisdom of the administration for the war in Iraq and said they fooled us once, they will not fool us again.

He spoke about the minimum wage, social security, health care, Medicare for the elderly, and the need for this nation to regain the trust of the world.  He recalled the past successes of the Democratic Party in all domains of national life, including civil rights, and said: "America must be a light to the world."

So far this was the most powerful speech against the administration, and the audience responded positively to the Kennedy icon who missed his chance to stand on the podium as the presidential candidate.  "We believe all of us can win," he said, and quoted part of the Pledge of Allegiance.  "We believe we are one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all," he said.  "When we say all," he stressed, "we mean all."

Before Kennedy's speech, members of the Tohono O'odham Nation of Arizona sang the National Anthem in their traditional language.

Howard Dean, Former Governor of Vermont and former presidential candidate entered the stage to resounding and exuberant clapping to music.  He spoke about health insurance for every person. "America's greatness rests far more than on the power of our arms," he said.

"I had hoped for this reception," he told the cheering crowd, "but I had hoped for it Thursday night," said the man who had been the frontrunner in the primary races for a while.

Keynote speaker Barack Obama, candidate in Illinois for the U.S. Senate is the son of African immigrants. "There is not a liberal America or a conservative America-we are one people, all of us defending the United States of America," this dynamic speaker said. "Do we participate of a politics of cynicism or in a politics of hope?" he asked.  We need something more substantial than blind optimism, Obama said, and spoke of hope for the middle class, the working class, and reclaiming young people in cities across the country from violence and despair.  He summed up his position as "the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name that America has a place for him, too."

Ron Reagan, son of the late Former President Ronald Reagan, addressed the Democratic National Convention, despite his father's conservative ideology so respected and admired by the Republican Party. "I am not here to make a political speech," he said, "and the topic should not, must not be seen as political."  He spoke of the use of embryonic stem cells to cure diseases such as Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, lymphoma, and spinal cord injuries.  "Now it may be within our power to put an end to this suffering," he said.  "We only need to try."

"Sound like magic?" he asked.  "Welcome to the future of medicine."  "This all happens in the laboratory at the cellular level," he explained. "Whatever you do," Ron Reagan implored, "come November, please cast a vote for embryonic stem cell research."

With admiration, her son introduced Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of John Kerry. Born in Mozambique, she gave an opening phrase in five languages. "There is a value in taking a stand whether anybody notices it or not," she stated and said that she knows how precious freedom is.

She warmly described Peace Corps volunteers around the world as symbols of hope, beacons of optimism. "I want to acknowledge and honor the women of this world whose wise voices have been excluded and discounted," she said and spoke about the importance of enabling people to enjoy a full family life.

She stressed the importance of America showing the face not of its fears but of its hopes. "In America," she said, "the true patriots are those who speak truth to power."

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
DAY ONE

“WE CANNOT LEAD IF OUR LEADERS MISLEAD”
By Serge Beaulieu
Sondra Singer Beaulieu
Linda Baker  

Boston , Massachusetts, July 26, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

Two presidents, one vice president, and a junior senator from New York shared the limelight Monday night at the opening of the 2004 Democratic National Convention.  

Former Vice President Al Gore stood at the podium and delivered a speech reminding Americans that he could have been standing there as president but that he had put the question behind him. Everyone else had to do the same in order to elect the Kerry/Edwards ticket, which Gore said would bring America forward. He reminded everyone how important it is to vote, saying that every vote really counts. He got loud applause when he praised his 8-year partnership with Bill Clinton and showed again that he remains a strong voice in the Democratic Party.  

Next was Former President Jimmy Carter, who electrified the audience with his phrase: “We cannot lead if our leaders mislead.”  

President Carter reintroduced the policies of decency and human rights, which had characterized his government.  He reminded the audience in the hall and around the world that America must not isolate itself and directly accused the Bush administration of doing exactly that.  He forecasted that soon the new tenant of the White House would reverse this policy.  Although Carter’s voice has aged, the speech was well delivered and well accepted.  He took the opportunity to let everyone know that, God willing, he soon would celebrate his 81st birthday.  

The next speaker was Hillary Rodham Clinton, Junior Senator from New York and former First Lady of the United States , who introduced her husband, former president Bill Clinton and endorsed the Kerry/Edwards ticket. Greeted with warm and enthusiastic applause, she took the opportunity to touch on the need for better universal health care in this country.  On the international scene, she said that the U.S. has to lead the world, not alienate it.  

Bill Clinton was loudly cheered both when he came out and during his speech.  He spoke about the need for decent labor and environmental standards for people across the world.   “Our common humanity matters most of all,” he said.  He showed the contrast between the Democrats and the Republicans and said that you have to vote for whichever party represents your concerns and on its approach to the different issues. He said that the Democrats believe in building a world with more global cooperation and that the role of government should be to give people the tools and conditions to make the most of their own lives.   

He spoke about how he’s earning more money now than he ever did before and how George W. Bush’s tax cuts have benefited him. But he continued by saying that he would prefer to have that money used for programs to help the majority of the population.  

Speaking about the importance of electing John Kerry, Clinton said: “Strength and wisdom are not opposing values. They go hand in hand.”

 

 

THE PRESS ON LINE

By Linda Baker  
Boston, Massachusetts, July 25, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

Thousands of journalists stood on line Sunday for more than two hours to pick up their credentials in order to be bona fide reporters for the 2004 Democratic National Convention.  

Organizers of the convention decided that press passes should be picked up in a staggered manner, and each organization was assigned a window of time to appear. My organization designated me to take care of the pickup in Boston . My slot was 12:30 pm to 4:00 p.m.  

This is my odyssey.  I live in New Jersey , near the administrative headquarters of CNS News. Saturday night I drove to New York City . On the way, I realized that one item was missing from my traveling bag: hairspray.  At that hour it wasn’t difficult to find a secure parking space, although we had given up our NYP license plate.  I was going to spend the night at my editor’s house on the Upper West Side.  I was so tired from getting everything in order for the trip and preparing all the requisite paperwork, my main thought was getting a good night’s sleep. My editor, Sondra, offered to go to a nearby 24-hour Duane Reade and get the hairspray so I wouldn’t have to go out again.  

Arriving at her apartment, I couldn’t resist doing some Pilates exercises on the machine I gave her for her birthday earlier this month. Then, after a short chat and a final check that all the paperwork was in order, I went to sleep.  I planned to get up at 5:00 a.m. so I could catch a 7:00 a.m. Amtrak train to Boston.  I had time to shower and rush to Penn Station only to find that the train was running a little late. I boarded and found a window seat. The seat next to me was empty, but the ticket collector told me that at least 50 people were expected to board at the next stop.  

I was thinking about the terrorist attacks on trains in Spain and Turkey and prayed that this train would arrive safely.  My mind was open to all possibilities, especially since journalists had been cautioned that they could be targets for terrorists.  My bureau chief would have made the trip, but he wasn’t feeling well enough to commute at that early hour.  

The ride was beautiful, reminding me of other train trips I have taken.  

I had hardly settled in when the announcement was made that the dining car was open.  I didn’t feel like talking to anyone, but I decided to see what the snack bar had to offer.  I entered the car and saw jovial people sipping aromatic coffee.  

I like the grave voice of the conductor when he announces the arrival of a station stop.  Walking down the street, every once in a while a friend and I jokingly mimic a conductor, saying: “All Aboard,” or “Bal—ti—more.”  

After four hours, I saw Boston’s beautiful skyline and soon debarked at the South Street Station.  I have been to Boston several times, and I’m familiar with the city.  The accreditation was being done at a hotel about one block from the train station.  I walked straight there and was told I was too early for my group.  The 10:00 a.m. group was still being processed. I was told to come back a little later, which I did.  Then I stood in line for over an hour and a half until it was my turn to pick a 2”x 4” rectangle.  They ran out of plastic holders and told me to come back later for them.  

Suddenly I was an accredited correspondent to cover the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and in my hands were the passes for my colleagues who would be coming from New York.  This isn’t the first convention I’ve covered, but this one promises to be the most tense because of the fear and threat of terrorism.  Wherever they are, I hope they leave Boston alone and let the democratic process unfold.  

See you!

 

 

THE 2004 DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION
EN ROUTE FROM UNITED NATIONS TO BOSTON

By Serge Beaulieu
Sondra Singer Beaulieu
and Linda Baker, traveling

UNITED NATIONS, New York, July 24, 2004 (CNS NEWS)

Fifteen thousand journalists will descend upon Boston, Massachusetts this week to cover the four-day 2004 National Democratic Convention, according to Boston police spokesperson Beverly Ford. Although the FBI has sent out mass warnings to thousands of journalists of terrorist threats to blow up their vehicles, nothing will stop them from covering the event. Many of them represent foreign media accredited in the United States and at the United Nations, mainly from Europe, India, Pakistan, Haiti, Latin America, and some African countries.

In the corridors of the U.N., where many foreign correspondents are accredited, everyone was awaiting an email signaling that their accreditation was ready to be picked up in Boston on Sunday.  Some missed the filing deadline and were looking for colleagues to accommodate them. Another group, limited by low budgets, was looking for cheap lodging in the Boston area. It is imperative for them to be there.

For decades, the State Department created in the most important U.S. cities Foreign Press Centers to assist foreign journalists. They provided them and their families with special entrance I visas, special license plates for their vehicles, and-in the 1960s-even provided them with travel accommodations to be the guests of American families around the country so they could familiarize themselves with America. That was the golden era of the foreign press.  In New York, even the Foreign Press Association found refuge in the Foreign Press Center as a guest tenant.  Little by little, although the Foreign Press Centers continue to exist, this enthusiasm died out.  The Foreign Press Association in New York was even expelled from its free space. America no longer needs to lobby for friends, since gradually it has become the sole superpower.

Many foreign correspondents took the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. Some of their newspapers, particularly in Europe, whose sole purpose was to help America during the Cold War, have closed shop.  CNN has become the local press of the developing world.

In Latin America, when the general-caudillos, who owned the local press, radio, and television, were overthrown, so went their press.  In Africa, frequent changes of government and civil war left no place for the press. Even the United Nations press corps, where at one time the developing world was in the majority, has very few left.  The Ghana News Agency, home of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has left the building permanently.  We are fighting to keep the Nigerian News Agency.  We could not save the Indonesia News Agency.  Even the U.N. correspondents' association has more members outside than in the building.

Then came 9/11, which changed the whole enchilada.  Foreign journalists became terrorist suspects. 

At a press conference in Washington, an official of the recently created Office of Homeland Security explained a change in the way I visas would be issued after July 16. Instead of applying directly to the State Department in Washington, without leaving the country, now correspondents have to return to their own countries or find an American embassy willing to accept them.  He noted that forty-seven percent of I visas issued had been delivered to nationals of India, which provoked a question from an Indian journalist: "India is not a terrorist country, why have you done this to India?" The official explained that with the new security regulations the State Department is no longer equipped to do this work.

Imagine a household of six, which has been living legally and quietly in the U.S. for years, having to displace itself to renew its visas. But that is the new law.

"Where are you from?"
"Bangladesh."
"Stop the car."

If you are in the category of Morocco, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, forget it.

Nevertheless, the Democratic and Republican national conventions are of such great importance, all the world should vote-the president of the United States is, in effect, the president of the whole world.  The future of the United Nations is on the line.  Already they are preparing a smaller building across the street to replace the old one, with the idea that the organization soon will not need so much space.

Development in Turkey, assistance to the Sudan, AIDS programs for Africa, rebuilding of Haiti-all the projects in the world depend on a go -ahead from the president of the United States. If CNN, Reuters, AP are covering those conventions, why do we need foreign press?  Each country has its own dream and deserves its own analysis, even if they are preempted in their own countries. This is the reason that we are all going to Boston to provide-not to the world-but to our own people a different perspective and put them on notice of what is in store for them.

En route…

 

GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON BRIEFS FOREIGN PRESS
ON UPCOMING DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION

By Sondra Singer Beaulieu  

New York, July 13, 2004 (CNS NEWS) Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico and Permanent Convention Chair of the Democratic National Convention, spoke from the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday and linked foreign correspondents at the Foreign Press Center in New York live via Digital Video Conference, enabling him to take questions from participants in both cities.

“Stronger at Home, Respected in the World” is the theme of the Democratic National Convention that will be held in
Boston , Massachusetts from July 26 through July 29. “The 2004 Democratic Convention will tell the life stories of [presidential nominee] John Kerry and [vice presidential nominee] John Edwards…the story of their lifetime of service to the nation and fight for average Americans and their vision for a stronger and more secure America,” he said.  

The personable Richardson began his remarks speaking a sentence in French, then one in Spanish and jokingly thanking everyone for inviting him to this foreign language briefing.   

The convention will be a gathering for 4,353 delegates and 611 alternates.  Forty percent of the delegates represent minorities, making this the most diverse convention in party history. It will also be the “greeenest” [environmentally friendly] convention ever, powered by a variety of renewal sources, including wind, hydroelectric power, biomass, and solar energy.  

The Democrats are aiming their appeal toward the 18-33 age group as well as to Veterans, because of Kerry’s Vietnam service. Richardson said that the 14,000 volunteers mark an unprecedented number.  The message the Democrats hope to send is that Kerry is a proven, tested leader who can be trusted, especially in the national security arena.  

Each day of the DNC will have a theme. Monday, July 26 will be “Kerry-Edward’s Plan for America’s Future. Speakers will include former vice president Al Gore and former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.  Tuesday, July 27’s topic will be “A Lifetime of Strength and Service,” with an introduction by Kerry’s wife and a speech by Ted Kennedy. Wednesday, July 28 will feature “A Stronger, More Secure America.” Speakers, including Bill Richardson, will talk about foreign policy. Thursday, July 29 will look at “Stronger at Home, Respected in the World,” featuring Kerry’s family, his crewmates in Vietnam, and the Green Beret he rescued in Vietnam.  

Most sessions will be held from 3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.  For both the Democratic and Republic conventions, primetime TV networks have limited their  coverage just three hours, which Richardson feels is insufficient.  

During the question and answer period of Tuesday’s briefing, Richardson said that 50 percent of the platform will be on national security issues, which the Democrats see as important in voter’s minds as domestic issues.  

Ron Reagan, son of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, a legendary pillar of the Republican Party, will speak on Tuesday to the Democratic National Convention on the importance of stem cell research. Richardson said that this is not a partisan issue and should not be treated as political—it is part of the search for the cure of diabetes and cancer.  

Richardson said that the Democratic Party is more sensitive to issues in Africa, Asia, Latin America, as well as to diplomacy, the environment, and respect for sovereignty. He feels that they have a stronger commitment to the rights of immigrants than the Republicans.  

Richardson said that despite Bush’s limitation on visits to Cuba and reduction of the amount of remittances that can be sent there, he will most likely carry the Florida Cuban vote. The Democrats will be aiming their message at the 20 percent of Floridians who are not Cuban-Americans.  

Richardson, an experienced diplomat on the international scene, said he felt Kerry has more respect for international alliances, including the United Nations, than the present administration.

He said that, for the first time, the American people are making foreign policy a priority, especially because of the Iraq issue.  

One reporter asked if Richardson would consider being Kerry’s Secretary of State. Richardson laughed and said, “I’m happy being Governor of New Mexico.” He said that after the briefing, he will fly back to Sante Fe, ride his horse, enjoy the sun, and be in a place where he won’t have to worry about traffic.  

Bill Richardson was a U.S. Congressman from 1983 to 1997. In February 1997 he was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the first Hispanic to hold that position. From 1998-2001 he served as President Clinton’s secretary of energy.

TO REWRITE THE STORY OF HAITI …$1.08 BILLION PLEDGED

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

New York , July 22, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

After a two day meeting in Washington this week, the international community— including the World Bank, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, France, the United States, and Canada—pledged $1.08 billion for the development of Haiti.  $500 million of this sum had already been pledged and blocked by the U.S. , which was fighting the government of then-president Jean Bertrand Aristide.  

Now that the Latortue-Boniface Alexandre government has been installed by the U.S. , the door is wide open.  Aristide appears to be gone forever in his retreat in South Africa . However, his partisans continue to demonstrate for his return.  

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has designated a former Chilean diplomat, J. Gabriel Valdes, as his representative to Haiti .  

The question is: What is going to happen to Haiti.  

The Caricom countries, which until today are in rebellion against the manner in which the U.S. removed Aristide from office, will most likely finally come to accept the fait accompli and invite Haiti to return to the Caribbean family.  It will be good for them and good for Haiti , which will now command a strong market position if the pledged funds are released.  

The Latortue-Alexandre government is still in a situation where organizing elections is a challenge. The party of Aristide has already decided it will not participate. Nobody in Haiti seems to be in command of that party, and there are suspicions that Aristide is maneuvering from his exile in South Africa . Those who were waiting for his indictment in alleged drug business involvement are still waiting.  

Can elections be held without Aristide and his Lavalas party? The answer is probably yes, but the situation in Haiti will deteriorate into a greater division of the Haitian society.  

With over $1 billion pledged, a lot of jobs can be created, which may pacify a majority of the masses. But, the rich are going to become richer, and the spectacle of a country after 200 years of independence won’t have changed much from the days of slavery. With globalization there is no room for revolution. But, the number of the discontented—both in Haiti and around the world—is getting larger and larger.  

What should the Haitians do? First, they should accept any type of development from the international donors, since the country is in ruins. They should continue to strive toward political reconciliation, although this concept is not part of Haitian tradition. They should accept the Americans, whether they like them or not, and cooperate in the building of their own country. They need electricity, housing, drinking water, health care, and jobs. Only the Americans can provide this.  

Celebrating their 200 years of independence, Haitians should refrain from rejoicing, since their country is occupied by foreign troops, which include some from France , the country from which they won their independence two centuries ago. It is a sad story and a sad state of affairs.  

Haitians always think that the Vatican can intervene, since Haiti is officially a Roman Catholic country. They believed that when they were being slaughtered by Rafael Trujillo, dictator of neighboring Dominican Republic . Apparently the Pope has forgotten them, and perhaps God has also.  

French dramatist Alfred de Musset said in one of his plays: « La seule chose qui me reste au monde est d’avoir quelquefois pleurer». [The only thing that I have left is to be able to cry.]

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                Michelle Montas
                                                                                                    Spokesperson for GA
                                                                                                                President

U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY MEETS AGAIN

By Serge Beaulieu                                                                            
U.N. Bureau Chief

United Nations, New York, July 14, 2004 (CNS NEWS)

As was expected after the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in favor of the Palestinian position regarding Israel's security fence, the General Assembly is reconvening this Friday to study the matter and, probably, issue a resolution.

Michelle Montas, spokesperson for the president of the GA, announced this decision at a  regular press briefing at headquarters. It was not a surprise to anyone, but one has to notice that in the case of Haiti's request to investigate allegations of kidnapping of its former president, the Assembly did not budge, nor did it in the case of Iraq. This seems to indicate that the question of Palestine is still alive and of great concern to the members of the international community.

Over the years, being unable to implement its own resolutions has weakened the power of the General Assembly. From 49 original members, the membership has grown to 191, giving the developing world a majority. That is precisely the concern of the Israeli government, which is fighting for survival.

The United States, an ally of Israel, has decided that the Palestinian question has to be decided by the Security Council, which is mandated by the Charter to solve the problem of peace and security in the world. It has even created a Quartet group for the sole purpose of bringing peace to the area. So far, nyet.

Asked if another decision of the General Assembly on this matter would not continue to weaken the power and prestige of the GA, the president's spokesperson said that a decision on this matter by the Assembly would be considered at least a moral victory.

 

GOVERNOR BILL RICHARDSON BRIEFS FOREIGN PRESS
ON UPCOMING DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION


By Sondra Singer Beaulieu  

New York, July 13, 2004 (CNS NEWS) Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico and Permanent Convention Chair of the Democratic National Convention, spoke from the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday and linked foreign correspondents at the Foreign Press Center in New York live via Digital Video Conference, enabling him to take questions from participants in both cities.

“Stronger at Home, Respected in the World” is the theme of the Democratic National Convention that will be held in
Boston , Massachusetts from July 26 through July 29. “The 2004 Democratic Convention will tell the life stories of [presidential nominee] John Kerry and [vice presidential nominee] John Edwards…the story of their lifetime of service to the nation and fight for average Americans and their vision for a stronger and more secure America,” he said.  

