Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mogadishu in Manhattan Redux, The Return to Represent Somalia at UN of Idd Beddel Mohamed - from Canada?

By Matthew Russell Lee
Inner City Press
  
After more than a year's absence from the UN in New York, Somali diplomat Idd Beddel Mohamed has returned, following the appointment of a new foreign minister of the Transitional Federal Government.


Wednesday he stood in front of the UN Security Council waiting to attend a briefing for all UN member states on January's program of work of the Council -- but refused to answer Press questions such as, “Are you the Somali Permanent Representative now?”

There has been something of a coup in the Somali Mission to the UN. Before Idd Beddel Mohamed's return, sources in the Mission snarked that Idd Beddel Mohamed had been remiss in December 2009 when, after another change in the TFG, he was ordered back to Mogadishu.

The sources said Idd Beddel Mohamed refused to return to Somalia, but instead went to Canada. They told Inner City Press a variety of things, not yet published, about Idd Beddel Mohamed's time in Canada.

Then they said that the new foreign minister of the TFG had written directly to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon re-naming Idd Beddel Mohamed a representative, and saying that the long time Permanent Representative was being recalled to Somalia.

Inner City Press immediately asked Ban Ki-moon's Spokesperson's Office to confirm receipt of such a letter, on December 23. Having no answer, Inner City Press repeated the question several times between Christmas and New Years. Finally this answer arrived:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at] un.org

Subject: Answer

To: Inner City Press

We can confirm receipt of a 17 December letter from the Somali Foreign Minister recalling the Permanent Representative for consultations. The Permanent Representative himself sent the Secretary-General a 22 December letter confirming his recall.

Inner City Press prepared to write a follow up article, but wanted to speak to Idd Beddel Mohamed himself. But on January 5 in front of the first UN Security Council meeting of the year, Idd Beddel Mohamed refused to answer any Press questions.

Even as diplomats from two other African countries, to whom Idd Beddel Mohamed was speaking, stopped to great Inner City Press, Idd Beddel Mohamed scowled and looked away. Apparently he did not like the story about his time in Canada. We are always eager to hear, and publish, more. But it is clear that the chaos in Mogadishu is playing out in real time in Manhattan, and now without any explanations.


Also on Somalia, Inner City Press asked India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri, incoming chairman of the Somalia sanctions committee, to comment on the TFG's (and Puntland's) use of the private military contractor Saracen, which is affiliated with the brother of Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, main TFG supporter. He said he will study and comment on this shortly. Video here. Watch this site.


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