By Sam B.,
The UN Secretary General recently appointed a new “finance expert” to replace the previous one, Dinesh Mahtani.
Mahtani resigned in disgrace from the UN’s Somalia Eritrea Monitoring Group (SEMG), after it was revealed, by the investigative journalism of Inner City Press, that Mahtani was advocating for regime change in Eritrea in his capacity as the member of SEMG.
It should be recalled that in mid 2012, Matt Bryden, another avowed anti Eritrea member and Coordinator of the SEMG, was also replaced in disgrace, for the shoddiness and partiality of his work, as well.
Given the controversial nature and history of the SEMG and the US’s role in advancing these blatantly anti-Eritrean sanctions, one would assume that going forward the Security Council (the Monitoring Group) and the UN Secretary General would be keen to avoid even the appearance of impartiality.
Alas, it appears even the fig leaf of impartiality is now totally abandoned. Ban Ki-moon just appointed yet again the American, one Nicholas Argeros, from the United States of America, as the “finance expert”. Ban Ki-moon has also “designated Mr. Trajber to serve as Coordinator of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group. The three remaining experts (regional affairs, armed groups and arms) of the Monitoring Group will be nominated shortly“, Ban Ki-moon said.
It should be noted that Jarat Chopra was the previous Coordinator of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, Nicholas Argeros was also a member as a Finance expert and Zeina Awad a Transport expert (all signed the last 10 October 2014 report).
The level of movement in the personal is concerning. Many questions ought to be raised. Why are they back to the old lineup? Why is the Jarat Chopra, the previous Coordinator, replaced by Christophe Trajber of France, who is also the maritime/transport expert? What happened to Joakim Gundel who came to replace the Danish arms expert, Cornelis Steenken? Why does this controversial group suffer so much attrition?
Still, the questions raised by the Inner City Press earlier this year ought to be reiterated:
What is the role of the people chosen and paid by the UN to monitor sanctions? In the case of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group there is a history of controversy, from former chair Matt Bryden to …“finance expert” Dinesh Mahtani.”
Indeed what is the role? Speculations are riffe the SEMG is nothing but an instrument at the service of the US foreign policy. Given the completely sloppy nature especially of the finance arm of this group.
However, as the former UN Secretary General, Boutrous Boutros-Ghali, informs, “a major problem at the UN was that the Department of Peacekeeping Operations was very infiltrated by the American authorities”. Boutros-Ghali further elaborated on “how the UN is infiltrated” and how this “impacts” the organization. He states:
“The US authorities have taken control of the UN system through financial administration and the appointment of officers and staff who are paid directly by the United States. The UN doesn’t have the means to appoint senior officers and specialist staff. When these people are selected and paid by a foreign government, they are obviously more loyal to that government than to the UN. As a result, reports presented to the Secretary General and to the Security Council are purged and modified.”
The entirety of Ban Ki-moon’s letter to the Security Council announcing the new appointment is appended below.
Letter dated 26 November 2014 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the Security Council
I have the honour to refer to Security Council resolution 2182 (2014), adopted on 24 October 2014, by which the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group for a period of 13 months.
Accordingly, I wish to inform you that, after having consulted with the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea, I have appointed the following experts:
Déirdre Clancy, humanitarian affairs (Ireland)
Bogdan Chetreanu, finance (Romania)
Christophe Trajber, maritime/transport (France)
Nicholas Argeros, finance (United States of America)
Zeina Awad, transport (Lebanon)
I have designated Mr. Trajber to serve as Coordinator of the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group. The three remaining experts (regional affairs, armed groups and arms) of the Monitoring Group will be nominated shortly.
I should be grateful if you would bring this matter to the attention of the members of the Security Council.
(Signed) BAN Ki-moon