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On Mali, Ban Says Accepts Results Even If Election Imperfect – How Much?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 16 – While in Paris for the Bastille Day parade, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was quoted, as to Mali, that “the results, even if the election is imperfect, must be respected by all parties.”

  In French:Les résultats, même si l'élection peut être imparfaite, doivent être respectés par toutes les parties.”

At the UN in New York on Tuesday, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky if Ban really said it – the phrase didn't seem to appear in a search of the Ban transcripts e-mailed by the UN – and if so, is there no level of imperfection that would legitimate not accepting the election?

  Nesirky confirmed the quote, adding it was said in France at the Francophonie organization, and insisted it was sent out. He said not to read too much into it, that everyone knows how difficult the election will be.

  Yes, Inner City Press follow up, but how can he say in advance that the election must be accepted, no matter how imperfect?

  France and other certainly want the election held before the end of July, and would like its results – regardless – to be accepted. But can the UN tell people to accept a result before having any sense of how imperfect it is? Couldn't that UN statement be seen as inviting fraud?

  To be fair, while it appears that the Francophonie Q&A was not e-mailed out to correspondents, it does appear on the UN's “off the cuff” website, here.

  Inner City Press has previously asked why in a transcript of a press conference by Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, its introduction on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access was removed from the transcript, while the similar statement of the UN's partner UNCA was left in. An answer to that question has been promised. Watch this site.


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