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At UN, Trip by Ban to Palestine & Lebanon Confirmed, Saleh Speaker, Who Pays Planes?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 6 -- Palestine will get a visit within the month from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Palestinian Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour confirmed to Inner City Press on Friday.

  Mansour said, on camera, that initially Ban was going to visit after Lebanon, Jordan and the [United Arab] Emirates, but now it would be delayed under late January or early February, in connection with Ban's trip to the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

  Earlier this week, when Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky was asked to merely confirm Ban's trip to Lebanon, Nesirky refused. Inner City Press asked him in the alternative to confirm the UN conference in Beirut, ostensibly on democracy, which Ban and others would attend, and to provide the speakers' list.

  You can look for it yourself, Nesirky said. The list is still not on the UN's ESCWA web site, but Inner City Press is told that the speakers include, paradoxically, an adviser to Yemen strongman Ali Saleh. We'll have more on this, once the UN system is able to provide the speakers' list.

  Inner City Press asked Nesirky last month to disclose going forward -- therefore on this trip -- which countries or persons pay for the travel and planes of Ban and his entourage.

  This came after Inner City Press asked the President of the General Assembly about his travel with Ban, and he acknowledged that Qatar provided a plane in connection with their trip to Somalia.

  Who will be paying on these forthcoming trips? It seems like basic transparency that a public figure should disclose who is paying for his travel. We'll see.

Footnotes: After Mansour's stakeout, Inner City Press asked him about its exclusive reporting earlier this week from sources inside the Department of Political Affairs and beyond that nominated to replace Lynn Pascoe as head of DPA is another American, higher profile: Alejandro Wolff. Click here for that exclusive must-credit story by Inner City Press.

(c) UN Photo
Mansour, confirmer of Ban trips, 2007 with Alex Wolff: to be confirmed, for DPA?

Wolff's role as US Deputy Permanent Representative was recalled during the all day Security Council fight about the assault on the flotilla to Gaza. Watch this site.

Mansour's press availability, which lasted three quarters of an hour, was initially scheduled for 4:30 pm on Friday. But that conflicted with Ban Ki-moon coming to the press floor at the UN to offer his Happy New Years wishes. So Mansour changed his time to speak; when he did, he said Ban changed his visit to later, in connection with the African Union summit. As it happens, Friday at 4:30 pm there are African Union consultations...

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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

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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