The personable Richardson began his remarks speaking a sentence in French, then one in Spanish and jokingly thanking everyone for inviting him to this foreign language briefing.   

The convention will be a gathering for 4,353 delegates and 611 alternates.  Forty percent of the delegates represent minorities, making this the most diverse convention in party history. It will also be the “greeenest” [environmentally friendly] convention ever, powered by a variety of renewal sources, including wind, hydroelectric power, biomass, and solar energy.  

The Democrats are aiming their appeal toward the 18-33 age group as well as to Veterans, because of Kerry’s Vietnam service. Richardson said that the 14,000 volunteers mark an unprecedented number.  The message the Democrats hope to send is that Kerry is a proven, tested leader who can be trusted, especially in the national security arena.  

Each day of the DNC will have a theme. Monday, July 26 will be “Kerry-Edward’s Plan for America’s Future. Speakers will include former vice president Al Gore and former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.  Tuesday, July 27’s topic will be “A Lifetime of Strength and Service,” with an introduction by Kerry’s wife and a speech by Ted Kennedy. Wednesday, July 28 will feature “A Stronger, More Secure America.” Speakers, including Bill Richardson, will talk about foreign policy. Thursday, July 29 will look at “Stronger at Home, Respected in the World,” featuring Kerry’s family, his crewmates in Vietnam, and the Green Beret he rescued in Vietnam.  

Most sessions will be held from 3:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M.  For both the Democratic and Republic conventions, primetime TV networks have limited their  coverage just three hours, which Richardson feels is insufficient.  

During the question and answer period of Tuesday’s briefing, Richardson said that 50 percent of the platform will be on national security issues, which the Democrats see as important in voter’s minds as domestic issues.  

Ron Reagan, son of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, a legendary pillar of the Republican Party, will speak on Tuesday to the Democratic National Convention on the importance of stem cell research. Richardson said that this is not a partisan issue and should not be treated as political—it is part of the search for the cure of diabetes and cancer.  

Richardson said that the Democratic Party is more sensitive to issues in Africa, Asia, Latin America, as well as to diplomacy, the environment, and respect for sovereignty. He feels that they have a stronger commitment to the rights of immigrants than the Republicans.  

Richardson said that despite Bush’s limitation on visits to Cuba and reduction of the amount of remittances that can be sent there, he will most likely carry the Florida Cuban vote. The Democrats will be aiming their message at the 20 percent of Floridians who are not Cuban-Americans.  

Richardson, an experienced diplomat on the international scene, said he felt Kerry has more respect for international alliances, including the United Nations, than the present administration.

He said that, for the first time, the American people are making foreign policy a priority, especially because of the Iraq issue.  

One reporter asked if Richardson would consider being Kerry’s Secretary of State. Richardson laughed and said, “I’m happy being Governor of New Mexico.” He said that after the briefing, he will fly back to Sante Fe, ride his horse, enjoy the sun, and be in a place where he won’t have to worry about traffic.  

Bill Richardson was a U.S. Congressman from 1983 to 1997. In February 1997 he was appointed as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the first Hispanic to hold that position. From 1998-2001 he served as President Clinton’s secretary of energy.

 

 

CARICOM/HAITI BROUHAHA

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

United Nations, New York, July 14, 2004 (CNS NEWS)

A team of five foreign ministers from Caribbean countries is in Haiti this week to discuss a new approach to the dilemma of relations with the U.S.-backed Haitian government.

After the departure of Haiti's president Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, Caricom's 14 member countries have tried very hard to show that they are in command in their region. But, with U.S. interference, they had to back off. They were not even able to convene a U.N. General Assembly meeting in order to find out what had happened to their man in Haiti, who claimed that he had been kidnapped, put on a plane, and sent to the Central African Republic, without his consent.

The U.S.-backed Latortue regime in Haiti quickly responded by announcing that it had broken relations with Jamaica, which had provided temporary refuge for Aristide after he left the Central African Republic.

During his subsequent visit to the United Nations last March, Latortue claimed that the question of Caricom was "behind us."

"Not so," said some Caribbean leaders.

At Caricom's recent Heads of State conference in Grenada, the question arose again. They decided to send a fact-finding mission to Haiti, comprised of five foreign ministers from Antigua, Barbados, the Bahamas, Trinidad, and Guyana.

In order to recognize the government of Haiti, the Caribbean Heads of State requested the following: release of Aristide's former prime minister Yves Neptune from jail; a date be set for a general election; a disarming of all banned forces, including the insurgents who overthrew Aristide; and a guarantee of full participation in the election, including the supporters of Jean Bertrand Aristide.

This is a diplomatic success for Caricom, which has been able to stand fast until now against the mighty United States.

On another front, U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan in a solo approach designated J. Gabriel Valdes, a former minister for foreign affairs of Chile, as his representative to Haiti, with a budget of more than $172 million for a 6-month period. With a cap of 8,000 troops, he knows that he is the real governor, especially when the World Bank is on the eve of approving another $924 million to put Haiti on its feet. 

The sad part of this is that the whole situation happened at the time Haiti was proudly celebrating the 200th anniversary of its revolution against imperialist forces of Europe. Haiti, the world's first black republic, is paying a heavy price for its past glory.

Let's watch.

 

Kofi Annan--Le Cheque ou L'Echec  

When Kofi Annan was elected Secretary-General of the United Nations in December 1996, his first preoccupation was to assure the financial survival of that world organization headquartered on New York 's East River . The world has changed, and only one superpower remains: the United States . Annan has to rely on that country. Annan's first pilgrimage was to Washington , D.C. , where he received a warm welcome from the White House to Capitol Hill. His visit was so successful that he joked at the Washington Press Club that if this success continued, he would have to take up residence in Washington . Even Senator Jesse Helms, Chairman of the U.S. Congress's Foreign Relations Committee, relinquished some of his habitual hostility toward the U.N. and offered his help to the newly-appointed Secretary-General. The whole visit pivoted on the question of a check for America 's outstanding U.N. dues--a check which had not been received.  

When Annan returned to U.N. headquarters, the word spread that the U.S. check was in the mail. The conditions were considered to be mere formality: presentation of a plan for reorganization of the U.N., which appeared to have been prearranged, and a reduction in the percentage of U.S./U.N. assessment, which appeared diplomatically negotiable.  

The Cold War was finished, and the powerful Non-Aligned nations had nobody with whom they could ally--or not ally. Globalization had taken over. Annan had been with the U.N. for many years and knew that despite all the politeness shown to him he must constantly show and renew his loyalties. He seized the opportunity of Iraq 's confrontation with the United States to defuse a situation which could have reignited the war between the United States and the country of Saddam Hussein. A quick visit to Baghdad and a meeting with Hussein brought acceptance of U.S. demands from the Arab warrior. The war was averted, and it was another success for Annan, who, upon his return to headquarters, received an unprecedented welcome from employees and diplomats alike.  

This success, however, did not play well in certain Washington circles. The powerful Jesse Helms murmured that Annan had sold the store. Annan's friendliness toward Hussein had been remarked upon. The promised U.S. check was apparently being held at the post office. Some damage control had to be done.  

The Kosovo issue gave Annan the opportunity to temporarily ally himself with the G-7 nations of Europe . The Balkan issue is a very delicate one. It was in Belgrade that Field Marshall Tito, with the help of Egypt 's leader Nasser , India 's Prime Minister Nehru , Ghana 's Nkruma , Guinea 's Sekou Toure, and other Third World leaders created the Non-Aligned movement in 1961. The Balkans was also the place  where World War I started and where World War II was fought. Annan is well aware of this history. Crisscrossing the capitals of Europe from Berlin to Moscow , the Secretary-General is trying desperately to make himself available, but the big players in the G-8 don't appear to be ready to use his full services.  

Europe is not Africa nor Haiti nor Guatemala , and the G-8 nations are taking their time before approaching the U.N. Security Council with a unified decision. In the meantime, Annan continues his European tour of refugee camps in Albania and Macedonia , with the idea of reaching a modus operandi with Milosevich over Kosovo, acceptable to the European powers and the U.N. Security Council.  Once upon a time, when the Security Council failed to reach a consensus over an issue, the Non-Aligned nations could have easily transferred the question to the General Assembly.  But times have changed, and the Security Council has taken charge.  For Kofi Annan, the U.N. Secretary-General, each of his moves must take into consideration the constant problem of this world body: le cheque ou l’echec.

 

ECOSOC Otra Vez

By Dr. Serge Beaulieu  

Fifty-two years ago, on March 28, 1947, the Economic and Social Council, ECOSOC, passed Resolution 51 (IV) instructing the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Trygve Lie, to establish machinery within the Secretariat designed to perform the following services in relation to expert assistance to Member Governments.  

1. Assistance to Member Governments in obtaining information on expert personnel, research facilities and other resources that the United Nations and specialized agencies can make available to Member Governments on request, and especially to the less developed countries for aiding them in their development;  

2. Elaboration of plans and programmes for the most efficient utilization of such personnel, facilities and resources;  

3. Assistance to Member Governments which seek expert advice in securing, on terms mutually agreed upon, such advice, particularly in the form of teams of experts who would study specific problems and recommend appropriate practical solutions for the consideration of the Member Governments concerned.  

Dumarsais Estime, then president of the Republic of Haiti , which was one of the founding members of the United Nations, immediately saw the opportunity in this U.N. resolution to charter a new course for the development of this black Caribbean nation. Through his representative at the U.N., Estime introduced a formal request for technical assistance at all levels for Haiti . The organization gave a positive answer and sent a mission of twelve members to Haiti , under the chairmanship of Ansgar Rosenborg. The delegation was comprised of top-notch U.N. experts in forestry, fisheries, finance, education, health, industry, agriculture, and tropical development to canvass the country's needs. The mission stayed three months in Haiti and received a warm welcome from the Haitian people and the Haitian government.  

Trygve Lie said that this mission was "a new departure in United Nations activities." When introducing the 337-page mission report on Haiti in June 1949, the Secretary-General reemphasized that "this Mission is in a sense a precursor of the ampler efforts which, it is hoped, the international organizations concerned will be enabled to display in realization of the bold programme of technical assistance to underdeveloped countries envisaged by the President of the United States, and the United Nations contribution to which will be discussed at the forthcoming session of the Economic and Social Council.  

The Marshall Plan for Europe 's recovery was going full gear, and the U.N. Secretary-General was trying to introduce a parallel for the underdeveloped nations. Haiti was chosen for the pilot project. Unfortunately, the government of Dumarsais Estime was overthrown by the Haitian army on May 10, 1950 . The coup leader, General Paul E. Magloire, an ally of the government of the United States , was more interested in bilateral assistance than in U.N. programs. The Rosenborg mission report was not fully implemented. The American government provided General Magloire with U.S. technical assistance and labeled it "Point IV."  

In 1953, Trygve Lie died while in office, and the U.N.'s technical assistance programs dangled from one form to another. Lie's successor, Dag Hammarskjold, took office in the turmoil of the Korean War and at the beginning of the Cold War. Nevertheless, he continued to maintain the U.N.'s technical assistance program, but the U.N.'s large peace-keeping operation in the Congo in 1960 put Hammarskjold in conflict with the then Soviet Union, a powerful member of the Security Council. Hammarskjold died in a plane crash in 1961 in Africa where he was personally trying to mediate a solution to the conflict between Congolese leaders. When Hammarskjold's successor, Ambassador U Thant of Burma , took over as Secretary-General in 1961, the notion of consolidating all the U.N.'s technical assistance activities was already in the wind. In 1965, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was established to coordinate the entire concept of technical assistance. This institution was mandated to set policies and approve program and resource allocations. A 36-nation executive board was put in charge of all operations. Since that time, the Economic and Social Council has been dormant as far as technical assistance programs were concerned.  

In 1999, when Italy 's U.N. Ambassador Paolo Fulci became president-in-exercise of ECOSOC and introduced a long-term development program for Haiti , some U.N. insiders wondered if it was a joke. ECOSOC has been a dormant organ in such matters, and Haiti has been under some form of U.N trusteeship since 1994, when the Security Council authorized the U.S. to invade that country to boot the military out and return President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.  

Labeled "Operation Restore Democracy," the U.S. , on its own, spent U.S. $3 billion and sent 20,000 fully-equipped Marines to Haiti . Several hundred million dollars more had been allocated by the U.N. General Assembly to maintain--until today--a U.N. mission in Haiti. The entire U.N. operation has been described as a mess, and the Secretary-General's periodic reports continue to reflect a no-progress status. In 1998, a UNDP report calculated that the poverty index level in Haiti has dropped from 125th to 157th. Another statistic that horrified Haitians was in a Yale University team report which said that during the embargo 1,000 Haitian children were dying each month. In the spring of 1999, Elizabeth Gibbons, a UNICEF official stationed in Haiti under the U.N. embargo, confirmed the catastrophic effects of that embargo in her book, Sanctions in Haiti: Human Rights and Democracy Under Assault.  In it she describes the misery of the Haitian people. In the book's foreword, Lakhdar Brahimi, the former special representative of the U.N. Secretary-General to Haiti, compared Gibbons's dilemma to that of Denis Halliday, who headed the "Oil-for-Food" humanitarian program in Iraq. Halliday submitted his resignation to the Secretary-General in protest to what was happening. Gibbons, who is still with UNICEF, now serving in Guatemala, decided to write a book.  

Haitians today are still protesting against insecurity, the jails are filled with political prisoners, inflation and unemployment have reached the highest levels. Nevertheless, the Clinton Administration keeps saying that democracy in Haiti has been restored and, from time to time, Haiti is presented as an example of a success story.  

"What's behind the move of Paolo Fulci?” Haitians and some foreign reporters asked. With his jovial way, Ambassador Fulci answered, "We have to take care of this country, and we have to consolidate all operations under one umbrella so that the right hand will know what the left hand is doing. " Ambassador Fulci went so far as to say that if other agencies refuse to implement ECOSOC's resolution he will denounce them.

A resolution was passed unanimously (E/1999/L.15). It affirmed the necessity of a long-term program of support for Haiti and invited all of the U.N.'s specialized agencies to give a hand, as well as the Haitian government. A panel of five ambassadors was designated as an ad-hoc advisory group. So, what's next? Ambassador Fulci said, "We have to give time to the advisory panel to become acquainted with the subject matter and prepare a report for ECOSOC. Concerned about what the report might suggest, some Haitians have already said that they will not participate if the Haitian government is in control of the operation. Others feel that ECOSOC should organize a national conference inviting all interested parties to participate and decide the priorities for their country. They are using for reference a conference held at Governor's Island after the overthrow of President Aristide. At that conference, an accord was brokered by the U.N. and signed by General Raoul Cedras who agreed to relinquish the power to President Aristide. At the same time, another conference was held at U.N. headquarters with all Haitian political parties and members of parliament to provide formal support to the accord known as the Governor's Island Accord.  

1999 finds the Haitians more polarized than they were at the time of the 1993 conferences. There is a split in the Lavalas movement, which is in power, and it appears that former President Aristide and his protege, President Rene Preval, are at odds. Street demonstrations are held every day in capital city Port-au-Prince, cars are burned, and the business community feels threatened. The newly-U.N.-created police force appears to be losing control of the situation.  

Where will the money come from for ECOSOC's long-term project? The U.S. Congress is formally against any more assistance to Haiti . The U.N. Secretariat, in its draft budget for 2000-2001, Title V, Regional Cooperation for Development, submitted to the General Assembly as Document A/54/6 (Sect. 21), allocates only U.S. $5,464,400.00 for Latin America and the Caribbean . The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) continues to be designated as the program coordinator for all development activities for that region. Will there be any change at this level? If so, how will that change be made? While all these questions remain to be answered--and should be answered--Ambassador Fulci, as President of ECOSOC, was able to attract before the ECOSOC chamber last month all the important world financial decision-makers: the president of the World Bank, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and several world finance ministers, including Italy 's Treasury Minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.   Ciampi, who has just been elected as President of Italy, was sitting at Ambassador Fulci's side when the plan for the development of Haiti was unveiled in the ECOSOC chamber.  

Meanwhile, the Haitian people are waiting to see if their country is really being taken seriously this time by the United Nations.  

 


L’ECHEC
WHAT WILL BE HAITI ’S FUTURE?


Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 5, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

Popular broadcaster Serge Beaulieu, affectionately known as Bouboule, was the keynote speaker to a crowd of Floridian Haitians Saturday night at the Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale. He asked the audience to explore with him l’échec Haiti’s 200 years of failure.  

The three-hour conference also featured the poet Heraste Obas, who passionately expressed the hope that Haiti will not perish.  

Senagalese Professor Babacar M’Bow, who had just returned from a conference in Trinidad and Tobago , spoke de la memoire à l’histoire, stressing the importance of respecting one’s heritage.  

Wearing his signature bow tie and speaking in his mellifluous, deep, and penetrating voice, Bouboule asked: “Will Haiti survive? He said the land would always be there but wondered about the society as it exists today.  

After the slave revolt that won Haiti’s independence in 1804 from Napoleon’s France , Haitian society saw the disappearance of the white conquistadors, while the mulattoes and the blacks managed to survive, even while distrusting each other.  

Most of the mulattoes maintained their wealth, educated their children in France, Switzerland, and Germany, and kept a European flavor on the island.  They built gourmet restaurants that served the finest French wines, established their own social clubs, and managed to be in charge of the government.  

In the late 1940s, Bouboule said, a social revolution began, which enabled the blacks, who had been living in abject poverty, to have aspirations of power. This movement was short-lived, but in 1957, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier appeared on Haiti ’s political scene with the goal of giving power to the masses. The Duvalier regime, father and son, lasted longer than previous ones but was mired in controversy. It was viewed askance by the international community, which was anxious to end the era of the caudillos, civil and military in Latin America . The Dominican Republic’s Trujillo , Nicaragua ’s Somoza, and Haiti ’s Duvalier were targeted, and the communists had dreams of controlling the world.  

After the fall of the Duvaliers in Haiti , the brief period of relative calm that emerged was suddenly reversed by another type of government: the ochlocracy. The populista, the masses, overwhelmingly embraced the message of a young, activist priest, Jean Bertrand Aristide, whom they nicknamed “Titid” and viewed as a savior.  

But, in less than one year, the military reacted and Titid was overthrown. He went into exile, first in Venezuela, then to Paris, and finally found a niche in Washington , where he was able to meet with the most powerful of America ’s political elite, including the Clintons and the Kennedys. After two years, Titid, with the help of 20,000 U.S. Marines, was able to return to Haiti , where he resumed the presidency. But his tenure did not fulfill the people’s expectations, and he was at odds with the mulatto class. The fight ended the same way—but this time with the American power overthrowing him. The vacuum was quickly filled with American-backed individuals, who today don’t seem to know what Haiti’s future will be.  

Within that thumbnail historical context, Bouboule questioned the future of Haiti and the coexistence of the two societies: mulatto and black. Titid left Haiti with the masses poorer, disillusioned, and more desperate than they had ever been. Unfortunately, for the first time in the country’s history, the masses had destroyed century-old institutions, such as the historical cathedral of Port-au-Prince where Haiti ’s great hero Toussaint L’Ouverture spoke. On February 29 this year, when Aristide’s overthrow was known, the masses burned to the ground banks and homes and ransacked established businesses. Without a quick intervention once again by the U.S. Marines, that trend would have continued until today.  

Now, while 8,000 United Nations troops are in the process of arriving in Haiti , some of the country’s provinces are not under the U.S.-backed government control. Bouboule questioned the extent of the hate of the masses for the other part of the society. Time constraints prevented a deep analysis, but it seems that both historically and now the political leaders have been interested in taking the power—not in improving the country or the well-being of its people. The warning bell in Bouboule’s urgent message was that, unless something changes, in the future, the two societies may not be able to coexist.  

The audience seemed to agree with his points il faut comprendre avant d’apprendre (It is necessary to understand before one can learn) and that there is a difference between le dire and le faire (saying and doing).  

Bouboule said that the future of Haiti is in the hands of the youth and that they have to be taught how to steer the ship.  

The seminar, sponsored by “Nations and Cultures,” was a celebration of its first anniversary on radio in southern Florida . The organizing committee included Jean-Rony Monestime, Fritz Obas, Felix Norvilien, Francelet Fileus, Samson Myrtil, and Henri-C.K.P. It was a night to remember.

