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On Afghanistan US Khalilzad Heads Belgium Germany Turkey Qatar and Pakistan Feb 10-28 While UN Guterres Refuses Questions

By Matthew Russell Lee, CJR Letter PFT, Scope

UNITED NATIONS GATE, February 10 – Amid multiple reports that Zalmay Khalilzad would emerge from retirement to become US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Afghanistan envoy, Inner City Press recently banned from the UN after 10 years of coverage, as it reports on Secretary General Antonio Guterres' conflicts of interest for example on China Energy Fund Committee and on Cameroon, looked back, see below. Now on February 10, this on Khalizdad's travel: "Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad will lead an interagency delegation to Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from February 10 – 28.  This trip is part of an overall effort to facilitate a peace process that protects U.S. national security interests and brings all Afghan parties together in an intra-Afghan dialogue through which they can determine a path for their country’s future.  He will meet with our allies and partners to discuss mutual efforts to advance that goal and will consult with the Afghan government throughout the trip." On November 20, after UNSG Guterres ignored Press questions and got into his (or you) Mercedes after a long lunch, Periscope video here, he put out a hard to take at face value statement on Afghanistan, below.  Back on December 2 from the US State Department, this: "Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will travel to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar with an interagency delegation from December 2 – 20.  He will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate.  Special Representative Khalilzad will be in communication with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and other Afghan stakeholders to coordinate closely on efforts to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table with the Afghan government and other Afghans.
On his last trip to the region in November, Special Representative Khalilzad met with men and women active in civil society and peace efforts, members of the media, and other governmental and non-governmental officials. He stressed that all Afghans must have a say in creating a sustainable peace for Afghanistan.  The United States remains committed to supporting the Afghan people’s desire for peace, and to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never serves as a platform for international terrorism again." Back in November, Guterres said or had written for him this: "The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s attack targeting Afghans gathered in Kabul to celebrate a day of special religious significance.  The deliberate targeting of civilians is a clear violation of international humanitarian law. Every effort should be made to bring perpetrators to justice.The Secretary-General extends his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of Afghanistan.  He wishes a speedy recovery to those injured." Must have been some lunch. Meanwhile former UN offiical Helen Clark on 19 November 2018 criticized Guterres' exclusion from the UN, Vine here. But does Guterres care? Can he hear, inside his Mercedes? On October 18, with Inner City Press still banned from the UN now for 107 days and counting by Guterres, the UN Security Council issued this: "The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attacks that took place in Afghanistan over the past weeks, including in Jowzjan, Kunduz, Takhar, Herat, Zabul, Farah and today in Kandahar, resulting in numerous casualties and many injured, ahead of the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan on 20 October.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Afghanistan and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.

The members of the Security Council underscored the importance of a secure environment for conducting elections and emphasized that violence in any form, or the threat thereof, intended to disrupt the elections and democratic process in Afghanistan is unacceptable." Thre American were injured and the American commander in the area was present at the attack... On August 27, the UN Security Council which at least under UK presidency is content to let Guterres pick and chose which media can enter and ask questions, issued a statement beginning: "The members of the Security Council welcomed the announcement by the Government of Afghanistan on 19 August of a second conditional ceasefire with the Taliban from the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday.
The members of the Security Council urged the Taliban to reciprocate without delay. They also reiterated their call upon the Taliban to accept the offer made by the Afghan Government in February this year to engage in direct peace talks without any preconditions and without the threat of violence, with the aim of an ultimate political settlement that leads to sustainable peace for the people of Afghanistan.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of an inclusive Afghan-led and -owned peace process for the long-term prosperity and stability of Afghanistan, and expressed their full support for the Afghan Government’s efforts to that end.
The members of the Security Council emphasised the importance of holding peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent parliamentary elections on 20 October 2018 and presidential election on 20 April 2019." Looking back, Khalilzad during as his time as US Ambassador was always accessible. Inner City Press spoke with him many times during the late night budget meetings of example the type Guterres and his spokesman Stephane Dujarric had Inner City Press roughed up for covering on 3 July 2018. Here was from 21 December 2007: "Ban's bodyguards loitered by the Vienna cafe, standing at the ready. The vacuum cleaners began in Conference Room 5. There was no turning back.

  Down the hall came the American flotilla: Permanent Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, Ambassadors Alejandro Wolff and Mark Wallace, accompanied by Controller Warren Sach and the Secretary of the Fifth Committee. In the corner of Conference Room 3 they pow-wowed, as other delegates tried to get in.  They discussed the U.S. political ramifications of various ways of voting on the budget. Leave it to the experts, Khalilzad said. But as written, we cannot vote for the budget, he told Inner City Press, as he Googled past midnight." Compare that to today, where for covering the budget meetings from the same (expensively renovated) Vienna Cafe, Guterres has you assaulted - a crime scene - then imposes a lifetime ban. The UN is in decline, even decay.  Four days after UN Security officers led by UN Lieutenant Ronald E. Dobbins pushed Inner City Press' reporter out of the UN during a speech by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on June 26 Guterres envoy to Afghanistan Tadamichi Yamomoto came to the Security Council stakeout to take questions. But of the entire UN press corps, only Inner City Press was there.  Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq who had run out on Inner City Press' questions about the ouster the day before told Yamamoto leadingly, gesturing at the UNTV microphone, "It's up to you." Inner City Press encouraged Yamamoto and he came over. Periscope video here. On August 17, Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale issued a no due process ruling that Inner City Press is banned from the UN - for life. It is outrageous and we'll have more on it - it was ghoulishly reiterated on 2 January 2019, see here.


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