Monthly Archives: January 2009
In her first press availability Ambassador Susan Rice had this to say about Darfur.
Well, obviously we remain very deeply concerned about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. The priority at this point has to be effective protection for civilians. And in that regard, our effort and attention will be, and as we discussed this morning with the Secretary-General and colleagues, on effective efforts to support the full and complete deployment of UNAMID so that there is the capacity on the ground to begin to effect that civilian protection.
Obviously, we will continue to look at what is necessary to deal with any obstruction, continued violence or reprisals that may occur anyway or may emanate as a result of a potential indictment. And we want to be supportive of the Special Envoy’s efforts to negotiate a lasting peace and resolve the underlying political differences. [emphasis mine]
The previous administration had a disturbing tendency to make claims like this, but then follow up with a lackluster response. Then-Brookings Institution fellow Susan Rice described that policy as “bluster and retreat.”
I, for one, look forward to a new day in America’s approach to the Darfur crisis. I’m encouraged by the fact that Rice so clearly stated that the genocide was “ongoing” because this implies a sense of urgency on the part of the Obama administration to do something about it. So far, though, it’s hard to see how that urgency has been manifest. Within 48 hours the President appointed Richard Holbrooke as a special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan and George Mitchell to the Mid-east. Clearly, these are two top-tier America foreign policy priorities. But if the genocide is really “ongoing” as Ambassador Rice says it is, then it would have been nice to see a similarly high-level international troubleshooter assigned the Sudan portfolio.
Rice is officially, official. And in her first interview with reporters as UN Ambassador, she suggests that reviving the “P-5 plus one” diplomacy on Iran (short hand for the Security Council plus Germany) is a top priority.
Meanwhile, the official Chinese news service Xinhua seems to forget that civil rights icon and longtime Atlanta mayor Andrew Young served as President Carter’s UN Ambassador.
Susan Rice, the new U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, Monday presented her credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon here.
Rice is the first African American to assume the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations as the new U.S. administration and the United Nations both vowed to work closely with each other to address major global problems, such as the Middle East peace process and the climate change.
UPDATE: Read below the fold for a transcript of Amb. Rice’s first press availability at the UN.
I guess it’s video day here on UN Dispatch. Steve Clemons sends in an 11 minute video of his interview with former US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzhad. The video was cut right after Khalilzad’s talk at the New America Foundation two weeks ago. (You can read my take on that). Thanks to Steve for passing this along.
The ICC prosecutor made his opening statements today in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyalo, a Congolese militia leader accused of using child soldiers. Lubanga has the dubious honor of being the first-ever case tried before the International Criminal Court.
Over the course of the next year, the prosecution will call 30 witnesses–including former child soldiers–who will to testify to Lubanga’s guilt. The trial, though, almost never happened. There were significant prosecutorial missteps early on, including accusations that the prosecutor did not turn over potential exculpatory evidence as is required. The judges, though, decided to let the trial commence. A Bolivian, British and Costa Rican judge will preside over the hearing.
This video of highlights from today’s hearing–including an extended excerpt of the prosecutor’s opening statement–just landed in my inbox. Great to see that the ICC people are new media savvy.
This is what a modern day international war crimes tribunal looks like. Get used to it. The ICC’s work is just beginning.
Jane Holl Lute*, a retired U.S. army officer who has stewarded UN peacekeeping through one of its fastest periods of growth, will leave UN for the United States Department of Homeland Security. She will serve as the Deputy Secretary to Governor Janet Napolitano.
This is the UN’s loss. Lute is a brilliant logistician who managed the day-to-day operations of the second-largest deployed military force in the world. Since August, she has headed the new UN Office of Peace-building Support.
This is the UN’s loss. But in criticizing the pick, the Heritage Foundation’s James Carafano reveals that he knows precious little about Lute’s role at the UN.
Homeland Security expert thinks Lute is an odd pick. “She doesn’t have the right skill set,” said Carafano, a fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. “And she knows nothing about the issues.”
Carafano said the Homeland Security deputy secretary needs to be someone who knows how to manage massive bureaucracies like the department. “She’s going to have a really incredibly steep learning curve,” he said. [emphasis mine]
She just left a job managing a larger and more complex bureaucracy than DHS. So, while I lament the fact that the United Nations is losing such a talent, I’m confident that she will excel in her new post.
Here is an oldie but goodie of Jane Holl Lute from the UN Dispatch archives.
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.