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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

These are not as simple days as it seems at the UN. We found a Vijay Nambiar letter to the New York Times of November 8, 2010, in which Indian Vijay Nambiar defends “Ban-in-China” or what he called “THE UN AND CHINA” at a time the US President visits India?

So, why does the Ban Ki-moon Chef de Cabinet write such a letter rather then the Japanese Under Secretary General in charge of Communications and Information – Mr Kiyotaka Akasaka? (- www.SustainabiliTank.info comment.) Are there back-stabbing efforts going on at the UN high levels even beyond what Matthew Lee reports?

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UN G-20 Team Cuts Out UNDP & Jomo, Ban 2d Term in View, DC House  Looming.

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 — As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in South Korean for the G-20 meeting, UN sources in New York complained to Inner City Press about an “unprecedented level of micro-management” by Ban’s office in the run up to the G-20.

South Korea having this G-20 is a laurel in Ban’s country’s crown, as is Ban’s position in the UN. But Ban wants to use this G-20 meeting, if possible, to get endorsements for a second term as Secretary General, publicly or privately. So nothing can go wrong.

For that reason, the sources tell Inner City Press, unlike before other G-20 meetings when a range of UN system officials have been involved, this time Ban’s closest advisers seized control of preparations.

Excluded or elbowed out among others the sources tell Inner City Press were Norwegian Olav Kjorven, assistant secretary-general and director of policy at UNDP and Malaysia Jomo Kwame Sundaram, the assistant secretary general of DESA under Sha Zukang, the Under Secretary General who wined and dined with and gave an award to the Tiananmen Square general during Ban’s recent trip to Shanghai.

This of course is bad form. But Ban is under pressure, especially after the controversy surrounding his craven suck-up to China during his four day visit, not once publicly mentioning the name of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

Even the generally liberal and pro-UN New York Times ran an editorial questioning whether Ban should be supported for a second term.

Now, after the November 2 election, Ban and his advisers know they face a buzz saw in the Republican controlled House Foreign Relations committee, probably under UN knowledgeable Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who may look into issues ranging from UN inaction in Darfur to Myanmar as well as UNRWA. Their tour guide to Washington Robert Orr, reportedly the crafter of the “US is a deadbeat” line, may lose his way in the new Committee.
Will they hire a lobbyist?

* * *

At UN, Finger Pointing on Ban Human Rights in China Flap – Nobel & Sha Unaddressed.

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 5 — With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon under fire for not raising human rights or the new Nobel Peace Prize winner when he met with Chinese President Hu, for external consumption Ban on Friday morning read out a defensive statement in a press conference on climate change financing.

Ban insisted that “the record is clear” that he mentioned human rights in Nanjing — as a “shared value” — and in Beijing in a speech to students. Ban did not mention, in China or in his Friday statement, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, nor his Under Secretary General Sha Zukang having given a “World Harmony Foundation” award to Chinese former military chief on October 27. (Inner City Press got Sha’s side of the story on November 4, click here.)

Inside the Ban administration, sources tell Inner City Press, the finger pointing has begun. Ban’s senior adviser Kim Won-soo, the sources say, lays the blame for the coverage on his putative superior Vijay Nambiar and Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe.

{But this is not as simple as it seems. We found a Vijay letter to the New York Times of November 8, 2010, in which Indian Vijay Nambiar defends “Ban-in-China” or what he called “THE UN AND CHINA.”

So, why does the Ban Ki-moon Chef de Cabinet write such a letter rather then the Japanese Under Secretary General in charge of Communications and Information – Mr Kiyotaka Akasaka? – www.SustainabiliTank.info comment}

They in turn pass the blame further downstream to Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky, pointing at days of Nesirky saying Ban did not raise human rights to President Hu, then emailing out a late night statement that rights had been raised to other Chinese officials, whom Nesirky has left unnamed.

A range of UN officials and staff interviewed in recent days have expressed concern that the brand of the UN has been hurt by the flap, culminating they said in the New York Times editorial questioning whether Ban should get a second term as Secretary General.

– – –

While it appears that the staged Q&A at Friday’s press conference is intended as Ban’s response to the media, some say there’s a need for Ban to address UN staff members and explain what has happened, and why. And if his climate change press conference was “not the proper occasion,” as he put it, to address human rights, he should set up a separate press availability to answer questions, and not from notes. Watch this site.

Footnote: even on the topic of Friday’s press conference, the report of the High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing given to Ban by Jens Stoltenberg of Norway and Meles Zenawi from Ethiopia, there was no answer to the following question asked by Inner City Press at Thursday’s noon briefing:

Inner City Press: On climate change, there are various people saying that, in light of the elections that took place on Tuesday, and Obama, President Obama’s comments yesterday afternoon at a press conference that this makes the passage of climate change legislation less likely in the United States, that this will impact not only the Cancun process, but even this report that the Secretary-General is getting tomorrow. Some that have seen the report say that it assumes a median price of carbon of $25 a tonne by 2020, and if there is no US legislation that will not be accurate. So, I am just wondering what, it’s not so much a comment directly on the elections of what, what does this, what is the Secretariat, and it… the global goods team of the UN, does the results bode well for this report tomorrow and for the process that he is involved in? And, if not, what’s the plan to stay on track with the report that he is getting tomorrow?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, two things. First of all, the key word there is process. It is a process that involves all the countries in the world in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. That is an enormous undertaking, as you know. And it involves all countries. The second point is that the report is being launched tomorrow. And I think it would be better to wait until then. You will have an opportunity to see the report tomorrow.

Inner City Press: Well, I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

Spokesperson: You’ll find out. And there are other ways to address it, even if it isn’t at the press conference, because of the shortage of time or whatever, but there are always [ways] to address these things.

* * *

UN’s Sha Planned Dining Solo with China General, Says Award Was Surprise.

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 — For four days, Inner City Press has asked the UN about Under Secretary General Sha Zukang having given a “World Harmony Foundation” award to retired Chinese general Chi Haotian in Shanghai on in late October, just before Mr. Sha stood with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the closing of the Shanghai Expo.

Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press that Sha was “not on leave” and that the online photograph of the award was the first the UN knew of Sha’s involvement. On November 1, 2 and 3 Nesirky has repeated that some UN statement might be coming — without saying anything more.

On November 4, Inner City Press was able to ask Sha Zukang directly about the award and the controversy. Sha told Inner City Press that “the general came to know I was in Shanghai” and he invited Sha to dinner.

Sha canceled his other plans. “When I was with disarmament we were together, many years ago,” Sha said of Chi Haotian. “I thought it was he and me only. Than I saw the group.”

Inner City Press has previously covered the World Harmony Foundation trying to parlay its $110,000 contribution to the 2009 UN Day concert into photos with Ban Ki-moon.

After Inner City Press ran several exposes, the photo session was canceled. But still Under Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari appeared for photos with the group, made up of businessmen and led by Frank Liu, in the Millennium Hotel across First Avenue from UN Headquarters.

“I didn’t know what the award was,” Sha told Inner City Press on November 4. “That is what happened. I don’t want to issue any clarification.” Given the controversy, one would assume that Ban Ki-moon’s office has asked Sha for an explanation, which is the above. What will happen next? 

For further on this – please follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

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