 

 

 

Gerard Latortue, interim Prime Minister of Haiti speaks to the press after a meeting at the US State Department with Secretary of State Colin Powell in Washington, DC(AFP/Tim Sloan)
Gerard Latortue, interim Prime Minister of Haiti

LATORTUE AT THE U.N.—“ARISTIDE IS BEHIND US”

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York, May 10, 2004 (CNS NEWS)

On Monday morning, after a 30-minute meeting reviewing the forthcoming U.N. Mission to Haiti with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Gerard Latortue, Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister, approached the Security Council stakeout to meet the press. One of the first questions, of course, was about former president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Latortue said, “Aristide is behind us.” The big problem, he said, is how to make Haiti go forward. In that respect, he said, he was counting on the international community to provide the kind of assistance that his country will need. He did not want to discuss figures, since his committee working on development matters had not yet provided its report.  

Looking jovial and smiling, Latortue indicated he hoped that pretty soon they will be able to provide security throughout the country’s 18,000 square kilometers in order to organize elections. He indicated, however, that Aristide, before leaving, had distributed 50,000 guns to his supporters throughout the country.   

As far as the 14-country members of Caricom that refused to recognize Latortue’s government, he said that this question is also behind him, as he had explained in a speech before the Organization of American States in Washington last week. However, he said that he had asked the U.N. Secretary-General to use his good offices to settle the dispute.  

Speaking in both French and English, Haiti’s Prime Minister made sure that all questions were answered, including the participation of the former government in drug-related activities. He indicated that this interim government will make sure that the police, instead of being participants in the drug business, will cooperate fully with the Drug Enforcement Agency.  

The question of the hunt for Aristide’s hidden treasury did not come up, but Latortue mentioned that he is going to Paris on Tuesday to meet President Chirac and then on to Brussels.  

Latortue said that the question of the revival of Haiti’s Armed Forces is of low priority as far as he is concerned, stating that “this is an interim government. Although we have created a commission to study to matter, this will be left to the elected government.”  

Roland Dumas, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, said afterward that he hoped the best for the government of Latortue and that he hoped the Caricom countries would take the necessary steps to recognize this government. Dumas, who is from Trinidad , referred to a statement by that country’s foreign minister indicating that questions concerning Caricom were not in Dumas’s purview. Dumas said that he still feels that his job as Special Advisor to the Secretary-General is to talk about these matters.

 

AFTER US, IT WILL BE US
APRE NOU, CE NOU


By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York, May 1, 2004, (CNS NEWS)

If U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had his own way, he would ask for a 10-year mission to Haiti. His special advisor, Trinidadian Roland Dumas, went even further and asked for 20 years.  The Security Council, however, decided Friday on a 6-month period, with advance assurance that the mission would be renewed.  

A decade ago, the Security Council gave the Clinton Administration carte blanche for an invasion of Haiti with 20,000 U.S. Marines to return Jean Bertrand Aristide to power and install democracy in the world’s first black republic. On January 29 of this year, the same Marines were called upon to remove Jean Bertrand Aristide and send him back into exile at a place which, still today, is undetermined.  

Nobody blamed either the United States’ administration or the United Nations. Everyone blamed Haiti. Some U.S. officials are convinced that the Haitians cannot run their own country—something they’ve been saying for two centuries.  Kofi Annan seems to echo that sentiment. Today, French troops patrol the soil of Haiti precisely in the town where 200 years ago they were defeated and Haiti gained her independence from Napoleon.

So, what has happened to Haiti’s glory and the Haitians? During the country’s 200 years of history, the Haitian elite were considered brilliant, crisscrossing the entire world with their finesse and sophistication. They attended the finest European schools and graduated with excellent marks. Some of them worked abroad in financial institutions, and, at the United Nations, they cooperated in the building of emerging Africa. Former U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold even appointed a Haitian, Max Dorsainville, as his personal representative to the Congo in the tumultuous 1960s. Not long ago, another former U.N. secretary-general, Boutros Boutros Ghali, chose a Haitian as his chief of staff.  

When it comes to managing the affairs of their own country, however, the results are always negative. A Haitian proverb: apre nou, ce nou (meaning: “after us, it will be us”) has always been put into application—with the same result. The Haitian masses have remained in the same misery they experienced under French slavery.  

In 1957, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier introduced a new system of government, where the middle class replaced the power traditionally occupied by the country’s mulatto elite. Although a change was made in the structure of command of the country’s affairs, the actual situation did not change that much, except, for a blink in time, the elite had to stand by and watch the middle class in overall charge.  

The departure of the Duvaliers created a vacuum that a popular priest from the slums, Father Aristide, quickly and easily filled. For a while, there was hope that there would be a change in the societal structure of Haiti. But the fighting between the elite and the masses had become so entrenched, observers realized that the more things changed, the more they remained the same. Finally, the Americans decided overnight to get rid of Aristide, without preparing a transition. Today’s Haiti appears to be at the beginning of a huge turmoil, which is going to divide the country even further.  

Haiti’s current government is creating the problem itself. The Constitution states that, in order to avoid chaos, elections must be held no later than 90 days from the takeover of a new government in situations such as the current one. But this government (nobody knows where it came from) has decided that it needs two years before holding an election. Only another month remains to fulfill the spirit of the Constitution. In the meantime, massive dismissal of Aristide’s people in governmental positions has already begun. Some of them have gone into hiding, in fear for their lives.  

The Security Council seemingly could care less about a true reconciliation in Haiti. It approved Kofi Annan’s April 16, 2004 report, which went so far as to say that Haiti’s new president was “sworn in as interim President, in accordance with the constitutional rules of succession” – an assumption which is not correct.  However, the Security Council apparently considers its mission accomplished, just like the first time when it sent the 20,000 U.S. Marines to return Aristide to power. In fact, Lakhdar Brahimi, who is making headlines today, was rewarded with positions as U.N. Special Representative to Afghanistan and then to Iraq for having done a superb job Haiti.  

Haitians, however, are not strangers to the destruction of their own country. A so-called elite in Haiti still considers themselves the beneficiaries of the slavery system, looking at the masses as an instrument to exploit. They live well, their children are well educated abroad, and they represent all the foreign companies doing business in Haiti. Haiti for them is paradise.  

On the other hand, you have the masses, who are tired of being exploited, dying of hunger, poverty, and disease. On a grand scale, nobody seems to care. On a smaller scale, however, Protestant churches have been erected all over the country, sometimes with medical dispensaries attached. Their mother churches in the United States support them. Some of the missionaries are former prisoners who found God and were sent to the island for rehabilitation. Overall, they comport themselves well, with very few scandals. Even the Mormon Church has tried over the years to save the souls of the Haitians, but their attempt at conversion has not had a high success rate. Only the heir to part of the famous Mellon fortune, the late Larry Mellon and his wife, Gwen, created a big project simply to help the masses. Unfortunately, their Albert Schweitzer Hospital built in Deschapelles, in Haiti’s Artibonite Valley, has deteriorated since their deaths.  

Haitians are still suspicious of foreigners, because of deep memories of slavery, but today they are too weak to fight. After the departure of their leader, Jean Bertrand Aristide, they no longer believe in anyone but await the arrival of the Messiah.  

Ten years, twenty years of a United Nations peacekeeping force will do what? Nothing. It is not the Brazilian troops who are going to “civilize” the Haitians. They know it, and the Haitians know it. Apre nou, ce nou (after us, it will be us). Citing this Haitian proverb, the people know that life will continue with hopelessness and misery. But, as it always has, Haiti will survive and the blancs will leave.


Boniface Alexandre, acting President of Haiti

U.N. REPORT FANTASIZES CONSTITUTIONAL LEGITIMACY OF HAITI ”S NEW INTERIM PRESIDENT

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York, April 23, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  
Controversy continues over the departure on February 29 of Jean Bertrand Aristide from power in the impoverished island country of
Haiti amid allegations of kidnapping in the middle of the night by the U.S. ambassador in Port-au-Prince , accompanied by U.S. Marines.  

In a phone interview with CNN from his then place of exile in the Central African Republic , a defiant Aristide said point blank that he was forced at gun point to board a chartered U.S. government plane, not knowing where he was headed, after being told by a U.S. official that he was going to meet the press. That statement created turmoil, provoking a delegation of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus to travel to Bangui , capital of the Central African Republic , to take Aristide to Jamaica , where he was given temporary asylum.  

The U.S. administration responded that Aristide did resign and left the country voluntarily. Aristide’s own prime minister, Yvon Neptune, said that he had a letter of resignation from his president.  And, at the United Nations, Aristide’s ambassador, Jean Alexandre, introduced a letter before the Security Council from the president of Haiti ’s Supreme Court, Boniface Alexander, acting as interim president, requesting immediate assistance from the U.N., which was granted.  Yet, a few days earlier the Council ignored a similar request by Aristide.   

Dealing with a presidential vacancy, Article 149 of the Haitian Constitution authorizes the president of the Supreme Court to become president after taking oath of office before a joint session of Parliament (the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate). His only mandate is to organize general elections in no more than 90 days. 

Although the terms of the members of the Chamber of Deputies had expired, the Senate, nevertheless, continued to function permanently, according to Article 95-1 of the Constitution. Boniface Alexandre could have requested advice from the president of the Senate, who is also president of the Assemblee National  (Parliament) on how to solve the matter. According to the President of the Senate, Senator Yvon Feuille, “Nobody asked me, although I was present as a guest at the investiture ceremony at the National Palace .”  

How did Boniface Alexandre become president? The United States and the international community decided to improvise an unprecedented scenario, outside of the Constitution of Haiti, by designating a tripartite council consisting of one representative each from Famni Lavalas Party and the Plate-forme Democratique, and a United Nations Development Program staff member representing the international community. This group selected seven so-called eminent persons, known as the Conseil des sages, unknown in Haitian tradition. On March 9 this Conseil des sages selected Gerard Latortue, a former employee of UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, as prime minister.  

In the meantime, Boniface Alexandre took the oath of office at the National Palace in front of those high dignitaries.  

On April 16, 2004 , the U.N. Secretary-General introduced a 34-page report before the Security Council on the political situation in Haiti . Depicting the events of February 29, the report said: “Early on 29 February, Mr. Aristide left the country. His letter of resignation was read out by the Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune. Within hours, Boniface Alexandre, the President of the Supreme Court, was sworn in as interim President, in accordance with the constitutional rules of succession.”  

When the Spokesman’s office was called to explain the phrase “in accordance with the constitutional rules of succession,” they contacted the Peace Keeping Operation  (PKO) who said that they meant it was in accordance with Article 149.  Haitian constitutional scholars disagree, maintaining that Boniface Alexandre’s presidency is not in conformity with Haiti ’s constitutional rule of succession, also citing Article 149. Furthermore, they say, on February 29, he did not have—and still does not have—the legal authority to request from the U.N. Security Council the expedition of troops to that island.  

Meanwhile, a humanitarian flash appeal for US $35 million by the United Nations and its partners has raised only US $7 million. 

CARICOM’S DIPLOMATIC BUNGLE

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

United Nations, April 13, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

The fourteen countries of Caricom did not even exist when the Monroe Doctrine was enacted in 1823 to protect the interests of the United States against the intrusion of European powers in the affairs of America .  Haiti was already an independent country but continued to suffer the humiliation of the European powers with a powerful United States averting its eyes.   

France, England, Italy – even Germany – continued to ransom Haitian ports in dispute with a weak Haitian nation. It took the United States more than 30 years before recognizing Haiti as an independent country.  Nevertheless, Haiti has survived, and, hopefully, will continue to survive.  

With the United Nations decolonization movement in the 1960s came the independence of the British Caribbean islands. They were quick to unify under a treaty to form a trade association in 1973 that they called Caricom. This trade association evolved to become a political body that requested to participate in the Organization of American States (OAS), the regional organization, and as a block at the United Nations as well.  

For several years they ignored Haiti, one of the largest countries in the Caribbean, until the creation of the ACP (the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States).  Spain, one of the major European donor countries, indicated it was interested in helping to finance Caribbean development as a whole, not just the former British Caribbean islands. Haiti was accepted as a full member, while the Dominican Republic was invited to participate in some capacity.  

The arrival of Jean Bertrand Aristide as Haiti’s head of state was a way for Caricom to expand its membership and speak as an inclusive Caribbean organization. It is in that light that when President Aristide was overthrown, or, as Aristide alleges, kidnapped, Caricom found itself in a delicate situation to intervene for one of its leaders. The situation could have remained there if Jamaica’s Prime Minister Patterson had not decided to offer hospitality to the deposed Haitian president from his place of temporary exile in the Central African Republic.  Patterson’s invitation, and Aristide’s acceptance, provoked a hasty reaction from Haiti’s US-designated prime minister, Gerard Latortue, who recalled the country’s ambassador from Jamaica and cut relations with Caricom.  

Patterson, taken by surprise by this reaction, decided to submit the question at the forthcoming Caricom Heads of State meeting in St. Kitts in March. The Caricom Heads of State, in turn, decided to withhold recognition of the US-backed Latortue government and requested a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to discuss Aristide’s allegation that he was kidnapped at gunpoint by the US ambassador and a group of Marines and put in a US plane bound to nowhere, until he recognized that he was in the Central African Republic.  

The investigation requested by the Caricom Heads of State was approved by the 52 countries of the African Union. So far, nyet.  An adviser named by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Reginald Dumas of Trinidad, expressed surprise at Caricom’s delay in lodging its request for the probe, sparking a tiff with the Trinidad and Tobago foreign Minister, Kwolson Gift. Gift said he was doubtful of Dumas’ justification for his observation, since the investigation called for by Caricom was not within his purview.  

Meanwhile, last Monday, US Secretary of State Colin Powell landed in Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince to offer support and legitimacy to Latortue’s government.  

At the United Nations, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette, in opening remarks to a meeting in New York between representatives of Caricom and the UN system, said that the UN is seeking to draw in all relevant actors and pursue a common strategic aim in Haiti.  

“We will explore with Caricom, as well as with the OAS, what each of us is best positioned to contribute, in cooperation with our Haitian partners,” she said. “And since Caricom, the OAS, and the UN system will remain in Haiti long after the peacekeeping phase ends, we need to ensure that an integrated and common approach is followed.”  

Looking at the broader issues facing the Caribbean region, the Deputy Secretary-General noted that one of the main areas of collaboration between the UN and Caricom is trade, particularly the joint effort to press for greater liberalization and an international trading system that brings development gains for the bloc’s countries.  

Frechette’s presentation did not include mention of Caricom’s request for a General Assembly probe into Aristide’s allegations, and US Secretary of State Colin Powell has said that such a probe would serve no useful purpose. Has the matter simply died? Although the president of the General Assembly is the representative of St. Lucia, a Caribbean country, backed by 52 African members of the AU, it appears that without the okay of the United States no group can convene the General Assembly.

 

HAITI —GOVERNMENT, BUT NO GOVERNING LAW YET

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , March 19, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

In their rush to overthrow the constitutionally elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the French and the Americans forgot that there must be a governing law in place in order for the country to function. In less than a week they created a bizarre form of government, which has nothing to do with the tradition of the country.  

A council of “wise men” substituted itself for the national sovereignty and chose a man to form a government, under which law no one knows. This act alone abolished the Constitution of 1987, which had, until then, been the fundamental law of the country. Nobody dares to say it.  

Ministers have been designated and sworn in before their ministries were even created. There are no internal rules governing those ministries while the prime minister is making statements and decisions affecting the country. For example, he announced the breaking of relations with Jamaica and suspension of Haiti ’s participation in Caricom affairs. Normally, the Constitution of 1987 reserved this prerogative for the president of the republic. But who knows? The new prime minister may now be in charge of the country’s external affairs.  

In the meantime, Herard Abraham, a former general of what was called the defunct Haitian army, has been designated as minister of the interior and has announced publicly that he is going to institute a commission to reinstate the army, since that institution is still an integral part of the Haitian Constitution. But which Constitution is he referring to, since the government is not a product of any governing law?  

In the past, when a de facto regime took over the power, the Constitution was abolished immediately until further consideration. But this regime is simultaneously playing both a de facto and a constitutional role. At the United Nations, the spokesman for Kofi Annan is a little more cautious, repeating that there is no parliament in Haiti to ratify those officials. In the meantime, a defiant Aristide, who is visiting Jamaica,  calls himself the constitutional president of Haiti, creating a dilemma for the international community.  

Where do we go from here? Massive humanitarian assistance appears to be the key for bringing the world, including a nervous Caribbean and Latin American community, to accept the fact that superpowers can jump in the middle of the night with their troops, overthrow a constitutional government that they did not like, and create a de facto regime, placing their man in power--without impunity--as the caudillos used to do.  

Fourteen heads of state of the Caribbean Community, known as Caricom, recognizing their weakness nevertheless called for an investigation of the incident by the UN Secretary General. Hiding behind the Security Council, which had manipulated the whole incident, the Secretary-General ignored their request. Once again, Haiti has made history by offering the stage for reversing the general rule of one-man one vote, the fundamental basis of democracy.

 

HAITI AND THE UN

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

United Nations, January 27, 2004 (CNS NEWS)  

After more than a year of meeting after meeting about the situation in Haiti with top representatives of the Organization of American States in Washington, the question has been bounced over to the Caricom countries.  Last week, after a high level meeting in the Bahamas,  presided over by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Patterson, the question of sending troops to restore order in this turbulent island country was again introduced.  

For the last two months, demonstrators have occupied the streets of Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince as well as Gonaives, Cap Haitien , and other towns, calling for the departure of President Jean Bertrand Aristide.  Some students and other demonstrators have been killed.  President Aristide’s partisans organized a counter demonstration saying that their president will not budge, creating a conflict which nears the point of anarchy.  

Early Tuesday it was announced that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has been playing a passive role on the Haitian question, met in Paris with President Jacques Chirac and his his Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin trying to find a way out.  Although the spokesperson for the Secretary-General did not reveal the content of the discussion, there is no doubt that a solution has to be found for the case of Haiti , which has been dominating the news.  

 



Secretary General Kofi Annan and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative of Haiti H.E. Mr. Jean C. Alexandre
 

Haiti Earns Respect Among Delegates at United Nations

By Macollvie Jean-Francois

Haitian Times Staff
October 22-28, 2003

UNITED NATIONS - After the Security Council passed a resolution in support of the United States rebuilding of Iraq, reporters tripped over each other in their haste to spread the news worldwide. Not drawing comparable attention were members of Haiti's Permanent Mission to the United Nations as they wove through the crowded hallways to attend meetings.

Haiti was elected vice president of the social, humanitarian and cultural committee for the 58th session of the United Nations.

The Haitian representatives say that despite the country's image as a poverty-stricken, politically unstable country, it still has a presence in the 58-year -old organization.

Haiti's worldwide reputation as the first black republic in the Western Hemisphere and its upcoming bicentennial have played positive roles, they say.

"In a way, we're very fortunate," said Ambassador Jean Alexandre, a retired Chicago obstetrician and gynecologist. "Because of the lobbying that we've done and because of the sympathy they have for Haiti, we have a presence. [Other diplomats] see Haiti as a victory being ostracized. They share our pain."

The United Nations declared 2004 as the International Year for the Commemoration of the Fight Against Slavery and its Abolition, in December 2002 At Haiti's request.

As 2004 approaches, the ambassador said the mission's staff would promote Haiti's food, music and culture. A proposal is being prepared for the United Nations to issue a stamp that commemorated Haiti, he said.

Alexandre said the goal of the mission is "To make Haiti a worldwide entity known and respected in the context of our bicentennial."

Haiti has helped and supported other countries, said Jeanette Ndhlovu, deputy permanent representative to South Africa's Ambassador to the United Nations.

"They have played a role in promoting the interests of the developing world, especially within the Group of 77 countries," Ndhlovu said. "They've supported social and economic development."

Critics of the United Nations have called it a passive body with little political power and that it is influenced too heavily by superpowers such as the United States. But Alexandre said the United Nations continues to play a relevant role in the world. In Haiti, for example, the United Nations has given financial and human assistance to help women, HIV/AIDS victims, and others.

The United Nations donated $59 million to Haiti through 11 programs, including the World Bank, UNDP, and UNICEF, according to the latest 1998 figures.

