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UN Dodges Protest of Ban's TRNC Trick in Cyprus, Questions Refused

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 4 -- Following UN Secretary General's largely failed and protested visit to Cyprus, back in New York the UN spin machine doggedly presented things as rosy, alongside an upbeat view of Alexander Downer.

  Inner City Press asked Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq to comment on February 2 on four Greek Cypriot parties' boycott of the reception for Ban, due to his meeting at the "presidential" compound in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. From the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: About his trip, I wanted to ask about the reports that, while he was in Cyprus, four of the Greek Cypriot parties, European parties, the Greens and two acronyms, DEKO and EDEK, boycotted his reception. They say because he met with Ali Talat at the presidential office in the break-away region. Where did he meet with Mr. Talat and what’s his response to the boycott by these important parties in Cyprus?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: As for Cyprus, I would leave it, as you know, the Secretary-General is on his way back from Cyprus. He will brief the Security Council about this and his other travels tomorrow at 3 p.m., and he will meet with you after that at approximately 4:30 p.m. at the Security Council stakeout. So, I’ll leave it for him to comment.

  But during Ban's media stakeout on Wednesday, February 3, Inner City Press was not allowed to ask him a question. In fact, no Greek or Greek Cypriot reporter was allowed. The only question allowed by Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky was from a Turkish journalist. And Ban's answer was, as always, rosy. But is this just propaganda?

  Before the stakeout, a Greek Cypriot told Inner City Press there was no reason to even wait to here Ban Ki-moon speak. Ban has allowed Alexander Downer to destroy the process, he said, opining that beyond himself, what Downer cares about in this post is retaining the British bases.

  And then there's Downer's claim that his work for business consultancy Bespoke Approach could never conflict with the Cyprus role that Ban has given him. Only at the UN.

UN's Ban, Downer and leaders at reception, 4 boycotting parties not shown

  Here to the single Cyprus question allowed by Nesirky was Ban's non-downer answer:

"I was very much encouraged by such a strong commitment by both leaders to continue their negotiations. And I was again, very much encouraged and touched by the strong support of the people from both sides who were chanting, in unison, shouting 'resolution now.' These were all the loud and clear voices from the general population, regardless of where they were from, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot. That was quite moving for me. I felt a strong sense of responsibility [about] what the United Nations can do more to facilitate this Cypriot-led and Cypriot-owned negotiation. My observation was that a solution was possible and a solution was within reach, and, in fact, they made significant progress in power-sharing and governance. I was quite encouraged by this. Of course, there are many more important issues: property; border and security issues. I hope they will continue. President Dimitris Christofias told me that he will issue some sort of plan for further negotiations, despite this planned [Turkish Cypriot] election, and that is quite encouraging. And I am going to have my special adviser, Alexander Downer, continuously engaged, so that this negotiation will be facilitated."

  Downer, of course, is not "continuusly" engaged -- rather, he is drumming up business for Bespoke Approach. Alternate Foreign Minister of Greece Dimitris Droutsas, whom Inner City Press asked Thursday morning about the IMF, will meet with Ban Ki-moon and then the Press on Thursday afternoon. Watch this site.

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As UN's Ban Rolls Dice on N. Korea Trip, Kim Won-soo Is Asked to Brief Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 3 -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, returning from a brief trip during which protesters in South Sudan told him to "repent before judgment" while he was snubbed in Cyprus by four political parties, is said by close observers to be "rolling the dice" on a trip to North Korea.

  "Ban wants to be remembered as the S-G when the Koreas reunited," the close insider said. "If it happens, all the other failures will be forgotten."

   The importance of the upcoming trip to Ban's closest inner circle is reflected by on the record quotes that his main advisor Kim Won soo -- Ban's Karl Rove, as some put it -- gave to the JoongAng Daily. Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, with his own Korean connections, about the quote at Wednesday noon briefing, UN transcription here, video here:

Inner City Press... You said the other three members; who are the other three members of Mr. Pascoe’s team?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Kim Won-soo, the Deputy Chef de Cabinet is one of them, and two other members of staff.

Inner City Press: Of DPA or of the Executive Office of the Secretary General?

Spokesperson: One of each.

Inner City Press: Okay. I had asked earlier about when it was first announced that Kim Won-soo was quoted in Joong Ang Daily, describing the trip, saying it may have a nuclear component, as well as humanitarian. So, I was wondering, I mean, those are his quotes, right? That he spoke on the record Joong Ang?

Spokesperson: Well, you have to ask Kim Won-soo.

Inner City Press: That’s why I asked. When it first came up, I actually asked whether he could be a part of the briefing with Lynn Pascoe, since I don’t think he’s ever briefed the media on the record, but he seems to have a pretty important role within the Executive Office of the Secretariat, and obviously he is willing to speak on the record to at least some media. Is that possible to convey that request?

UN's Kim, at left, with UN's Ban and Munoz, on glaciers

Spokesperson: I will certainly convey it.

  Hours later when Ban and his entourage, including Vijay Nambiar and Lynn Pascoe, passed the Press at the Security Council stakeout, Kim Won-soo waved over. Correspondents recounted anecdotes from Ban's trip last month to Haiti. There was general agreement: Mister Kim must brief the press, and on the record. We'll see. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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