Behind the scenes
Kai Eide is in the news once more. According to reports by Reuters, unnamed diplomatic sources announced on Friday that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon plans to replace him as his Special Representative for Afghanistan, possibly as early as January.
Hours later, an indignant Eide told Dagbladet he refutes speculative reports of his immediate resignation, informing them instead that he only planned to stay for an initial two-year period anyway.
“I’ve had a two-year perspective the whole time. I told the Secretary-General two weeks ago that I didn’t wish to renew my contract after March, and have asked him to look for a successor.”
According to Sunday’s leader in Aftenposten, Eide views his decision as both unproblematic and undramatic. However, the paper wasn’t entirely convinced.
“Eide could of course be correct when he says he told them himself his assignment would only last for a period of two years when he assumed the post in March 2008. It’s nothing special that he’s leaving Kabul, therefore. (But) everything points towards influential forces having wished him not to continue in his job. If he’d had backing and wide support, he would have been urged to continue after the first two-year period,” they write.
Loss of faith
There have already been calls for his resignation by the International Crisis Group (ICG), alleging that Eide did nothing to investigate corruption in connection with the recent Afghan elections.
They claim this has lost him the confidence of his staff and seriously damaged the UN’s Assistance Mission in Afghanistan’s (UNAMA) credibility, of which Eide is the head.
And although he denies that his decision has anything to do with the recent public dispute between him and his now sacked deputy, and former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith, Dagens Næringsliv doesn’t share his opinion.
“It’s partly because Eide fell out with the American in the eyes of Karzai’s regime, and partly because the conflict became public,” the write in Saturday’s leader.
Department of State/Wikimedia CommonsBut Eide says he still has support from Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. Special Envoy Incumbent for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and thinks that resigning would cause the UN problems.
“Holbrook said as recently as this evening that I mustn’t leave my post until a replacement is in place. We cannot have a new vacuum here. We must be able to make decisions. It takes time to find a competent replacement,” Eide told Dagbladet.
According to NRK, Eide thinks reports of his alleged resignation from the unnamed diplomatic sources harm the UN’s work in Afghanistan.
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