As the United Nations has done with Haiti, Alexandre encouraged the General Assembly to adopt a resolution aimed at helping Africa: the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

"This part of the world has endured history's heavy blows," Alexandre said. "We must pool our efforts to pull men, women and children from the abject poverty that dehumanizes them."

As he and three mission staff members headed from the General Assembly room after delivering Haiti's comments on a resolution, various colleagues congratulated them.

 

 


 

 

 

Julian Hunte briefing journalists

GA PRESIDENT JULIAN HUNTE 
TALKED ABOUT INNOVATIONS 
AT A UN PRESS BRIEFING

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief

United Nations, New York, October 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

How does a man from one of the world’s tiniest states, Saint Lucia, population 158,000, area 238 square miles, react after presiding for two weeks over a world body comprised of 191 member states represented by kings, presidents, heads of state and government, some of them with huge populations, such as China and India, each with more than 1 billion inhabitants?

Looking at Julian R. Hunte, President of the 58th General Assembly, at a press briefing Tuesday morning at the United Nations, one might wonder: How did he get there? The answer lies in the principle of universality that the founding members of the UN invested in the Charter, with the notion one nation, one vote, although today this principle seems to be on the verge of giving way to superpowers, which are represented by the five permanent members of the Security Council.

Listening to Mr. Hunte talk about his plan for the General Assembly, one discovers business expertise in this man of action. Among other things, Mr. Hunte serves as his country’s Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation. Covering revitalization of the General Assembly to reform of the Security Council, the President insisted that he has his own inner circle group working on a presentation of some fresh ideas. An inner circle working with the president of the Assembly is a brand new development at the UN. He also said that he has encouraged each chairman of the General Assembly committees to meet with the press and explain their work, something else that has never been done in the history of the United Nations.

When asked about the ambiguity of Article 11 of the Charter over matters of peace and security concerning the role of the General Assembly over which he is presiding and that of the Security Council, he said:

"Peace and security is not the only responsibility that the General Assembly has, it is just one." What the General Assembly has done is say that "peace and security will be the preserve of the Security Council, and they will hand these matters specifically to them. Yes, you may discuss peace and security matters in the General Assembly, but you cannot make recommendations while these matters are being discussed by the Security Council.

"The General Assembly has the authority to discuss any matter; that is its role and function. But on issues regarding peace and security, what is happening in Kosovo, what is happening in Afghanistan, [the Security Council has] a special charge under the Charter to deal specifically with those issues.

"We had a situation just the other day where the United States vetoed the resolution as it related to Mr. Arafat, and it was brought to the General Assembly. Of course, the General Assembly cannot force anybody to do anything, but morally they made their views known loud and clear that they thought it was not something the international community should condone. So the General Assembly does have the authority to discuss matters that relate to peace and security, and it does."

The President also answered questions concerning some of the world’s smaller countries, such as his own Saint Lucia. Mr. Hunte said that the ten-year review for the Barbados Plan of Action, scheduled for August 2004 in Mauritius, would be extremely important to address the vulnerabilities of small islands. He said that if nothing were done about global warming and rising sea levels, some islands in the Pacific Ocean would just disappear. Asked about a free trade zone in the Caribbean, he said that such a zone would not change the political status of the islands.

Asked about his discussion with Haiti’s President Aristide when he was at the UN last week, Mr. Hunte said: "As you know, I’ve been actively involved in Haiti, representing Prime Minister Kenneth Anthony, who is in charge of justice and governance. I do get the impression that the situation there is easing a bit. As you know, they have now introduced a special envoy, and he has been doing work with the opposition groups and with the government, with the expressed intention of ensuring that an electoral council is formed. As of when the electoral council is formed, this will then facilitate an election being held that would be deemed to be more credible than if it were done otherwise. The problem that constitutes Haiti now is that elections are constitutionally due in January of 2004. So something has got to give, something has to be done. Beyond that I can’t comment except to say that Haiti is very close to my heart; I can only hope that the situation there will be resolved in a way that will give the people – what concerns me a lot is the human suffering of the people of Haiti. Sometimes I believe, and I’m not attributing this to any government or political party or what have you, but very often in the whole equation I sometimes get the impression that the people are the ones who are forgotten. I hope, and will continue to work -- in my discussions with the President, I did offer my continued support, and I have been following up, despite the fact that time is so limited in terms of being able to do things other than what I’m doing here at the GA. So, that is where it’s at."

 

P-5Quartet…vs. General Assembly
By Serge Beaulieu, UN Bureau Chief
Sondra Singer Beaulieu, Correspondent

United Nations, New York, September 28, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

The invasion of Iraq, conducted without the consent of the United Nations, gave the General Assembly of the UN a break to reorganize itself and fulfill the ambiguous duties assigned to it by the Charter—working in tandem with the Security Council to oversee questions of world peace and security.

The failure of the Security Council to find a solution to the Iraqi question, and the subsequent do-it-alone punitive measures instituted by the US and the UK created a virtual revolt in the world body. The P-5 (the five permanent members of the Security Council: United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, and France) have been meeting ever since—from New York to Geneva—without any result, except to go from P-5 to P-3 (US, UK, and France) during the first Gulf War and further dwindling to P-2, leaving the US and the UK as the coalition power in present Iraq.

Some have voiced suspicions that if the Blair government falls, the P-2 will downsize to P-1, something that the Bush Administration is trying to avoid at any cost.

Another configuration that has emerged at the UN is the Quartet group designed to accelerate President Bush's Road Map plan to salvage the Mideast situation. Although UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan seems to be confident, observers note that the virtual isolation of Yasser Arafat will lead the plan to failure, as happened to the Oslo Accord.  Here again, the question should have been returned to the General Assembly, which happens to be in session now.

The 58th General Assembly debate began with the HIV/AIDS agenda discussion, which virtually put the Iraq and Middle East questions on back burners. Hundreds of heads of state and government have paraded past the General Assembly podium to participate and request their share of a $10 billion global fund aid project, of which $4 billion has already been collected and partially distributed. Although the African countries are slated as the biggest recipients, a little country like Haiti, for example, has received more than US$24 million toward services, vaccines, medicines, and clinic operations. The Secretary-General intervened to assure that humanitarian aid is not restricted by political considerations.

The agenda of the General Assembly for this year is full of items that had been tabled from earlier sessions. Interest in the General Assembly does not seem to be diminishing, although several countries (like Germany, Japan, India) are trying to reorganize and expand the 15-member Security Council to get permanent seats, even without veto power. However, there seems to be consensus that, whatever the result, as long as the United States continues to dominate this organ as the sole super power, nothing will change.

Some diplomats are saying that the only solution is to reaffirm the power and prestige of the General Assembly by having it share the power with the Security Council on questions of peace and security, as conceived by the Charter signatories—one country, one vote...are we dreaming?

* * * * *


 



Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the President of Haiti, speaks at the 58th Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 26, 2003.

JEAN BERTRAND ARISTIDE'S SPEECH AT THE UN

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief

United Nations, New York, September 26, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

Pressed by unresolved conflicts back home, a pensive Haitian president made the pilgrimage from his country to stand at the podium of the General Assembly to use his 15-minute-speech allotment before the world body. In a breach of protocol, he found himself sitting at the Haiti section of the General Assembly hall before being formally introduced by the president of the Assembly. UN Protocol corrected the gaffe in time, taking him to the section reserved for presidents of countries.

In his introduction, Aristide said that having celebrated in 1992 five hundred years of Indian, black, and popular resistance, the Republic of Haiti would celebrate on January 1 the bicentennial of its independence. It was a direct invitation from the world’s first black republic for everyone to attend the festival of liberty.

The Haitian president said there could have been no peace because of the genocide inflicted on the Amerindians and then on 15 million Africans taken as slaves from their native countries and brought to Haitian soil in 1502. Yet, for three centuries, the President said, his continent had provided 70 percent of the world’s gold reserves, which would equal 2,849,000 tons of gold evaluated at US$36 billion.

After stating that slavery is a crime against humanity, the Haitian President said that his generation has the duty to call for restitution and reparations.

Discussing durable development, the President said that between now and 2015 the objective is to reduce by half the percentage of the world’s people earning less than US$ 1.00 per day. Talking about abject misery, President "Titid" said that four-fifths of the world’s population consumes only one-fifth of the planet’s resources, pushing thirty million to die of famine every year.

For Haiti and elsewhere, he said, in order to reach the objectives of the new millennium, the exercise of power implies respect of fundamental liberties, tolerance, good governance; fight against corruption, drugs, impunity; investment in human beings; security for all; and free, honest, democratic elections.

Turning to the subject of HIV/AIDS, the Haitian leader said that 42 million people around the world are infected; 3.1 million have died, 13 million have been orphaned, and 6,000 youth are infected each day.

Quoting his wife, Haiti’s First Lady Mildred Trouillot Aristide,

the President said that external debt and economic sanctions are not the way to eradicate this evil.

Looking at terrorism and bio-terrorism, the President said that they are not hallucinations. To live free and in peace, he said, violence must be eradicated no matter where it comes from.

He hopes for peace in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Africa, Asia, Iraq—wherever war is inflicting suffering.

The Assembly applauded the President’s speech, after which a long line of diplomats and officials were waiting to greet him in the Indonesian Lounge behind the General Assembly hall.

 

PRESIDENT BUSH AT THE UN

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , September 23, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

In the 15 minutes allotted for speeches in front of the General Assembly, President Bush on Tuesday laid out his policy of no apologies for the invasion of Iraq and, instead, lectured the organization as the world’s  superpower leader on how important and impressive are the financial payments of the United States in keeping the organization solvent.  

From $1,673,725,000 pledged for the HIV global fund to $100 million in help for the de-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the US president assumed a position of command while addressing the Assembly.  No sign of timidity or hesitation of former years emerged.  

President Bush knows what he wants and tells it like it is.  It was a consecration of George W. Bush as a moral leader of his country, sending a wake-up call to the world organization to shape up.  

Most of the Assembly, comprised of presidents and heads of governments, listened silently—including an Iraqi delegation representing the Coalition Council.  

President Bush’s speech was followed by a pale presentation by Jacques Chirac, President of France, who appeared to ask more for accommodation than confrontation.   

There is no doubt that the world of diplomacy took a turn at the UN today.

 

 

 


 

 

 

SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PRESS BRIEFING

A CALL FOR THE REVITALIZATION OF THE TRUSTEESHIP COUNCIL

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York, September 8, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

The Trusteeship Council, the organ of the United Nations that was responsible for decolonization in the 1960s and has remained dormant since, may be resuscitated.  At a press briefing Monday morning, the Secretary-General called for its revitalization in the framework of implementing the Millennium Declaration.  

At the signing of the Charter in June 1945 in San Francisco , the mandate of the Trusteeship Council was to assume responsibility for the administration of territories “whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self governing.”  This mandate was accomplished superbly, bringing the UN roster from 50 members to 191 today.  

Later on, however, this organ was considered dormant, although an inverse phenomenon has been observed with talk of fallen states in Africa and elsewhere.  Some people are even talking about recolonization by the United Nations.  Iraq and Afghanistan are countries that would possibly fall into that category.  

Although not clear about the meaning of his call for revitalization of this UN organ, people are anxious to know if, in the near future, the Trusteeship Council’s revitalization will not mean recolonization.  For example, what to do with Kosovo?  There are significant little islands, like Puerto Rico, Guam , and others, awaiting a final say about their status.   

Did the recent turmoil in Ivory Coast, the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone—even Angola, Rwanda, Burundi and other countries—make this the perfect time for letting the Trusteeship Council call for fallen states to be under supervision?  Nobody wants that to happen, but serious deterioration in that part of the world may create such a state of alarm that the function of the Trusteeship Council may have to be revisited.  

The restructuring of the UN may have to face this challenge.  

 

 

 

THE 58TH REGULAR SESSION 
OF THE
 GENERAL ASSEMBLY

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief

United Nations, New York , August 29, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

When the General Assembly of the United Nations convenes for its annual session on September 23, the organization will be 58 years old. Time to retire…the UN has become irrelevant, say the organization’s critics referring, among other things, to the debacle of Iraq when a defiant Security Council had refused to authorize a coalition force headed by the Americans and the British to invade Iraq .  

Friends of the UN, intervening, were prompt to enumerate the organization’s accomplishments from decolonization to the prevention of a third world war, and the creation of numerous institutions which had enabled the world body to alleviate suffering.  

The General Assembly, which is comprised of the totality of the membership, has been credited with those accomplishments, although member countries have expressed openly their concern about the diminishing influence of this body over the fifteen-member Security Council, in which five permanent members have veto power. When the UN Charter was drawn in San Francisco , with one nation, one vote, did the founders anticipate the inclusion of the developing countries, which could give them monopoly over future decision-making?  

From the 1960s on, a gathering of the General Assembly became the nightmare of the world powers, which had to lobby developing countries in order to introduce or amend resolutions. The Non-Aligned countries, a group formed at the Belgrade Conference by Marshall Tito of Yugoslavia , exercised a virtual monopoly on issues, together with the countries of Africa and Asia , which became the powerful Afro-Asian group. Resolution after resolution was adopted by the General Assembly, sometimes without the power to implement them. Today, old issues still remain: Palestine , the Congo , Korea , Cyprus , and others.  

As the Cold War ended, the permanent members of the Security Council reclaimed leadership over world matters, and the United States as a sole superpower became predominant.  

From time to time, countries not members of the Security Council make reference to the ambiguities in Chapter IV, Article 11 of the Charter. While giving the General Assembly the power to intervene on matters regarding international peace and security, this chapter, at the same time, restrains the General Assembly from making decisions if the Security Council has been seized of the matter. In the Iraqi conflict, using earlier precedents, the Arab League and some other countries called for the convening of a special session of the General Assembly. Diplomatic maneuvering, however, prevented it from materializing.   

Will the question of Iraq become the focal point of the upcoming General Assembly? No one knows. Among the 173 items on the provisional agenda, none mentions Iraq except one item carried over from the past session, labeled “Consequences of the Iraqi Occupation of and Aggression Against Kuwait.” Could that trigger a debate on the current situation in Iraq ?

 


 

 


Sergio Vieira de Mello, the top U.N. envoy on Iraq  killed by a bomb blast on August 19, 2003.
Vieira de Mello is seen at U.N. headquarters in New York in this May 27 file photo. 

BOMBING OF UN HEADQUARTERS IN BAGHDAD

By Serge Beaulieu

UN Bureau Chief  

United Nations Headquarters, New York , August 19, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

 Fifteen dead, more than 100 injured are the statistics from the UN spokesman regarding the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad this morning. Among the dead is Sergio Vieira de Mello, 55 years old, a Brazilian national, United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights as well as Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq .  

At UN headquarters in New York , Sergio de Mello was known and appreciated as a devoted and dedicated civil servant.   Mr. de Mello had served with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees since 1969 in various capacities.  He had extensive headquarters and field experience in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, including those in Bangladesh , Sudan , Cyprus , Mozambique , Peru , and Lebanon .  He served as special envoy for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for Cambodia .  He headed civil affairs of the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia as well as having served as UN Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. His last position before becoming the High Commissioner for Human Rights was in East Timor .  

De Mello was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as Special Representative for Iraq for a period of four months as of May 2003.  

Although the bombing in Iraq happened Tuesday morning at 8:30 New York time, the news reached headquarters around noon when, as usual, staff members, journalists, and diplomats alike were standing around on the first floor watching televisions tuned to CNN.  Everyone seemed to have a word to say about the bombing, although de Mello’s fate had not yet been announced.  Many of the staff members watching the TV had served in Iraq and worried about colleagues they knew who were currently on duty there. From time to time you heard someone asking a question about so-and-so, hoping to hear that the person was all right.  

According to the UN spokesman, the security of UN personnel in Iraq was completely dependent on the coalition partners, meaning the United States and Great Britain .  

“We are completely in their hands,” said Fred Eckhard, the UN spokesman, while announcing that the Secretary-General, presently in Europe , would be taking the plane for headquarters Wednesday morning.  

When pressed to answer the question why the UN seemed to be a target while providing humanitarian assistance to Iraq, his answer was, “I do not see why.”  

The UN flags representing all the member countries were removed from the poles in front of the Secretariat building, and the UN flag was flown at half mast in mourning for all those who died or were injured.  When the Spokesman’s office was asked why, they said that the flags were removed at the request of Mr. Riza, Chief of Cabinet of Kofi Annan.  The flags are normally lowered at the death of heads of state, heads of government, and presidents who die in office. They said that there have been occasions when the flags were lowered for staff who were killed in great numbers, for example, the Swiss Air crash.

 

FORMER US AMBASSADOR WILLIAM SWING BACK IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO UNDER UN FLAG

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

New York , August 10, 2003 (CNS NEWS) 

In a letter to the president of the UN Security Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced that his former representative to Cyprus , Alvaro de Soto , will be reassigned to Occidental Sahara, replacing William Lacy Swing who, himself,  was designated as the Secretary General’s representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo .   

Although everyone knows that Alvaro de Soto ’s mission in Cyprus has been a failure, no one is sure of Swing’s impact in his last duty post in Occidental Sahara. Everyone at headquarters here is talking about the “Baker Plan,” referring to his predecessor, James Baker, who for a short time was Annan’s representative there.  

Will Swing have more luck with his new assignment in the turbulent DR Congo? He certainly has the background.  Former US ambassador to South Africa , Nigeria , Liberia , Congo Brazzaville, Swing was named on March 10, 1998 as US ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo .  However, his confirmation hearing before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee ran into difficulty because of a previous assignment in Haiti .  Nevertheless, he was commissioned during a Senate recess and recommissioned on March 25, 1999 .   

Swing’s involvement in the affairs of the Congo is well known as the US representative there who intervened in October 1998 in favor of President Laurent Desire Kabila during the dispute between Uganda and Rwanda , two neighboring countries. Some of the Congolese factions remembered his position when at a press conference in Kindu a journalist asked if he has a hidden agenda.  

“I have one mission,” responded Ambassador Swing, “maintain the peace process, reinforce the capacity of the all the institutions, and guide the UN MONUC Mission toward one objective – to stop the violence in this country and keep the electoral commission independent.”  

At a press briefing Monday a United Nations spokesman reconfirmed that William Swing has no hidden agenda and that his only mandate is the UN mandate.

 

 

RALPH BUNCHE—A VOICE FROM THE PAST

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York, August 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

Former UN official Ralph Bunche, Nobel peace prize recipient and the man responsible for the establishment of the first UN peacekeeping operation UNTSO (UN Truce Supervision Organization) in 1948, would have been 100 years old on Thursday. Celebrating this occasion, the UN issued a commemorative stamp in his honor. The UN Secretary-General, former colleagues, diplomats, and friends alike gathered for the ceremony.

Kofi Annan in his speech said: "This centenary is an opportunity to remember Ralph Bunche and to carry his legacy and wisdom forward to new generations…He would be satisfied, I think, to see what we are doing to improve UN peacekeeping and other responses to conflict. Yet he would be deeply dismayed that it has taken so long to take such modest steps, and truly appalled that it took new acts of genocide to set these changes in motion."

His former colleague, Brian Urquhart, in a New York Times Op-Ed questioned how Bunche, who died in 1971, would have reacted to the delay in sending peacekeepers to arrest the horrors of northeastern Congo or Liberia as well as in other places in the recent past. He described Bunche as an "unassuming man - he never bothered, for instance, to correct a common misapprehension that he was born in 1904. He was also a very practical and extremely responsible, man. He disliked dilly-dallying with human tragedy and despised failures to respond to those in dire need. He was always prepared to look for new solutions when old ones had failed. I believe Ralph Bunche would have seen a rapid reaction force as an essential and timely expansion in the international community's capacity for helping the millions now afflicted by anarchy and civil war."

Although peacekeeping is not mentioned in the UN Charter, 56 of those operations have been deployed since 1948 at a cost of $28.73 billion. Fourteen are in operation today.

