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Nicholas Horne – former political affairs officer at UNAMA in Afghanistan

The most telling attempt by the UN to send a clearly inappropriate person to Sri Lanka occurred at the beginning of the year, shortly before the Presidential election. This was a Nicholas Horne, another British citizen, though he seems to have spent much of his working life in America. His last posting, after a fascinating career, was in Afghanistan, where he worked with Peter Galbraith, the former American Deputy Head of the UN in that country.

 This roused my interest, because it was Peter Galbraith who had been sacked by the UN after open differences with the UN Head over the Afghanistan election. Galbraith had believed the election was fraudulent, and that Karzai, the incumbent who was declared the winner, had cheated. He had said so openly, and also done much more. Recently there was a report to the effect that he had threatened Afghan officials if they released results favourable to Karzai.

Horne had resigned in high dudgeon in support of Galbraith’s stand.   He proclaimed this proudly in the cv that was sent to us. I was astonished at this, since even the UN must have realized that we were in the throes of an election, and that someone as volatile as Mr Horne could prove embarrassing if he got it into his head that the Sri Lankan election was fraudulent. Since there was already reason to believe that those who wanted General Fonseka to win were getting ready to cry foul, it seemed at the very least odd that the UN wanted to send to Sri Lanka at precisely this time someone who could well think himself a hero if he lent grist to the opposition mill.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

June 2010
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