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Behind Ban Ki-moon's Rush to Riyahd, Envoys IOCA & Bolduc on Vacation?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 11 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was scheduled to speak about Burundi in the UN Security Council on November 9, but didn't.

  Instead, the UN announced that on little to no notice he had decided to travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday night. Ban's own envoy on Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, was not in Riyadh on November 8, 9 or 10, as confirmed to Inner City Press.

   Why did Ban decide so quickly to drop everything and go to Saudi Arabia?

   Sources tell Inner City Press the reasons included the fact that Saudi Arabia snubbed Ban's Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson during Eliasson's recent trip there, as Inner City Press reported at the time. That seemed to Ban a bad trend that had to be reversed and so -- craven, some say -- Ban dropped Burundi and headed to Riyahd.

  There, Ban's read-out with King Salman was noticeably weak on even repeating calls to stop airstrikes. Instead, the UN read-out said of Ban that “On Yemen, he hoped that all sides to the conflict would take extreme care not to cause civilian casualties and that inter-Yemeni talks would take place this month. The Secretary-General also encouraged Saudi Arabia to further work closely with his respective Special Envoys for Syria and Yemen.”

   How to work closely with Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed if he wasn't even in Riyahd? Inner City Press is informed by sources that after this envoy's many mysterious UN-paid trips to Dubai, at the time of Ban's jaunt to Riyahd, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was on vacation in Mauritania, the trip there reportedly paid for by the UN. The UN has refused to confirm or deny that, or explain the envoy's many trips to Dubai, only replying that Ould Cheikh Ahmed will get to Riyadh November 11-12.

  This is becoming a trend in today's UN, alongside the John Ashe - David Ng and Bernardino Leon scandals: senior officials in the field going on vacation at times that make no sense, that disrespect their mandates. Inner City Press is informed that even as Ban Ki-moon issued his statement about 40 years of Western Sahara limbo, his Special Representative Kim Bolduc was on vacation. What sense does that make? What message is sent by that? We'll have more on this.


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