I was fortunate to have known Dr. Ralph Bunche at the UNTSO in Israel, at ONUC (UN Operation in the Congo), and at UN headquarters in New York. My impression of him was of a dedicated civil servant often buried behind mounds of memos and counter-memos. He walked with a swaying motion, seemingly unaware of his surroundings. He sat unobtrusively behind the Secretary-General in the Security Council chamber, and one could barely envision him in a confrontation with colleagues. However, in the aftermath of the Congo crisis in the 1960s, one of my friends, Jean David, facing difficulties in his ONUC mission, was shipped back to UN headquarters in New York. David told me that Bunche intervened on his behalf and threatened to resign in protest over the way his case was handled. Contrary to allegations, David said that Bunche was a man who stood up for principle.

A Swedish national, former member of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold's inner circle, who was familiar with the David situation, recently told me a similar story where Bunche had threatened to resign over a disagreement with Hammarskjold. He, too, concluded that Bunche was a man of honor.

 

MR. ANNAN’S PRESS CONFERENCE  

 

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

United Nations, New York , July 30, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
Since the U.N.-Iraqi saga, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan had prudently confined himself to long distance briefings, ignoring his usual headquarters open-ended press conferences, which were largely packed with journalists and photographers juggling for seats in Room 301.  

Wednesday afternoon, the U.N. boss resumed his activities in front of a less-than-packed room.  The main topics, as would be expected, were Iraq , the Middle East , and Liberia .  His press spokesman made sure that the world press giants had their pick of questions.  

In his articulate way, Kofi Annan made sure questions asked, questions answered.  In one case, however, responding to an Associated Press correspondent, the answer appeared to have caught him off guard.   

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary-General, during the conflict over Iraq , some United States officials said that the United Nations was destined for the dustbin of history and the fate of the League of Nations . Yet, here we are, just a few short months later, talking about internationalizing the force in Iraq and giving the United Nations a much broader role there.  How do you feel about that, and what does this tell you about the architecture of what is going on in the world today in terms of multilateralism and unilateralism?  

RESPONSE: I think that the message that comes through loud and clear, giving the reaction of other member states, is that multilateralism is important for many states around the world, that for many states the United Nations is important, that the imprimatur of the United Nations—the legitimacy the United Nations offers—is important.  I think that this is a very clear message, particularly for those who thought that the United Nations was dead and had no influence.  I must admit to you that I did warn those who were bashing the United Nations that they had to be careful, because they might need the United Nations soon.  This was some months ago.  

This is not the first time that in the corridors of the United Nations clever, veteran diplomats and U.N. experts alike have compared the Iraqi dilemma to the invasion of Abyssinia by Ethiopia , which led to the downfall of the League of Nations .  But Kofi Annan seems confident that the organization will survive.  

 

 

MR. WORLD IS BACK…AT THE U.N.

United Nations, New York, July 15, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief


After a brief visit Monday in Washington, where he met with U.S. President Bush, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is back at the U.N.  His self-appointed mission was not to restore the credibility of the U.S. President in the Iraqi controversy but to try to restore his organization’s own credibility after the Iraqi debacle.  The photo-op of a U.N. secretary-general sitting at the White House with the President of the United States was enough to restore this confidence, even when President Bush said, “I told Kofi that we will help Liberia, but not under the U.N.’s blue helmets, after evaluating the situation.”  The U.S. President seemed more interested in defending his uranium statement and other controversies that appear to have entangled his administration.   

What has happened to the U.N. these days?  An active Security Council embracing all subjects appears to be moving along by introducing resolution after resolution under scrutiny of Big Brother: Washington .  Never in the history of the organization has a single country had such weight. Even television cameras at the U.N. seem to light up automatically when the U.S. ambassador is passing through.  

At the other end, a weak General Assembly comprised of all the member states appears to have almost given up to a mass of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that more and more occupy the corridors of the U.N., acting as the world’s representative body.  

The Secretariat is pumping press releases, a website, radio programs, hundreds of colorful magazines, but nobody seems to care.  In the meantime, civil wars, HIV/AIDS, poverty, and hunger are ravaging Africa and parts of Latin America .  Introducing its 2003 Human Development Report, UNDP has given our planet an image of gloom, where rich and poor appear to have reached irreconcilable differences.  Are we losing it?  

UNDP—ON THE MARK

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

United Nations, New York, July 10, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

Every year the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) introduces a study that grades 175 countries around the globe. The placement indicator is a subject of pride for certain countries and a wakeup call for others, especially in the developing world.

This year Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Australia, and Holland have been graded as among the top five where air is fresher, food is tastier, and life in general is better.

Belgium, the United States, Canada, Japan, and Switzerland follow as the next best in the top ten. England holds the thirteenth position, while France, Germany, and Spain occupy the 17th, 18th, and 19th positions.

Barbados, the little Caribbean island, is graded as 27th, while Bahamas and Cuba are 49th and 52nd on the scale.

Sierra Leone is at the bottom of the list, together with a bunch of other African countries including Nigeria, Zambia, Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, and Burundi.

Although the presentation of the 367 page blue book is a subject of pride for those who prepared it, it is not an indication that the UNDP as an institution is fulfilling its mission.

At a press conference to present the book, UNDP experts were on hand to explain the contents of the publication filled with graphics and mumbo-jumbo explanations. They even attempted to answer questions? Which questions? Why are the African countries at the bottom of the list, including Nigeria? When will there be a breakthrough for the developing world? When will those countries, so filled with natural resources, be able to see the light of day? Where did the United Nations fail to promote sustainable and durable development? Of course those questions were not asked.

The United Nations Development Programme, which started about 50 years ago as a small institution promoting a tiny fishing project in Haiti, mushroomed into such a bureaucracy that it has developed into a worldwide politically oriented network. Obviously, the hope of promoting development in the Third World was not realized.

In June 1945 at Lake Success, Trygve Lie, then secretary-general of the United Nations, introducing the report of the first United Nations technical mission to the Republic of Haiti, said:

The United Nations mission of technical assistance to the Republic of Haiti deserves attention as a new departure in United Nations activities. Undertaken at the request of the Haitian government under Economic and Social Council Resolution 51 (IV) of 26 March 1947, it gives impetus to General Assembly Resolution 200 (III) of 4 December 1948 on technical assistance for economic development, deliberated on and finally adopted while the experts drawn from the United Nations Secretariat, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the World Health Organization were actively engaged in Haiti in investigation of the country’s development problems. This mission is, in a sense, a precursor of the ampler efforts which it is hoped the international organizations concerned will be enabled to display in realization of the bold program of technical assistance to underdeveloped countries envisaged by the President of the United States and the United Nations contribution to which will be discussed at the forthcoming session of the Economic and Social Council. The mission having now submitted its report, the analysis and recommendations of which have been duly brought to the Haitian government’s attention, I have pleasure in making it public in full accord with the President of the Republic of Haiti.

That project was named the Rosenberg Mission to Haiti in honor of Oscar Rosenberg, a national of Sweden, who served as chief of mission. Now, 54 years later, Haiti, whose project launched the institution, is ranked 150 on the UNDP index, having dropped from 146 in the last study. Is there hope for any country?

 

 


U.N. VOTE—END OF ARM TWISTING  

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
 

United Nations, New York, May 23, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

After a lot of arm twisting, the Security Council reached a 14-0 vote authorizing the occupation of Iraq by the coalition comprised mainly of the United States and Great Britain.  The absence at the vote of the Syrian delegation, the only Arab member of the Security Council, was interpreted as a sign of dissent.  But hours later, to the surprise of everyone, Syrian Ambassador Mikhail Wehbe insisted in a speech before the Council that, as per instructions of his country, he wanted the Council to reflect a “yes” vote, making the decision unanimous at 15-0.  Afterward, an observer said cynically: “Not only did they twist his arm, they broke his leg, too.”  

Immediately after, Secretary-General Kofi Annan issued a letter naming Sergio Vieira de Mello as his special representative to Iraq, a man who had been chosen, interviewed and approved by Washington more than a week ago.  De Mello, an Argentinean national, has been a trusted civil servant at the U.N. for many years.  Some observers had thought that Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian, currently the United Nations Special Envoy to Afghanistan, was going to be the choice, but his ties to the Arab world may have made him unacceptable to Washington.   

This is the end of a saga but not the end of the United Nations, as some had predicted.


INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
By Serge Beaulieu  

United Nations, New York , May 21, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

As the United Nations is trying to come out clean from a post-Iraq-war situation without destroying the hope that the Founding Fathers had placed in the Charter, more than 1,500 indigenous people from around the world are closing a two-week symposium seeking solutions to the challenges facing their respective communities. This was the second session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.  

On May 12, Roberto Mucaro Borrero, a Taino from Puerto Rico , blew a conch shell to call the meeting to order.  Tadodaho Chief Sidney Hill, spiritual leader of the Haudenosaunee, with an honor guard of children of the Onondaga Nation, gave a tradition blessing.  Elizabeth Garnett of the Cherokee Nation U.S.A. spoke as a youth representative.  

For the past week, the U.N. corridors and cafeteria were transformed like a Hollywood movie set by indigenous people from all over the world proudly wearing their colorful, traditional costumes.  Nevertheless, the Iraqi saga remained the main topic of discussion in the building.  

Dr. Albert DeTerville, representing the Bethechilokono of Saint Lucia, said that the Indigenous People called his island Hiwanaru, which means land of the Iguana, and said that they have played—and continue to perform—an important role in the socio-cultural structure of Saint Lucia.  

From millennia before the Europeans came, the Indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean Basin , from Guanahatobey/Ciboney to Taino/Arawak to Kalingo/Carib to Bethechilokono practiced a non-exploitation culture based in classless communal social groups of families.   

The Bambuti People of the Democratic Republic of the Congo addressed the issue of violations of the rights of the Pygmies.  They said that the Bambuti Pygmies are considered to be sub-human, or are simply considered by some as animals, and that this is unacceptable in the 21st Century.   

“In living memory, we have seen cruelty, massacres, genocide; but we have never seen human beings hunted and eaten literally as though they were game animals, as has recently happened to the Mambasa Pygmies in the Ituri District, Oriental province, in the North-East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo ,” said Sinafasi Makelo.  

The discussion did not answer the question of who is indigenous in Africa .  In North Africa and Saharan countries, the Berbers have established themselves as the indigenous people.  So have the Wodaabe and Mbororo pastoralists and the Ogoni people of the Delta district.  In Central Africa , it is the Batwa, the Baaka, and the Bambuti.  In the Horn of Africa, where the Sudanese government has been conducting ethnic cleansing in Southern Sudan, part of the clash is rooted in the prejudice by dominant groups that herding people are primitive and not worthy of human rights.  In Southern Africa , the Khoe and San peoples, calling themselves indigenous, have seen their rights improve since a democratic government came to power in South Africa .     

With all those complaints, the U.N. felt it necessary to establish a permanent forum where all the indigenous peoples could discuss their cases.  For the first time, indigenous voices, nominated by indigenous peoples, are speaking as officials of a United Nations body.  There are 16 members, eight of whom are nominated by indigenous peoples, and eight nominated by governments.  They are nominated for 3-year terms and can be re-nominated for an additional term.  

The forum will close on May 22.  

HEADS OR TAILS FOR THE SECURITY COUNCIL?
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , May 19, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

The war in Iraq may be over, but the Security Council’s troubles have only begun.  Late Monday, a final draft resolution, sponsored by Spain , the United Kingdom , and the United States , was introduced before the other 12 members. The resolution reiterated the determination of the coalition that won the war to remain the “Authority” in Iraq .  

The resolution opened a crack by stipulating that other states in the future may work under the Authority. It still keeps Iraq under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter by calling on member states to deny, among other points, safe haven to those members of the previous Iraqi regime who are allegedly responsible for crimes and atrocities and to support action to bring them to justice.  

As far as the United Nations is concerned, it called for the appointment of a special representative for Iraq whose independent responsibilities shall involve reporting regularly to the Council on his activities under this resolution, coordinating activities of the United Nations in post-conflict processes in Iraq, coordinating among U.N. and international agencies engaged in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction activities in Iraq, and, in coordination with the Authority, assisting the people of Iraq.  The resolution described from points (a) to (i) all the attributions of this special representative.  

The resolution calls for one billion dollars from the oil for food program to be transferred as soon as possible to a newly created development fund, which will enjoy all privileges and immunities equivalent to those enjoyed by the United Nations, except that the privileges will not apply to any legal proceedings in which recourse to such proceeds or obligations is necessary to satisfy liability for damage assessed in connection with an ecological accident, including an oil spill that occurs after the date of the adoption of the resolution.  

Paragraph 18 “decides to terminate effective on the adoption of this resolution the functions related to the observation and monitoring activities undertaken by the Secretary-General under the programme, including the monitoring of the export of petroleum and petroleum products from Iraq .”  

Five percent of the oil proceeds, which previously was kept by the Secretariat, will now be transferred to the compensation fund.  

The Iraqi debts have been left in the hands of financial institutions, including those of the Paris Club, to seek a solution.   

Paragraph 24 requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council at regular intervals on the work of the special representative while, at the same time, invites the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America periodically to inform the Council of their efforts under this resolution.  

One can see the hand of experienced diplomatic experts in the writing of this resolution.  

After the Security Council consultation Monday afternoon, while the United States and the United Kingdom were responding to questions at the stakeout, France , Russia , and Germany did not follow their custom to appear.  

Nevertheless, the British ambassador described the atmosphere in the Council as cordial, while the U.S. ambassador stated clearly that he expected a vote by Wednesday. Is it now heads or tails for the Security Council? 


 

U.N. – THE RETURN OF THE “TRUSTEESHIP SYSTEM”
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , May 11, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

During the last 58 years, the United Nations trusteeship system has been very successful in providing this organization with more than three-quarters of its membership by granting full independence to countries previously under colonial rule.   The Trusteeship Council, one of the organs of the United Nations, is considered dormant now, since only a few little islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean are labeled not self-governing.  

The U.N. Charter makes it clear in Article 78 that the trusteeship system should not apply to territories that had become members of the United Nations, relationship among which should be based on respect of the principle of sovereign equality.  That was one of the reasons behind the hesitation by the Security Council to authorize the use of force against Iraq .  

Talking triumphantly to his troops aboard a U.S. carrier, the President of the United States said that “the invasion is over and the repugnant regime of Saddam Hussein is no more.”  He stopped short, however, of saying that this was the cessation of hostilities, which would have implied the intervention of the Geneva Agreement, which calls for a return of prisoners of war and also the cessation of hostility against the vanquished authorities.  

In his mind, the “deck of cards” listing the names of fugitives is still operative.  One of the world’s most wanted, Saddam Hussein, is still at large.  In the meantime, Iraq remains without a functioning government and the United Nations without a role.  This cannot continue, since Iraqi oil represents billions of dollars as an operative business.  But how can the situation be legitimized?  

Last week, the Secretary-General of the United Nations convened the members of the Security Council to his office in order to find a solution. The next day, the United States and Britain , the “occupying powers,” distributed a Project of Resolution legalizing their own rule over Iraqi territory and resources, reserving to the U.N. an obscure and indefinite role.  

By the end of the weekend, nobody knew who had conceived the idea to take the Security Council on retreat to further discuss the resolution.   The Security Council can do almost anything except violate the Charter, which perhaps some members are not inclined to do openly.  France , which had been the most vocal during the pre-invasion, has become very conciliatory.  At a stakeout, one was waiting for the French expression: “Nous sommes fouttus.”  

Russia , which still remains an ally of France , is apparently negotiating to see that the Iraqi debt to Russia , which is said to be in the billions of dollars, will be honored by whoever takes charge.  

Germany seems to be using the same approach.  

In the meantime, the Bush Administration is making sure that the war that was fought and won by the coalition gives to the winners the power to make all final decisions.  It is not only Iraq that is under trusteeship, but the U.N. itself.

 



JOHN M. GABOR -- NEW U.N. CHEF
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
United Nations, New York, May 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

While Director General Mohamed El Baradei of IAEA was voicing concern over reports that there had been looting at Iraqi nuclear facilities and asking the United States to confirm the situation, here at United Nations headquarters a change of guard in the restaurant facilities was taking place.

Stories of looting in the main cafeteria and the Delegates Dining Room were denied by the U.N. spokesman at the regular noon briefing, and John M. Gabor, the new executive chef, was at his post early Monday morning to greet his new customers.

Restaurant Associates has been replaced as the catering service by a new company called Aramark. The chef’s table for today was sirloin au poivre with garlic mashed wilted spinach, chuspech onions, and port wine glaze.

Executive Chef Gabor, a 30-year experienced chef with the American Culinary Federation, has received a gold medal for culinary excellence from the American Culinary Institute. He has appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning America and has been featured in the Natural Culinary Review as well as in other media.

Although the menu did not seem to differ from the previous caterer, the presentation appeared more appealing. "The steak au poivre was excellent," said an ambassador, thanking Chef Gabor, who appeared at first to be a little shy, not knowing how to address such dignitaries, although most of the diners today were U.N. staff.

Fresh ground sirloin burgers were served as well as country style southern fried chicken. A sushi station has been added, and flavors of Asia, Latin America, and Northern Africa will be forthcoming. "This is a complete food destination where choices are limitless and change will occur frequently," said Chef Gabor with a smile.

An associate said, "Have you got a sweet tooth? We’ve got mouth watering delectable desserts—chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, freshly baked cookies warm from the oven—everything but sugar plums."

There was a rush to see the delicacies that the new concessionaire Aramark offered. And the prices were good: $8.95 for the steak au poivre and a glass of wine.

There is anticipation that the new U.N. chef will keep his clientele happy. So far so good.

 

 

 



FALL OF THE UNITED NATIONS...
PRECIPITOUS JUDGMENT

United Nations, New York, April 25, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war with Iraq created an uneasy feeling about the United Nations, and people are questioning the organization’s relevance. The U.S. media continues to present a darker side of this institution, and U.S. President Bush, himself, appears to have relegated the world body to the sidelines, although from time to time the expression "the U.N. has to play a role" is voiced.

Now that the war is over and has become a fait accompli, the U.N. Security Council is still trying to define its role in a post-Iraq-war situation that it did not authorize. The tendency seems more toward accommodation with the "occupying power" than exercising that body’s authority to question.

When the United Nations was created after World War II, it was a reaffirmation of the vanquishers to prevent another war by keeping the leadership of world affairs. The United States, Russia, England, and China took permanent seats and the right of veto in the Security Council, comprised of eleven members at that time. France, although in a difficult position after the war, was invited to join in with the privilege of veto, giving five countries dominance over world affairs. Without the veto power, there is doubt that the United Nations would have been created.

As soon as the affairs of the organization were set into motion, a Cold War erupted, dividing the world into East and West. The question of Berlin, the long march of Mao Tse-tung expelling the troops of Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan, the Korean Conflict all precipitated events, sometimes putting the organization on the verge of irrelevance. But the veto power at the U.N. always permitted the Big Five to save face.

Although China’s veto power was given to Taiwan for a long time, the affairs of the organization continued to be conducted as usual. In the process, the U.N. discovered a new mission: decolonization. Most of the African and Asian countries under colonial power gained their independence and became members of the U.N., boosting the General Assembly, where the Big Five had no veto power.

From decolonization, the U.N. went to technical assistance with the creation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and a multitude of other institutions—including specialized agencies—mushrooming the organization to such an extent that the world government that had been projected seemed to have materialized.

The opening session of the General Assembly in New York was the biggest event each year on the calendar, but little by little the Big Five regained control by making the Security Council more powerful and the General Assembly unable to implement its own resolutions. Today, the opening of a General Assembly session is considered a fait divers.

After the dismantling of the Soviet empire, the United States emerged—among the Big Five—as the sole superpower. This situation has created such an imbalance that the U.S. President considered it unnecessary to have U.N. agreement in order to conduct war, disregarding, in fact, the veto power, which had been for a long time the balancing factor. By destroying the power of the right to veto, the U.S. government itself is putting the U.N. in a situation of irrelevance.

The danger is: Are they ready for that—since a multitude of conflicts around the world could emerge at any moment—the Korean situation, the conflict with Iran, the China/Taiwan dispute, India and Pakistan, the Palestine/Israel question. Will the United States be able to control all those situations without a United Nations? In fact, will the United States be able to control Iraq without the United Nations? The answer is: probably not. Therefore, the relevance of the United Nations as a world body is going to be reaffirmed at a time when a lot of people seem to think that the glass house on the East River could have a better use than harboring diplomats from all over the world.


