Monday, March 23, 2009

Candidate for UN's #2 Afghan Post Dismissed Chapter VI of UN Charter, Ignored Arms Embargo, Kai Eide Won't Comment

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, March 19 -- The controversy surrounding the reported nomination of American diplomat Peter Galbraith to the UN's second-highest post in the UN Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, was directly raised to UNAMA chief Kai Eide on Thursday, without it being resolved. Eide insisted that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is still considering candidates for the post. But when Inner City Press asked if there are any candidates other than Galbraith, Eide said he would choose not to comment. Inner City Press asked for Eide's views on Galbraith's actions and statements with respect to UN sanctions while he was U.S. Ambassador to Croatia. Eide said he will leave that to the Secretary General.

   What the Secretariat should and now does know is that Galbraith is on record that it is not a violation to ignore UN Security Council resolutions which call upon" states to cooperate with Sanctions Committees, "including reporting any information brought to their attention concerning violations of the embargo," as long as such calls are under Chapter VI of the UN Charter. This evasive and legalistic approach to UN Security Council resolutions is hardly one to be expected from someone subsequently aspiring to become a high UN official.

     A problem with Galbraith re-becoming a U.S. official, sources say, is a series of allegations that he lobbied for the Kurdistan Regional Government without filing a registration.

Galbraith c/o 
Kurdistan Regional Government site

    UN Security Council sources asked Inner City Press about the UN-relevant aspects its March 18 report on Galbraith's past, to which this is added, from Questions for the Record Submitted to Ambassador Galbraith in the House International Relations Committee on May 30, 1996, at page 130 --

Question 6. Did the United States notify the U. N. Sanctions Committee of any Iranian arms transfers to Bosnia in violation of the international arms embargo? Was the United States required to provide notice of such transfers of which it was aware by U. N. Security Council Resolution 740 or by any other U. N. Security Council resolution?

Amb. Galbraith's Answer: The United States did not violate any obligations under this resolution. Resolution 740 contained a number of provisions, one of which "call(ed) upon" states to cooperate with the Yugoslavia Sanctions Committee, "including reporting any information brought to their attention concerning violations of the embargo." By this resolution, the Council did not impose a legally binding obligation on member states to submit particular information, as is evidenced by the lack of a reference in the resolution to Chapter VII of the UN Charter. (Here at Pg. 130).

  Eide on Thursday said it is up to Ban Ki-moon. So what is up with Ban Ki-moon?  Will he appoint UN officials, some of whom respect Security Council resolutions under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, and others of whom like Galbraith do not?

    Eide also said that "I believe that the use of between 500 million and 1 billion dollars are never reported to the Afghan government." Inner City Press asked him on what he based the statement. Eide replied it is an estimate based on which countries and entities do not report. Inner City Press asked Eide to name the entities and countries. I'll leave that for you to figure out, Eide replied. 

  Inner City Press asked Afghanistan's Ambassador to the UN Zahir Tanin which countries this referred to. "Kai Eide should tell you," Ambassador Tannin replied. But Eide did not say. Watch this site.

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