Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ban's Office Admits UN Staffer Traveled to Bahrain, with Roed Larsen, Who Refuses to Comment, Calling It Personal Trip

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 6 -- With the ruling family of Bahrain now sentencing demonstrators to death, the UN in New York is engaged in double-talk at best about it engagement with the government.

On May 6, Inner City Press asked part time UN envoy Terje Roed-Larsen if he took a UN staff person with him on his trip in April to Bahrain. “I do not wish to comment on that,” Roed-Larsen said.

Moments later Inner City Press ask UN acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq to confirm or deny that UN staff member Fabrice Aidan accompanied Roed-Larsen on a trip that Haq on April 18 said was not “in any UN capacity.”

Inner City Press had asked this same question on April 29, in connection with publishing a piece about Roed-Larsen “non-UN UN” trip to Bahrain, from which as Inner City Press exclusively reported a previously proposed UN envoy Oscar Fernandez Taranco was blocked, by a call from Saudi Arabia to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

just a yes or no — whether in fact a staff, a UN staffer that works with Mr. Roed-Larsen on resolution 1559 (2004) accompanied him, and if so, if he used a laissez passer and if in fact it was characterized in Bahrain as a UN trip?”

On April 29, Haq's boss Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press, “I do not know the answer to that. So if I have any answer, I’d be happy to give it to you, okay?”

Despite this statement that Inner City Press would be given any answer to this simple question, nothing was provided until on May 6 Haq when questioned again said that yes, Fabrice Aidan did travel to Bahrain.

Inner City Press asked, to make sure, that it was at the same time as Larsen. Yes. How then was this not a UN trip? In fact, it was characterized that way, at a time when it benefits the Bahrain royal family to claim to be on the inside with UN officials.

When Haq was asked by Inner City Press if the UN Secretariat had told Roed-Larsen to make sure this was not construed as a UN trip, Haq would not comment.

This UN allows Roed-Larsen to work part time for the UN, on Resolution 1559, and part time (but for a high salary) as the head of the International Peace Institute.

Well placed sources, of the facts of Fabrice Aidan's travel belated confirmed by the UN, say that Larsen goes to places like Bahrain and allowed the ruling families to portray this as UN support, and received support to IPI, which raises his salary.

We'd like a response to this, but Roed-Larsen “wouldn't like to comment on that.” Watch this site.

On Syria, Larsen told the Press that two countries disagreed whether it is a threat to international peace and security. When this was conveyed to Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari, Ja'afari said “you know we don't trust him.” Syria is not the only one.