A
LI  BABIN  IRAQ

United Nations, New York, April 14, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Watching the destruction of Iraq on my television screen, I could not resist returning in memory to the days of my youth when I listened, frightened, to the odyssey of The Arabian Nights—Le Voleur de Baghdad—Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Scherazade, the Caliph—que sais-je?

The history and artifacts of Mesopotamia, Babylon, and the Wonders of the World—along with centuries of civilization—are disappearing in flames, although an international organization called UNESCO supposedly was created to protect them. I have heard that libraries and museums have all gone up in smoke while we, "the civilized," almost rejoice as we listen to correspondents "embedded" with the occupying power pump us with a minute-by-minute injection of news.

The United Nations, which was created to prevent war, has become so impotent that the Secretary-General found it necessary to send his representative to Washington to discuss his post-Iraq-war role.

Here at U.N. headquarters in New York, diplomats, press, and employees are walking like corpses, not knowing what to do. 

In the meantime, our television screens keep delivering to us the faces of thousands of Ali Babas in the streets of Baghdad, Mozul, Tikrit, Balad, Bayji, and other towns destroying, in the name of the law of revenge, an ancient civilization, a part of us all, while the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein and his companions are still unknown.

 


IRAQ—"THE GAME IS OVER"

United Nations, New York, April 10, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

"The game is over, and now we want peace for the people of Iraq," said a nervous Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri to a pack of reporters Wednesday in front of his mission on East 79th Street in New York City.

Asked if he had heard from Saddam, Aldouri answered, "I have no relationship with Saddam Hussein. I have no communication with Iraq. I am here, I know nothing about what’s going on there."

Early this week, some U.N. reporters were already concerned about Aldouri’s future as news of the war was going badly for his government.

Thursday morning, as he entered the U.N. building, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was confronted with this question: "Mr. Secretary, why did you call in Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, and what do you understand his status at the moment to be?"

The Secretary-General replied: "I don’t know what his status is, but I did talk to him on Monday. We reviewed the situation in Baghdad and what was happening. He did not have much information. I don’t where he is or what his status is at the moment, but, naturally, we did talk about what happens depending on the evolution of things on the ground."

The exchange continued as follows:

Q: "Did he ask at that point for asylum or discuss the question of asylum or potential need for protection in any way?

A.: "No, he did not ask for asylum or protection. He had indicated some time earlier that he and his staff sometime felt harassed and followed by local authorities and police—this was some time ago, and I think we had raised it with the authorities and that has stopped. When I saw him on Monday, he did not ask me for help with his status."

Regarding the situation in Iraq itself, Kofi Annan said: "Let me first say that from what we have seen in the reports, it appears there is no functioning government in Iraq at the moment. We also saw the scene of jubilation, but, of course, when you think of the casualties—both military and civilian—the Iraqis have paid a heavy price for this. We have also seen scenes of looting and, obviously, law and order must be a major concern.

Kofi Annan also reaffirmed that The Hague Regulation and the Geneva Convention apply to the Iraqi conflict and that the coalition has a responsibility for the welfare of the people of this area.

On Thursday afternoon Mohammed Aldouri met again with Secretary-General Kofi Annan but the Ambassador declined to comment as he left the building.

DAY 20 OF THE IRAQ WAR AT THE U.N.

United Nations, New York, April 8, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

As the war in Iraq enters its 20th day, with the capture of Baghdad by the coalition forces and the control of Basra after a 2-week siege by British forces, the role of the United Nations in a post-war Iraq is not clearly defined.

United Kingdom Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said at a Security Council stakeout Tuesday that he envisioned three-party control in post-war Iraq, with the coalition playing the main role, the Iraqi people and United Nations functioning at the humanitarian level. This concept leaves many at U.N. headquarters uneasy, seeing the organization minimized to an administrative level. It appears to be punishment of the Security Council for not authorizing the use of force.

The Arab Group, which has been mandated to call an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the Iraqi question, seems hesitant, although at the U.N. briefing Tuesday reference was made to a letter addressed by this group to the president of the General Assembly. The Security Council president’s spokesman, however, did not acknowledge this letter.

Late Tuesday afternoon a communiqué was issued by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koї hiro Matsuura, deploring the heavy toll paid by the press in Iraq and reminding the belligerents of their obligations to treat journalists as civilians. He recalled Article 79 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention, which states that "journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict should be considered as civilians...On no account must journalists be targeted."

Three journalists were killed in Baghdad today, and another, a Kurd journalist, was killed in northern Iraq. The three in Baghdad were: Reuters news agency cameraman Taras Protsyuk, Spanish television channel Tele 5 cameraman Jose Couso, and Al-Jazeera correspondent Tarek Ayoub.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was scheduled to leave for Europe Wednesday to attend the European conference in Athens on April 17, has said that he has decided not to travel tomorrow as had been previously announced. 

 

Post-Conflict Iraq—U.N. Role

United Nations, New York, April 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Early Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan took it upon himself to call a meeting with the Security Council to discuss post-conflict Iraq and the U.N. role. When asked to explain, he said: "I wanted to discuss with them the developments on the ground and also to discuss the post-conflict situation in Iraq, regardless of how the war ends. And, of course, we will have to see what the post-conflict environment will be. But the Council has been discussing informally, and I have had Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed working as my advisor on this issue of post-conflict Iraq, doing some thinking about it, and he will be available to talk to the Council members as well."

Mr. Ahmed, a national of Pakistan, has been part of the U.N. system and has held the positions of assistant secretary-general, under-secretary general, and chef de cabinet of Kofi Annan.

Asked to explain Ahmed’s role, the Secretary-General’s response was "his role will be—actually, he has been doing it already, thinking about the future, thinking about what is likely to happen and what the likely U.N. role will be, and also to be available to the Council members and all the members involved to exchange ideas and then give me some advice."

Last week, the Secretary-General spent a great deal of time meeting with all the regional groups. When asked how his idea of post-conflict Iraq differed or contrasted or was similar to what the United States Administration plans, his response was; "…obviously there are discussions going on, both in Washington and among member states and, as you can see, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair will be talking again this week. And, there has been a series of discussions where the European Union had come up firmly on the side of greater U.N. involvement. I do expect the U.N. to play an important role, and the U.N. has had good experience in this area of political facilitation leading to the emergence of a new or interim administration. We have done quite a bit of work on reconstruction, working with donor countries and with other U.N. agencies. You have seen the work the U.N. has done in human rights and the area of rule of law, so there are a lot of areas where the U.N. can play a role but, above all, U.N. involvement does bring legitimacy, which is necessary for the country, for the region, and for the people around the world."

Monday afternoon, Kofi Annan’s Spokesman issued the following statement: "The Secretary-General today met with the members of the Security Council to inform them that he had formalized the role of Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed by appointing him as his Special Adviser. As he has done over the past two months, Mr. Ahmed will continue to consider possible United Nations roles in post-war Iraq and their legal, political, operational and resource implications.

"The Secretary-General and the members of the Council agreed that any role beyond the coordination of humanitarian activities in Iraq, and other activities mandated by existing resolutions, would first require a new mandate from the Security Council.

"The members of the Security Council welcomed Mr. Ahmed’s appointment and expressed satisfaction at the start of a dialogue with the Secretary-General on a subject which would acquire added urgency in the weeks to come."


AT THE U.N.--DAY 16 OF THE IRAQ WAR  

United Nations, New York , April 4, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief

I
t is business as usual at U.N. headquarters in New York on Day Sixteen of the coalition war against Iraq .  Very few diplomats in their limousines are entering the main gate that leads to the courtyard, where they usually park.  Staff members, journalists, NGOs are, however, in their posts, ready to show their ID passes to security officers located from the street entrance to various checkpoints inside.  

At the 45rd Street entrance, visitors in small numbers gather to buy tickets for the regular U.N. tour.  More than ten food stands are serving meals daily, including a main cafeteria, a Delegates’ Dining Room, and a staff café.  From $2.50 to $15.00-- the cheapest and the best in New York--one can choose how you eat gourmet food.  On today’s menu is cheese ravioli for $2.95, chicken Florentine $3.25, baked tilapia $4.80 lamb gyro $6.50, coconut glazed salmon $5.00.  Of course, hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, a salad bar, and a variety of beverages, including freshly made espresso and cappuccino, are available for a small price.  

In the corridors, TV monitors fixed on CNN were blasting their coverage on the Iraq war, announcing the capture of Saddam’s airport and projecting the end of Saddam Hussein.   Suddenly, someone loudly said: “Al Jazzera, (the Arab TV network) is showing Saddam Hussein in person being cheered in the streets of Baghdad right now.”  Somebody climbed on a chair and switched the channel from CNN national to CNN international and there he was—a smiling, candid Saddam Hussein, against all odds, in the middle of his people, doing his thing.  Automatically, the question that has been persistent over the last few days was asked: “Is it really Saddam Hussein?”  If it is, that is a big public relations coup for his government.  

A few minutes earlier, at a U.N. press briefing, a question was asked if the occupying power forms a government who would be the accepted representative at the U.N., since the United States would normally declare the present ambassador persona non grata.  The spokesman answered that it would be a question for the credential committee to decide.  

At an Arab League conference held recently at the level of foreign ministers, a mandate was given to the group to call for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss the situation in Iraq if the Security Council fails to take a decision.  But so far it seems to be just in the discussion stage.  

Whether the government of Saddam Hussein survives the weekend or not, we can soon anticipate seeing diplomats’ limousines filling to capacity the courtyard of the U.N. for an extraordinary session of the General Assembly.   In the meantime, Day 16 is a quiet one at U.N. headquarters, and staff members are anxious to leave for their weekend retreats.  

At the telex booth in the press section, the operator of world.com, Juan Soto, said: “Our telex service with Iraq was cut off a week ago, and no one has been here to send messages there.”  

 

Return of the Cold War

United Nations, New York, April 3, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

As American and British coalition forces advance toward Baghdad, Cold War vestiges of the 1950s are reappearing at the United Nations. After the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991, relations between East and West improved to such an extent that Russia, under Putin, offered the U.S. help to combat terrorism after the 9/11 tragedy. Nuclear weapons were reduced, and an alliance to work toward common security goals was established. But, as the war against Saddam Hussein intensifies, relations appear to be deteriorating, not only with Russia but also with Germany and France.

At the U.N. Security Council, France threatened to use its veto power on a draft resolution calling for the use of force against Iraq. Germany stated openly that it would vote against the resolution, and Russia joined the other two.

The coalition forces, nevertheless, without authorization from the Security Council, moved against Iraq. The war is now described as being in its final stages: the capture of Baghdad and the dismantlement of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Then what?

Resolution 1472 on humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq was voted unanimously on March 28 by the Security Council, but not without mentioning the provisions of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (August 12, 1949), regarding responsibilities of an occupying power in ensuring food and medical supplies to the civilian population, in particular, bringing in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles, if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate. 

On April 1, a statement from the Foreign Minister of Russia was circulated at the U.N., in which he reiterated this point and went further to say that Resolution 1472 did not contest the sovereignty of Iraq or its right to determine its own political future and control its own natural resources.

A statement of this nature in the Cold War era would have been the subject of great concern. But, as the only superpower in today’s world, the United States is likely to just take note of it. In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a trip this week to Brussels and Turkey in an attempt to realign former allies by offering to share in the administration of post-war Iraq with the U.N. He indicated, however, that the final voice will rest with the coalition forces who went along and suffered casualties and financial hardship to oust the Saddam Hussein regime.

The Oil-for-Food program, which has more than $2.9 billion in escrow, is busy signing 450 contracts, according to one of their press releases, without specifying with whom.

 

 

KOFI ANNAN V/S IRAQ

United Nations, New York, April 1, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

A Security Council resolution adopted unanimously on March 28, giving the Secretary-General broad power to amend the oil-for-food program, is being questioned by the Iraqi government.

In a letter dated March 31, and circulated Tuesday at the UN, Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said, "Any discussion of an amendment to the memorandum of understanding and the oil-for-food programme without Iraq’s participation is a blatant violation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995) and brooks no justification whatsoever. The programme was operating with full cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Secretariat of the United Nations until the Secretariat decided on 17 March 2003 to withdraw the programme’s staff from Iraq on the grounds of fears for the safety of international staff arising from an American-British attack on that country. There is no legal or moral basis for such a pretext."

Kofi Annan presented, also on Tuesday, his 6-page report to the Council on the Iraq/Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), describing the different phases leading to the withdrawal, on March 17, 2003, of the 1,332 staff members of the mission, while keeping in Kuwait City 12 military officers and 20 essential civilian staff.

In his report, Annan remarked: 

1)"While it is clear that UNIKOM is presently unable to fulfill its mandate as a result of the situation on the ground, its personnel have only been dispersed temporarily, and the timing of their return to their assignment will be decided in consultation with the Council."

2) "Owing to the outbreak of conflict on March 20, 2003, it became necessary to withdraw the majority of UNIKOM personnel, who have returned to their countries of origin or to previous assignments."

A press release dated April 1, 2003, from the Office of the Iraq Programme Oil-for-Food, asks global suppliers to speed humanitarian deliveries for Iraq.  It says: "The adoption of Security Council Resolution 1472 (2003) on 28 March gave authority to the Secretary-General for 45 days to facilitate the delivery and receipt of goods contracted by the Government of Iraq through the Oil-for-Food Programme, which has $10.1 billion worth of goods and supplies in its pipeline. These include food items worth $2.4 billion, water supply and sanitation equipment ($506 million) and health supplies ($374 million). There are $5.8 billion in processed contracts that are unfunded. The Programme has $2.9 billion in uncommitted funds in escrow."

In Bagdad, Iraq’s Information Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf rejected the Council’s resolution that renewed the 7-year old oil-for-food program.

 


 

SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN MEETS WITH U.N. ARAB GROUP  

United Nations, New York , March 31, 2003
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met early Monday morning with the regional group of Arab states in order to discuss the situation in Iraq and assess his own credibility with this group. The meeting took place in the basement of the United Nations building, and no word yet has filtered out about the details.  

Last week, a conflict developed when, at a press stakeout, Iraq ’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, accused the Secretary-General of being biased by removing the U.N. peacekeepers on the Iraq/Kuwait border in order to permit the American invasion of Iraq .  Iraq ’s Vice President went further by accusing Kofi Annan of playing the role of a “high commissioner.”  

At an open meeting of the Security Council, Aldouri renewed his attack on the Secretary-General, and most of the Arab delegations appeared to concur with his view.  That did not prevent the Security Council from pushing aside the idea of condemning the United States for the attack and giving broad authority to the Secretary-General to deal with the humanitarian aspects of the Iraqi question, under Resolution S/2003/381.  

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, the Iraqi authorities rejected the resolution, making it difficult—if not impossible—for the Secretary-General to accomplish his mandate.   

In capital city Amman, Jordan, the U.N. has upgraded its presence in order to prepare full-scale humanitarian assistance for Iraq.  

Early Monday, a letter dated March 26, signed by Iraq’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, was circulated as a document of the General Assembly, reference number A/57/766.  In this document, the Ambassador recalled a resolution adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its meeting held at the level of ministers for foreign affairs, during its 119th regular session on March 22-25, entitled “The American/British Aggression against Fraternal Iraq and its Implications for the Security and Safety of Neighboring Arab States and Arab National Security.”  

Paragraph 6 of this resolution reads as follows:  “To mandate the Arab Group, in the event that the Security Council does not meet or fails to adopt a decision required to halt the aggression and secure withdrawal, pursuant to the contents of the paragraph above, to call for an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the attack on Iraq with a view to calling for an immediate halt to the attack, the withdrawal of hostile forces from all Iraq’s territory, and respect for its territorial integrity.”

*************************************

[Security Council resolutions]

[Oil-for-Food]

 

UNIFIED SECURITY COUNCIL VOTED ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN IRAQ

United Nations, New York, March 28, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war is not yet over, but the future of a post-war Iraq is being discussed at the U.N. by the big powers. Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , and even Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq 's Ambassador to the United Nations, were guests of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in order to make sure that things will go smoothly.

Early Friday afternoon, Louise Frechette, Vice Secretary-General; Carol Bellamy, Director of UNICEF; Kenzo Oshima, Coordinator of Emergency Aid of the U.N., along with a representative of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) made an emergency appeal for millions of dollars for humanitarian aid for
Iraq .

Since 1976, UNDP has managed development projects throughout
Iraq . More than US$4 billion in Iraqi petroleum revenue was invested in U.N.-administered development projects in northern Iraq . The UNDP role in a post-war Iraq , said the representative, will be focusing on humanitarian aid.

UNICEF, according to Carol Bellamy, is seeking US $160 million to help Iraqi children.

The appeal for support came at a time when this organization is attempting to set up a tanker truck operation to bring clean water to towns in southern
Iraq , where more than one million people are thought to be without safe water.

Gunter Pleuger, Ambassador of Germany to the U.N., met with the press after introducing a draft resolution in the Security Council to reinstate the "oil-for-food" program, which was discontinued when the Secretary-General removed U.N. personnel just before the outbreak of war. Although this resolution has been adopted unanimously, there were feelings expressed in the discussion before the vote that it might be interpreted as legitimizing the invasion of
Iraq . However, after the vote, each delegation expressed relief that the U.N. will be playing a part in a post-war scenario.


# # #


IRAQ UNDER U.N. "PROTECTORATE"?

United Nations, New York, March 28, 2003 (CNS NEWS) 
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war is not yet over, but the future of a post-war Iraq is being discussed at the U.N. by the big powers.  Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and even Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, were guests of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in order to make sure that things will go smoothly.

Gunter Pleuger, Ambassador of Germany to the U.N., introduced a draft resolution to reinstate the "oil-for-food" program, which was discontinued by the war.  The draft may be voted on by consensus, although France and Russia are reluctant, stating that such a resolution may be regarded as legitimizing the invasion.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, may be transferred to the position of "Governor of Iraq," considered a dream job in that region.

In the meantime, the war continues, Baghdad has not yet been captured, and the government of Saddam Hussein is still in power.  There is a French proverb: Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tue.  (Don't sell the skin of the bear before killing him.)

# # # 



TONY BLAIR at the U.N.

United Nations, New York, March 27, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is scheduled to meet Thursday with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan at United Nations headquarters to define the role of the organization in a post-war Iraq.

The United States and the United Kingdom are giving priority to humanitarian questions, while the Non-Aligned countries and the Arab League are asking the Security Council to halt the invasion.

A memorandum on the humanitarian question, prepared by the Secretariat, is being circulated, but the mood at the U.N. is toward condemnation of the U.S. and the U.K. If such a resolution should be introduced in the Security Council, however, the United States will most certainly use its veto power. The last resort would be to bring the matter before the General Assembly, where the U.S. has no veto power. The Non-Aligned group is considering such a move as the next step, even if the regime in Iraq falls in the interim.

 

 

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON IRAQ

United Nations, New York (CNS NEWS), March 26, 2003
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

On Wednesday, for the first time since the outbreak of hostilities between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Iraq, the U.N. Security Council met--at the request of the Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the 15 regular members of the Security Council, more than 50 non-members requested authorization to participate in the debate.

Although the original idea was to discuss humanitarian assistance to a post-war Iraq, based on suggestions from the Secretary-General, it appeared that the Arab League and the Non-Aligned countries were more interested in stopping the conflict and condemning the aggressors, referring to the United States, the United Kingdom, and their allies.

The Council president, Ambassador Mamady Traore of Guinea, requested that intervenants give a five-minute summary of their written speeches but noted that the entire texts would be entered on the record.

The Secretary-General was the first speaker and began by saying: "…during that week we have all been watching hour by hour, on our television screens, the terrifying impact of modern weaponry on Iraq and its people."

He continued by saying: "Many people around the world are seriously questioning whether it was legitimate for some member states to proceed to such a fateful action now—an action that has far-reaching consequences well beyond the immediate military dimensions—without first reaching a decision of this Council."

The Secretary-General went on to ask all belligerents to respect their obligations and to abide by the Geneva Convention. "I will recall in particular the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention under which those in effective control of any territory are responsible for meeting the humanitarian needs of its population, and are required to maintain dialogue and cooperation with international organizations engaged in humanitarian relief," he said. "No one on either side must obstruct that relief."

Speaker after speaker--from Malaysia, Algeria, Cuba, South Africa, Libya, Egypt, and other countries--denounced the invasion of Iraqi territory as a violation of the U.N. Charter. For a moment, the action on Iraq returned as a matter before the Security Council, which had not been able to prevent the invasion of Iraq.

 

 

Condoleezza Rice at the U.N.

United Nations, New York, March 25, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Very early Tuesday morning, Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, paid a call at U.N. Headquarters to Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss humanitarian assistance to "post war" Iraq.  

Later on, in his regular briefing, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer indicated that human rights was one of the issues discussed, as well as the role of the U.N. in the aftermath of the conflict.

Earlier, in Geneva, UNICEF had expressed renewed concern for children caught up in the war in Iraq and had urged the parties to the conflict to ensure that civilians are being protected adequately both from the battles and from the serious health risks brought about by damage to basic services. Carol Bellamy, Director of UNICEF, had urged the parties to abide by their humanitarian obligations under international law. Early today, Iraq’s Minister of Information had echoed in Baghdad the urgency of this humanitarian emergency.

More than 200 UNICEF staff members are still working inside Iraq.

There was no indication whether Dr. Rice and Kofi Annan discussed the criticism of the Secretary-General by the Iraqi authorities over the last few days.  

The impromptu visit Tuesday from a permanent member of the Security Council certainly helped morale at the United Nations. In the U.N. corridors, however, although the loud speaker announces from time to time that the Security Council is in consultation, diplomats, staff members, and the NGOs are busy watching live reports on the television screens.


KOFI ANNAN’S 
CREDIBILITY QUESTIONED


United Nations, New York, March 24, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Upon his arrival at U.N. Headquarters Monday morning, Secretary-General Kofi Annan encountered journalists asking intensive questions regarding statements made by Iraq’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri last Friday and the Vice President of Iraq, Taha Yasin Ramadan, accusing him of being a colonialist high commissioner.

The Secretary-General responded by saying: "I think I can understand the anger, the frustration, the exasperation of Mr. Ramadan, and maybe other Iraqis. Their country is at war, and these sentiments and anger are something that is understandable…The U.N. or I have no interest in becoming a high commissioner. And it is ironic that as a former colonial subject I’d be accused of being a colonialist."

As for the alleged violation of international law in his proposals for the oil-for-food program and his action of pulling workers out of Iraq, he answered: "…it has to be clear that the U.N. workers were the last to leave. Quite a lot of governments had pulled out their diplomatic staff before we did because of the impending war.... And we normally do remove our staff out of harm’s way."

He continued: "60% of [the Iraqis] have been dependent on the oil-for-food scheme…the Council and myself are determined to do whatever we can to keep that pipeline open.

Later on, at a press briefing, the Secretary-General’s spokesman, Fred Eckhard, was asked, once again, about Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which gives the Secretary-General the authority to draw to the attention of the Security Council matters breaching peace and security. The answer was that since the Security Council was already seized if the matter, the Secretary-General did not feel it necessary to send a letter.

A journalist made a comparison between a strong statement made by the Secretary-General regarding a massacre in Kashmir over the weekend and a complete silence about the situation in Iraq. The Spokesman indicated that the Secretary-General has made his voice heard.

Since the United States had indicated that it was making pressure to remove Iraqi diplomats worldwide, a question was asked about the Iraqi Ambassador at the U.N. The answer was that, as of Friday, there had been no communication about any such request.

After the press briefing, a spokesperson for the Secretary-General confirmed that the Swiss authorities are the depository of the Geneva Convention, which has been a subject of controversy regarding the presentation of American POWs by Iraqi television.

This was one of the few times that a press briefing has come so close to questioning Kofi Annan’s credibility.

 

IRAQ'S DELEGATE ACCUSES KOFI ANNAN OF BIAS, WORKING WITH THE BRITISH AND THE AMERICANS AGAINST HIS COUNTRY

United Nations, New York, March 21, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu and Sondra Singer Beaulieu

Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed A. Aldouri, read a statement to the press at 5:40 P.M. Friday evening, accusing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of collusion with the U.S. and Britain in order to eliminate Iraq as a sovereign nation.

Ambassador Aldouri said that Article 99 of the U.N. Charter makes it imperative for the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Security Council matters threatening the maintenance of international peace and security. This letter was never sent, he said, although the Secretary-General was quick to introduce a draft resolution regarding humanitarian issues, in conjunction with the United States and its allies, in essence removing the State of Iraq from existence. 

He further accused the Secretary-General of quickly removing the peacekeepers on the Iraq-Kuwaiti border, eliminating the buffer, enabling the United States and its allies to invade Iraq.

Ambassador Aldouri went further and referred to Article 100 of the Charter, Paragraph 1, which states that in the performance of their duties, the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only the Organization.

This statement came at a time that reports indicate that the Iraqi leadership is in complete confusion. 

A spokesman for the Secretary-General informed correspondents that Kofi Annan will give his response on Saturday.

Most of the members of the press were already gone from the U.N. building, where the action on Friday seemed to consist of everyone watching the events in Iraq on television.

 

HEADS OR TAILS FOR THE SECURITY COUNCIL?
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , May 19, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

The war in Iraq may be over, but the Security Council’s troubles have only begun.  Late Monday, a final draft resolution, sponsored by Spain , the United Kingdom , and the United States , was introduced before the other 12 members. The resolution reiterated the determination of the coalition that won the war to remain the “Authority” in Iraq .  

The resolution opened a crack by stipulating that other states in the future may work under the Authority. It still keeps Iraq under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter by calling on member states to deny, among other points, safe haven to those members of the previous Iraqi regime who are allegedly responsible for crimes and atrocities and to support action to bring them to justice.  

As far as the United Nations is concerned, it called for the appointment of a special representative for Iraq whose independent responsibilities shall involve reporting regularly to the Council on his activities under this resolution, coordinating activities of the United Nations in post-conflict processes in Iraq, coordinating among U.N. and international agencies engaged in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction activities in Iraq, and, in coordination with the Authority, assisting the people of Iraq.  The resolution described from points (a) to (i) all the attributions of this special representative.  

The resolution calls for one billion dollars from the oil for food program to be transferred as soon as possible to a newly created development fund, which will enjoy all privileges and immunities equivalent to those enjoyed by the United Nations, except that the privileges will not apply to any legal proceedings in which recourse to such proceeds or obligations is necessary to satisfy liability for damage assessed in connection with an ecological accident, including an oil spill that occurs after the date of the adoption of the resolution.  

Paragraph 18 “decides to terminate effective on the adoption of this resolution the functions related to the observation and monitoring activities undertaken by the Secretary-General under the programme, including the monitoring of the export of petroleum and petroleum products from Iraq .”  

Five percent of the oil proceeds, which previously was kept by the Secretariat, will now be transferred to the compensation fund.  

The Iraqi debts have been left in the hands of financial institutions, including those of the Paris Club, to seek a solution.   

Paragraph 24 requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council at regular intervals on the work of the special representative while, at the same time, invites the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America periodically to inform the Council of their efforts under this resolution.  

One can see the hand of experienced diplomatic experts in the writing of this resolution.  

After the Security Council consultation Monday afternoon, while the United States and the United Kingdom were responding to questions at the stakeout, France , Russia , and Germany did not follow their custom to appear.  

Nevertheless, the British ambassador described the atmosphere in the Council as cordial, while the U.S. ambassador stated clearly that he expected a vote by Wednesday. Is it now heads or tails for the Security Council? 


 

U.N. – THE RETURN OF THE “TRUSTEESHIP SYSTEM”
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

United Nations, New York , May 11, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

During the last 58 years, the United Nations trusteeship system has been very successful in providing this organization with more than three-quarters of its membership by granting full independence to countries previously under colonial rule.   The Trusteeship Council, one of the organs of the United Nations, is considered dormant now, since only a few little islands in the Pacific and the Caribbean are labeled not self-governing.  

The U.N. Charter makes it clear in Article 78 that the trusteeship system should not apply to territories that had become members of the United Nations, relationship among which should be based on respect of the principle of sovereign equality.  That was one of the reasons behind the hesitation by the Security Council to authorize the use of force against Iraq .  

Talking triumphantly to his troops aboard a U.S. carrier, the President of the United States said that “the invasion is over and the repugnant regime of Saddam Hussein is no more.”  He stopped short, however, of saying that this was the cessation of hostilities, which would have implied the intervention of the Geneva Agreement, which calls for a return of prisoners of war and also the cessation of hostility against the vanquished authorities.  

In his mind, the “deck of cards” listing the names of fugitives is still operative.  One of the world’s most wanted, Saddam Hussein, is still at large.  In the meantime, Iraq remains without a functioning government and the United Nations without a role.  This cannot continue, since Iraqi oil represents billions of dollars as an operative business.  But how can the situation be legitimized?  

Last week, the Secretary-General of the United Nations convened the members of the Security Council to his office in order to find a solution. The next day, the United States and Britain , the “occupying powers,” distributed a Project of Resolution legalizing their own rule over Iraqi territory and resources, reserving to the U.N. an obscure and indefinite role.  

By the end of the weekend, nobody knew who had conceived the idea to take the Security Council on retreat to further discuss the resolution.   The Security Council can do almost anything except violate the Charter, which perhaps some members are not inclined to do openly.  France , which had been the most vocal during the pre-invasion, has become very conciliatory.  At a stakeout, one was waiting for the French expression: “Nous sommes fouttus.”  

Russia , which still remains an ally of France , is apparently negotiating to see that the Iraqi debt to Russia , which is said to be in the billions of dollars, will be honored by whoever takes charge.  

Germany seems to be using the same approach.  

In the meantime, the Bush Administration is making sure that the war that was fought and won by the coalition gives to the winners the power to make all final decisions.  It is not only Iraq that is under trusteeship, but the U.N. itself.

 



JOHN M. GABOR -- NEW U.N. CHEF
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief
United Nations, New York, May 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

While Director General Mohamed El Baradei of IAEA was voicing concern over reports that there had been looting at Iraqi nuclear facilities and asking the United States to confirm the situation, here at United Nations headquarters a change of guard in the restaurant facilities was taking place.

Stories of looting in the main cafeteria and the Delegates Dining Room were denied by the U.N. spokesman at the regular noon briefing, and John M. Gabor, the new executive chef, was at his post early Monday morning to greet his new customers.

Restaurant Associates has been replaced as the catering service by a new company called Aramark. The chef’s table for today was sirloin au poivre with garlic mashed wilted spinach, chuspech onions, and port wine glaze.

Executive Chef Gabor, a 30-year experienced chef with the American Culinary Federation, has received a gold medal for culinary excellence from the American Culinary Institute. He has appeared on the Today Show and Good Morning America and has been featured in the Natural Culinary Review as well as in other media.

Although the menu did not seem to differ from the previous caterer, the presentation appeared more appealing. "The steak au poivre was excellent," said an ambassador, thanking Chef Gabor, who appeared at first to be a little shy, not knowing how to address such dignitaries, although most of the diners today were U.N. staff.

Fresh ground sirloin burgers were served as well as country style southern fried chicken. A sushi station has been added, and flavors of Asia, Latin America, and Northern Africa will be forthcoming. "This is a complete food destination where choices are limitless and change will occur frequently," said Chef Gabor with a smile.

An associate said, "Have you got a sweet tooth? We’ve got mouth watering delectable desserts—chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, freshly baked cookies warm from the oven—everything but sugar plums."

There was a rush to see the delicacies that the new concessionaire Aramark offered. And the prices were good: $8.95 for the steak au poivre and a glass of wine.

There is anticipation that the new U.N. chef will keep his clientele happy. So far so good.

 

 

 



FALL OF THE UNITED NATIONS...
PRECIPITOUS JUDGMENT

United Nations, New York, April 25, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war with Iraq created an uneasy feeling about the United Nations, and people are questioning the organization’s relevance. The U.S. media continues to present a darker side of this institution, and U.S. President Bush, himself, appears to have relegated the world body to the sidelines, although from time to time the expression "the U.N. has to play a role" is voiced.

Now that the war is over and has become a fait accompli, the U.N. Security Council is still trying to define its role in a post-Iraq-war situation that it did not authorize. The tendency seems more toward accommodation with the "occupying power" than exercising that body’s authority to question.

When the United Nations was created after World War II, it was a reaffirmation of the vanquishers to prevent another war by keeping the leadership of world affairs. The United States, Russia, England, and China took permanent seats and the right of veto in the Security Council, comprised of eleven members at that time. France, although in a difficult position after the war, was invited to join in with the privilege of veto, giving five countries dominance over world affairs. Without the veto power, there is doubt that the United Nations would have been created.

As soon as the affairs of the organization were set into motion, a Cold War erupted, dividing the world into East and West. The question of Berlin, the long march of Mao Tse-tung expelling the troops of Chiang Kai-shek to Taiwan, the Korean Conflict all precipitated events, sometimes putting the organization on the verge of irrelevance. But the veto power at the U.N. always permitted the Big Five to save face.

Although China’s veto power was given to Taiwan for a long time, the affairs of the organization continued to be conducted as usual. In the process, the U.N. discovered a new mission: decolonization. Most of the African and Asian countries under colonial power gained their independence and became members of the U.N., boosting the General Assembly, where the Big Five had no veto power.

From decolonization, the U.N. went to technical assistance with the creation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and a multitude of other institutions—including specialized agencies—mushrooming the organization to such an extent that the world government that had been projected seemed to have materialized.

The opening session of the General Assembly in New York was the biggest event each year on the calendar, but little by little the Big Five regained control by making the Security Council more powerful and the General Assembly unable to implement its own resolutions. Today, the opening of a General Assembly session is considered a fait divers.

After the dismantling of the Soviet empire, the United States emerged—among the Big Five—as the sole superpower. This situation has created such an imbalance that the U.S. President considered it unnecessary to have U.N. agreement in order to conduct war, disregarding, in fact, the veto power, which had been for a long time the balancing factor. By destroying the power of the right to veto, the U.S. government itself is putting the U.N. in a situation of irrelevance.

The danger is: Are they ready for that—since a multitude of conflicts around the world could emerge at any moment—the Korean situation, the conflict with Iran, the China/Taiwan dispute, India and Pakistan, the Palestine/Israel question. Will the United States be able to control all those situations without a United Nations? In fact, will the United States be able to control Iraq without the United Nations? The answer is: probably not. Therefore, the relevance of the United Nations as a world body is going to be reaffirmed at a time when a lot of people seem to think that the glass house on the East River could have a better use than harboring diplomats from all over the world.


A
LI  BABIN  IRAQ

United Nations, New York, April 14, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Watching the destruction of Iraq on my television screen, I could not resist returning in memory to the days of my youth when I listened, frightened, to the odyssey of The Arabian Nights—Le Voleur de Baghdad—Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Scherazade, the Caliph—que sais-je?

The history and artifacts of Mesopotamia, Babylon, and the Wonders of the World—along with centuries of civilization—are disappearing in flames, although an international organization called UNESCO supposedly was created to protect them. I have heard that libraries and museums have all gone up in smoke while we, "the civilized," almost rejoice as we listen to correspondents "embedded" with the occupying power pump us with a minute-by-minute injection of news.

The United Nations, which was created to prevent war, has become so impotent that the Secretary-General found it necessary to send his representative to Washington to discuss his post-Iraq-war role.

Here at U.N. headquarters in New York, diplomats, press, and employees are walking like corpses, not knowing what to do. 

In the meantime, our television screens keep delivering to us the faces of thousands of Ali Babas in the streets of Baghdad, Mozul, Tikrit, Balad, Bayji, and other towns destroying, in the name of the law of revenge, an ancient civilization, a part of us all, while the whereabouts of Saddam Hussein and his companions are still unknown.

 


IRAQ—"THE GAME IS OVER"

United Nations, New York, April 10, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

"The game is over, and now we want peace for the people of Iraq," said a nervous Iraqi U.N. Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri to a pack of reporters Wednesday in front of his mission on East 79th Street in New York City.

Asked if he had heard from Saddam, Aldouri answered, "I have no relationship with Saddam Hussein. I have no communication with Iraq. I am here, I know nothing about what’s going on there."

Early this week, some U.N. reporters were already concerned about Aldouri’s future as news of the war was going badly for his government.

Thursday morning, as he entered the U.N. building, Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was confronted with this question: "Mr. Secretary, why did you call in Iraqi Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, and what do you understand his status at the moment to be?"

The Secretary-General replied: "I don’t know what his status is, but I did talk to him on Monday. We reviewed the situation in Baghdad and what was happening. He did not have much information. I don’t where he is or what his status is at the moment, but, naturally, we did talk about what happens depending on the evolution of things on the ground."

The exchange continued as follows:

Q: "Did he ask at that point for asylum or discuss the question of asylum or potential need for protection in any way?

A.: "No, he did not ask for asylum or protection. He had indicated some time earlier that he and his staff sometime felt harassed and followed by local authorities and police—this was some time ago, and I think we had raised it with the authorities and that has stopped. When I saw him on Monday, he did not ask me for help with his status."

Regarding the situation in Iraq itself, Kofi Annan said: "Let me first say that from what we have seen in the reports, it appears there is no functioning government in Iraq at the moment. We also saw the scene of jubilation, but, of course, when you think of the casualties—both military and civilian—the Iraqis have paid a heavy price for this. We have also seen scenes of looting and, obviously, law and order must be a major concern.

Kofi Annan also reaffirmed that The Hague Regulation and the Geneva Convention apply to the Iraqi conflict and that the coalition has a responsibility for the welfare of the people of this area.

On Thursday afternoon Mohammed Aldouri met again with Secretary-General Kofi Annan but the Ambassador declined to comment as he left the building.

DAY 20 OF THE IRAQ WAR AT THE U.N.

United Nations, New York, April 8, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

As the war in Iraq enters its 20th day, with the capture of Baghdad by the coalition forces and the control of Basra after a 2-week siege by British forces, the role of the United Nations in a post-war Iraq is not clearly defined.

United Kingdom Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said at a Security Council stakeout Tuesday that he envisioned three-party control in post-war Iraq, with the coalition playing the main role, the Iraqi people and United Nations functioning at the humanitarian level. This concept leaves many at U.N. headquarters uneasy, seeing the organization minimized to an administrative level. It appears to be punishment of the Security Council for not authorizing the use of force.

The Arab Group, which has been mandated to call an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the Iraqi question, seems hesitant, although at the U.N. briefing Tuesday reference was made to a letter addressed by this group to the president of the General Assembly. The Security Council president’s spokesman, however, did not acknowledge this letter.

Late Tuesday afternoon a communiqué was issued by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koї hiro Matsuura, deploring the heavy toll paid by the press in Iraq and reminding the belligerents of their obligations to treat journalists as civilians. He recalled Article 79 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Convention, which states that "journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict should be considered as civilians...On no account must journalists be targeted."

Three journalists were killed in Baghdad today, and another, a Kurd journalist, was killed in northern Iraq. The three in Baghdad were: Reuters news agency cameraman Taras Protsyuk, Spanish television channel Tele 5 cameraman Jose Couso, and Al-Jazeera correspondent Tarek Ayoub.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was scheduled to leave for Europe Wednesday to attend the European conference in Athens on April 17, has said that he has decided not to travel tomorrow as had been previously announced. 

 

Post-Conflict Iraq—U.N. Role

United Nations, New York, April 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Early Monday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan took it upon himself to call a meeting with the Security Council to discuss post-conflict Iraq and the U.N. role. When asked to explain, he said: "I wanted to discuss with them the developments on the ground and also to discuss the post-conflict situation in Iraq, regardless of how the war ends. And, of course, we will have to see what the post-conflict environment will be. But the Council has been discussing informally, and I have had Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed working as my advisor on this issue of post-conflict Iraq, doing some thinking about it, and he will be available to talk to the Council members as well."

Mr. Ahmed, a national of Pakistan, has been part of the U.N. system and has held the positions of assistant secretary-general, under-secretary general, and chef de cabinet of Kofi Annan.

Asked to explain Ahmed’s role, the Secretary-General’s response was "his role will be—actually, he has been doing it already, thinking about the future, thinking about what is likely to happen and what the likely U.N. role will be, and also to be available to the Council members and all the members involved to exchange ideas and then give me some advice."

Last week, the Secretary-General spent a great deal of time meeting with all the regional groups. When asked how his idea of post-conflict Iraq differed or contrasted or was similar to what the United States Administration plans, his response was; "…obviously there are discussions going on, both in Washington and among member states and, as you can see, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair will be talking again this week. And, there has been a series of discussions where the European Union had come up firmly on the side of greater U.N. involvement. I do expect the U.N. to play an important role, and the U.N. has had good experience in this area of political facilitation leading to the emergence of a new or interim administration. We have done quite a bit of work on reconstruction, working with donor countries and with other U.N. agencies. You have seen the work the U.N. has done in human rights and the area of rule of law, so there are a lot of areas where the U.N. can play a role but, above all, U.N. involvement does bring legitimacy, which is necessary for the country, for the region, and for the people around the world."

Monday afternoon, Kofi Annan’s Spokesman issued the following statement: "The Secretary-General today met with the members of the Security Council to inform them that he had formalized the role of Mr. Rafeeuddin Ahmed by appointing him as his Special Adviser. As he has done over the past two months, Mr. Ahmed will continue to consider possible United Nations roles in post-war Iraq and their legal, political, operational and resource implications.

"The Secretary-General and the members of the Council agreed that any role beyond the coordination of humanitarian activities in Iraq, and other activities mandated by existing resolutions, would first require a new mandate from the Security Council.

"The members of the Security Council welcomed Mr. Ahmed’s appointment and expressed satisfaction at the start of a dialogue with the Secretary-General on a subject which would acquire added urgency in the weeks to come."


AT THE U.N.--DAY 16 OF THE IRAQ WAR  

United Nations, New York , April 4, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief

I
t is business as usual at U.N. headquarters in New York on Day Sixteen of the coalition war against Iraq .  Very few diplomats in their limousines are entering the main gate that leads to the courtyard, where they usually park.  Staff members, journalists, NGOs are, however, in their posts, ready to show their ID passes to security officers located from the street entrance to various checkpoints inside.  

At the 45rd Street entrance, visitors in small numbers gather to buy tickets for the regular U.N. tour.  More than ten food stands are serving meals daily, including a main cafeteria, a Delegates’ Dining Room, and a staff café.  From $2.50 to $15.00-- the cheapest and the best in New York--one can choose how you eat gourmet food.  On today’s menu is cheese ravioli for $2.95, chicken Florentine $3.25, baked tilapia $4.80 lamb gyro $6.50, coconut glazed salmon $5.00.  Of course, hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs, a salad bar, and a variety of beverages, including freshly made espresso and cappuccino, are available for a small price.  

In the corridors, TV monitors fixed on CNN were blasting their coverage on the Iraq war, announcing the capture of Saddam’s airport and projecting the end of Saddam Hussein.   Suddenly, someone loudly said: “Al Jazzera, (the Arab TV network) is showing Saddam Hussein in person being cheered in the streets of Baghdad right now.”  Somebody climbed on a chair and switched the channel from CNN national to CNN international and there he was—a smiling, candid Saddam Hussein, against all odds, in the middle of his people, doing his thing.  Automatically, the question that has been persistent over the last few days was asked: “Is it really Saddam Hussein?”  If it is, that is a big public relations coup for his government.  

A few minutes earlier, at a U.N. press briefing, a question was asked if the occupying power forms a government who would be the accepted representative at the U.N., since the United States would normally declare the present ambassador persona non grata.  The spokesman answered that it would be a question for the credential committee to decide.  

At an Arab League conference held recently at the level of foreign ministers, a mandate was given to the group to call for a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss the situation in Iraq if the Security Council fails to take a decision.  But so far it seems to be just in the discussion stage.  

Whether the government of Saddam Hussein survives the weekend or not, we can soon anticipate seeing diplomats’ limousines filling to capacity the courtyard of the U.N. for an extraordinary session of the General Assembly.   In the meantime, Day 16 is a quiet one at U.N. headquarters, and staff members are anxious to leave for their weekend retreats.  

At the telex booth in the press section, the operator of world.com, Juan Soto, said: “Our telex service with Iraq was cut off a week ago, and no one has been here to send messages there.”  

 

Return of the Cold War

United Nations, New York, April 3, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

As American and British coalition forces advance toward Baghdad, Cold War vestiges of the 1950s are reappearing at the United Nations. After the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991, relations between East and West improved to such an extent that Russia, under Putin, offered the U.S. help to combat terrorism after the 9/11 tragedy. Nuclear weapons were reduced, and an alliance to work toward common security goals was established. But, as the war against Saddam Hussein intensifies, relations appear to be deteriorating, not only with Russia but also with Germany and France.

At the U.N. Security Council, France threatened to use its veto power on a draft resolution calling for the use of force against Iraq. Germany stated openly that it would vote against the resolution, and Russia joined the other two.

The coalition forces, nevertheless, without authorization from the Security Council, moved against Iraq. The war is now described as being in its final stages: the capture of Baghdad and the dismantlement of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Then what?

Resolution 1472 on humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq was voted unanimously on March 28 by the Security Council, but not without mentioning the provisions of Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (August 12, 1949), regarding responsibilities of an occupying power in ensuring food and medical supplies to the civilian population, in particular, bringing in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles, if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate. 

On April 1, a statement from the Foreign Minister of Russia was circulated at the U.N., in which he reiterated this point and went further to say that Resolution 1472 did not contest the sovereignty of Iraq or its right to determine its own political future and control its own natural resources.

A statement of this nature in the Cold War era would have been the subject of great concern. But, as the only superpower in today’s world, the United States is likely to just take note of it. In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell made a trip this week to Brussels and Turkey in an attempt to realign former allies by offering to share in the administration of post-war Iraq with the U.N. He indicated, however, that the final voice will rest with the coalition forces who went along and suffered casualties and financial hardship to oust the Saddam Hussein regime.

The Oil-for-Food program, which has more than $2.9 billion in escrow, is busy signing 450 contracts, according to one of their press releases, without specifying with whom.

 

 

KOFI ANNAN V/S IRAQ

United Nations, New York, April 1, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

A Security Council resolution adopted unanimously on March 28, giving the Secretary-General broad power to amend the oil-for-food program, is being questioned by the Iraqi government.

In a letter dated March 31, and circulated Tuesday at the UN, Iraq's Foreign Minister Naji Sabri said, "Any discussion of an amendment to the memorandum of understanding and the oil-for-food programme without Iraq’s participation is a blatant violation of Security Council resolution 986 (1995) and brooks no justification whatsoever. The programme was operating with full cooperation between the Government of Iraq and the Secretariat of the United Nations until the Secretariat decided on 17 March 2003 to withdraw the programme’s staff from Iraq on the grounds of fears for the safety of international staff arising from an American-British attack on that country. There is no legal or moral basis for such a pretext."

Kofi Annan presented, also on Tuesday, his 6-page report to the Council on the Iraq/Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM), describing the different phases leading to the withdrawal, on March 17, 2003, of the 1,332 staff members of the mission, while keeping in Kuwait City 12 military officers and 20 essential civilian staff.

In his report, Annan remarked: 

1)"While it is clear that UNIKOM is presently unable to fulfill its mandate as a result of the situation on the ground, its personnel have only been dispersed temporarily, and the timing of their return to their assignment will be decided in consultation with the Council."

2) "Owing to the outbreak of conflict on March 20, 2003, it became necessary to withdraw the majority of UNIKOM personnel, who have returned to their countries of origin or to previous assignments."

A press release dated April 1, 2003, from the Office of the Iraq Programme Oil-for-Food, asks global suppliers to speed humanitarian deliveries for Iraq.  It says: "The adoption of Security Council Resolution 1472 (2003) on 28 March gave authority to the Secretary-General for 45 days to facilitate the delivery and receipt of goods contracted by the Government of Iraq through the Oil-for-Food Programme, which has $10.1 billion worth of goods and supplies in its pipeline. These include food items worth $2.4 billion, water supply and sanitation equipment ($506 million) and health supplies ($374 million). There are $5.8 billion in processed contracts that are unfunded. The Programme has $2.9 billion in uncommitted funds in escrow."

In Bagdad, Iraq’s Information Minister Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf rejected the Council’s resolution that renewed the 7-year old oil-for-food program.

 


 

SECRETARY-GENERAL KOFI ANNAN MEETS WITH U.N. ARAB GROUP  

United Nations, New York , March 31, 2003
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan met early Monday morning with the regional group of Arab states in order to discuss the situation in Iraq and assess his own credibility with this group. The meeting took place in the basement of the United Nations building, and no word yet has filtered out about the details.  

Last week, a conflict developed when, at a press stakeout, Iraq ’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, accused the Secretary-General of being biased by removing the U.N. peacekeepers on the Iraq/Kuwait border in order to permit the American invasion of Iraq .  Iraq ’s Vice President went further by accusing Kofi Annan of playing the role of a “high commissioner.”  

At an open meeting of the Security Council, Aldouri renewed his attack on the Secretary-General, and most of the Arab delegations appeared to concur with his view.  That did not prevent the Security Council from pushing aside the idea of condemning the United States for the attack and giving broad authority to the Secretary-General to deal with the humanitarian aspects of the Iraqi question, under Resolution S/2003/381.  

Meanwhile, in Baghdad, the Iraqi authorities rejected the resolution, making it difficult—if not impossible—for the Secretary-General to accomplish his mandate.   

In capital city Amman, Jordan, the U.N. has upgraded its presence in order to prepare full-scale humanitarian assistance for Iraq.  

Early Monday, a letter dated March 26, signed by Iraq’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri, was circulated as a document of the General Assembly, reference number A/57/766.  In this document, the Ambassador recalled a resolution adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its meeting held at the level of ministers for foreign affairs, during its 119th regular session on March 22-25, entitled “The American/British Aggression against Fraternal Iraq and its Implications for the Security and Safety of Neighboring Arab States and Arab National Security.”  

Paragraph 6 of this resolution reads as follows:  “To mandate the Arab Group, in the event that the Security Council does not meet or fails to adopt a decision required to halt the aggression and secure withdrawal, pursuant to the contents of the paragraph above, to call for an extraordinary meeting of the General Assembly to discuss the attack on Iraq with a view to calling for an immediate halt to the attack, the withdrawal of hostile forces from all Iraq’s territory, and respect for its territorial integrity.”

*************************************

[Security Council resolutions]

[Oil-for-Food]

 

UNIFIED SECURITY COUNCIL VOTED ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN IRAQ

United Nations, New York, March 28, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war is not yet over, but the future of a post-war Iraq is being discussed at the U.N. by the big powers. Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom , and even Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq 's Ambassador to the United Nations, were guests of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in order to make sure that things will go smoothly.

Early Friday afternoon, Louise Frechette, Vice Secretary-General; Carol Bellamy, Director of UNICEF; Kenzo Oshima, Coordinator of Emergency Aid of the U.N., along with a representative of the UNDP (United Nations Development Program) made an emergency appeal for millions of dollars for humanitarian aid for
Iraq .

Since 1976, UNDP has managed development projects throughout
Iraq . More than US$4 billion in Iraqi petroleum revenue was invested in U.N.-administered development projects in northern Iraq . The UNDP role in a post-war Iraq , said the representative, will be focusing on humanitarian aid.

UNICEF, according to Carol Bellamy, is seeking US $160 million to help Iraqi children.

The appeal for support came at a time when this organization is attempting to set up a tanker truck operation to bring clean water to towns in southern
Iraq , where more than one million people are thought to be without safe water.

Gunter Pleuger, Ambassador of Germany to the U.N., met with the press after introducing a draft resolution in the Security Council to reinstate the "oil-for-food" program, which was discontinued when the Secretary-General removed U.N. personnel just before the outbreak of war. Although this resolution has been adopted unanimously, there were feelings expressed in the discussion before the vote that it might be interpreted as legitimizing the invasion of
Iraq . However, after the vote, each delegation expressed relief that the U.N. will be playing a part in a post-war scenario.


# # #


IRAQ UNDER U.N. "PROTECTORATE"?

United Nations, New York, March 28, 2003 (CNS NEWS) 
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

The war is not yet over, but the future of a post-war Iraq is being discussed at the U.N. by the big powers.  Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and even Mohammed Aldouri, Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, were guests of Secretary-General Kofi Annan in order to make sure that things will go smoothly.

Gunter Pleuger, Ambassador of Germany to the U.N., introduced a draft resolution to reinstate the "oil-for-food" program, which was discontinued by the war.  The draft may be voted on by consensus, although France and Russia are reluctant, stating that such a resolution may be regarded as legitimizing the invasion.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan, may be transferred to the position of "Governor of Iraq," considered a dream job in that region.

In the meantime, the war continues, Baghdad has not yet been captured, and the government of Saddam Hussein is still in power.  There is a French proverb: Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tue.  (Don't sell the skin of the bear before killing him.)

# # # 



TONY BLAIR at the U.N.

United Nations, New York, March 27, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is scheduled to meet Thursday with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan at United Nations headquarters to define the role of the organization in a post-war Iraq.

The United States and the United Kingdom are giving priority to humanitarian questions, while the Non-Aligned countries and the Arab League are asking the Security Council to halt the invasion.

A memorandum on the humanitarian question, prepared by the Secretariat, is being circulated, but the mood at the U.N. is toward condemnation of the U.S. and the U.K. If such a resolution should be introduced in the Security Council, however, the United States will most certainly use its veto power. The last resort would be to bring the matter before the General Assembly, where the U.S. has no veto power. The Non-Aligned group is considering such a move as the next step, even if the regime in Iraq falls in the interim.

 

 

SECURITY COUNCIL MEETS ON IRAQ

United Nations, New York (CNS NEWS), March 26, 2003
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

On Wednesday, for the first time since the outbreak of hostilities between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Iraq, the U.N. Security Council met--at the request of the Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the 15 regular members of the Security Council, more than 50 non-members requested authorization to participate in the debate.

Although the original idea was to discuss humanitarian assistance to a post-war Iraq, based on suggestions from the Secretary-General, it appeared that the Arab League and the Non-Aligned countries were more interested in stopping the conflict and condemning the aggressors, referring to the United States, the United Kingdom, and their allies.

The Council president, Ambassador Mamady Traore of Guinea, requested that intervenants give a five-minute summary of their written speeches but noted that the entire texts would be entered on the record.

The Secretary-General was the first speaker and began by saying: "…during that week we have all been watching hour by hour, on our television screens, the terrifying impact of modern weaponry on Iraq and its people."

He continued by saying: "Many people around the world are seriously questioning whether it was legitimate for some member states to proceed to such a fateful action now—an action that has far-reaching consequences well beyond the immediate military dimensions—without first reaching a decision of this Council."

The Secretary-General went on to ask all belligerents to respect their obligations and to abide by the Geneva Convention. "I will recall in particular the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention under which those in effective control of any territory are responsible for meeting the humanitarian needs of its population, and are required to maintain dialogue and cooperation with international organizations engaged in humanitarian relief," he said. "No one on either side must obstruct that relief."

Speaker after speaker--from Malaysia, Algeria, Cuba, South Africa, Libya, Egypt, and other countries--denounced the invasion of Iraqi territory as a violation of the U.N. Charter. For a moment, the action on Iraq returned as a matter before the Security Council, which had not been able to prevent the invasion of Iraq.

 

 

Condoleezza Rice at the U.N.

United Nations, New York, March 25, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Very early Tuesday morning, Condoleezza Rice, Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Affairs, paid a call at U.N. Headquarters to Secretary-General Kofi Annan to discuss humanitarian assistance to "post war" Iraq.  

Later on, in his regular briefing, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer indicated that human rights was one of the issues discussed, as well as the role of the U.N. in the aftermath of the conflict.

Earlier, in Geneva, UNICEF had expressed renewed concern for children caught up in the war in Iraq and had urged the parties to the conflict to ensure that civilians are being protected adequately both from the battles and from the serious health risks brought about by damage to basic services. Carol Bellamy, Director of UNICEF, had urged the parties to abide by their humanitarian obligations under international law. Early today, Iraq’s Minister of Information had echoed in Baghdad the urgency of this humanitarian emergency.

More than 200 UNICEF staff members are still working inside Iraq.

There was no indication whether Dr. Rice and Kofi Annan discussed the criticism of the Secretary-General by the Iraqi authorities over the last few days.  

The impromptu visit Tuesday from a permanent member of the Security Council certainly helped morale at the United Nations. In the U.N. corridors, however, although the loud speaker announces from time to time that the Security Council is in consultation, diplomats, staff members, and the NGOs are busy watching live reports on the television screens.


KOFI ANNAN’S 
CREDIBILITY QUESTIONED


United Nations, New York, March 24, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

Upon his arrival at U.N. Headquarters Monday morning, Secretary-General Kofi Annan encountered journalists asking intensive questions regarding statements made by Iraq’s Ambassador Mohammed Aldouri last Friday and the Vice President of Iraq, Taha Yasin Ramadan, accusing him of being a colonialist high commissioner.

The Secretary-General responded by saying: "I think I can understand the anger, the frustration, the exasperation of Mr. Ramadan, and maybe other Iraqis. Their country is at war, and these sentiments and anger are something that is understandable…The U.N. or I have no interest in becoming a high commissioner. And it is ironic that as a former colonial subject I’d be accused of being a colonialist."

As for the alleged violation of international law in his proposals for the oil-for-food program and his action of pulling workers out of Iraq, he answered: "…it has to be clear that the U.N. workers were the last to leave. Quite a lot of governments had pulled out their diplomatic staff before we did because of the impending war.... And we normally do remove our staff out of harm’s way."

He continued: "60% of [the Iraqis] have been dependent on the oil-for-food scheme…the Council and myself are determined to do whatever we can to keep that pipeline open.

Later on, at a press briefing, the Secretary-General’s spokesman, Fred Eckhard, was asked, once again, about Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which gives the Secretary-General the authority to draw to the attention of the Security Council matters breaching peace and security. The answer was that since the Security Council was already seized if the matter, the Secretary-General did not feel it necessary to send a letter.

A journalist made a comparison between a strong statement made by the Secretary-General regarding a massacre in Kashmir over the weekend and a complete silence about the situation in Iraq. The Spokesman indicated that the Secretary-General has made his voice heard.

Since the United States had indicated that it was making pressure to remove Iraqi diplomats worldwide, a question was asked about the Iraqi Ambassador at the U.N. The answer was that, as of Friday, there had been no communication about any such request.

After the press briefing, a spokesperson for the Secretary-General confirmed that the Swiss authorities are the depository of the Geneva Convention, which has been a subject of controversy regarding the presentation of American POWs by Iraqi television.

This was one of the few times that a press briefing has come so close to questioning Kofi Annan’s credibility.

 

IRAQ'S DELEGATE ACCUSES KOFI ANNAN OF BIAS, WORKING WITH THE BRITISH AND THE AMERICANS AGAINST HIS COUNTRY

United Nations, New York, March 21, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu and Sondra Singer Beaulieu

Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed A. Aldouri, read a statement to the press at 5:40 P.M. Friday evening, accusing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of collusion with the U.S. and Britain in order to eliminate Iraq as a sovereign nation.

Ambassador Aldouri said that Article 99 of the U.N. Charter makes it imperative for the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Security Council matters threatening the maintenance of international peace and security. This letter was never sent, he said, although the Secretary-General was quick to introduce a draft resolution regarding humanitarian issues, in conjunction with the United States and its allies, in essence removing the State of Iraq from existence. 

He further accused the Secretary-General of quickly removing the peacekeepers on the Iraq-Kuwaiti border, eliminating the buffer, enabling the United States and its allies to invade Iraq.

Ambassador Aldouri went further and referred to Article 100 of the Charter, Paragraph 1, which states that in the performance of their duties, the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only the Organization.

This statement came at a time that reports indicate that the Iraqi leadership is in complete confusion. 

A spokesman for the Secretary-General informed correspondents that Kofi Annan will give his response on Saturday.

Most of the members of the press were already gone from the U.N. building, where the action on Friday seemed to consist of everyone watching the events in Iraq on television.

 

 


 

The following letter to the editor appeared on Sunday, June 2, 2002 in the New York DAILY NEWS:

Honor All Nations

Manhattan: I would like to suggest that a scu
lpture be commissioned and given to every country that lost nationals on 9/11. That would remind everyone that this was a tragedy that affected the entire world.

                                           Serge Beaulieu

L'après 11 septembre

 


 
"Sur la plage", l'oeuvre la plus célèbre du peintre vaudois Félix Vallotton.