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At UN, Malcorra Farewell, Kane's Transition to Takasu, Judge Decries Laughingstock

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 23 -- While UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon travels in Asia in what some call his impunity roadshow, in New York questions multiply about his so-called Five Year Mobility reform. Ban shuffled his closest allies like Kim Won-soo laterally within UN headquarters.

  Despite changes said to take place April 1, Angela Kane has already apparently headed to Disarmament and been replaced by Warren Sach as Officer in Charge of the Department of Management, which Inner City Press has reported will ultimately be given to Japanese former Ambassador Yukio Takasu.

  This would mean a country other than Japan would get the Department of Public Information post of Kiyo Akasaka, whose farewell reception was held Thursday night.

  Likewise the goodbye to Susana Malcorra as head of the Department of Field Support has already been done. So when Spain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Gonzalo de Benito was assigned to meet with Malcorra on March 22, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: there was a stakeout by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Spain, who is in at the UN. He said he met with Ms. Malcorra, and I wanted to know whether this was in her capacity as the head of he Department of Field Support or whether she is already now operating as the Chief of Staff of the Secretary-General. In which capacity did she meet with the Spanish Minister?

Deputy Spokesperson Eduardo Del Buey: Well, Ms. Malcorra, I believe, begins as Chief of Staff of the Secretary-General on 1 April, if I am not mistaken. Right now she is acting in her capacity as head of Field Services.

Inner City Press: So that meeting, that meeting was about field support or troops?

Deputy Spokesperson: I don’t have a readout on the meeting, we’ll try and find out.

[The Deputy Spokesperson later confirmed that the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support met with the Spanish official.]

Inner City Press: Can we get a readout? Okay, thanks.

Deputy Spokesperson: Okay, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

Inner City Press knew that Malcorra did the meeting: the question was, in what capacity. Twenty hours after a read out was requested, none was provided.

   At the beginning of the week, and in the context of mounting anger in the UN's African Group at Ban switching the Deputy S-G post from Tanzania to Sweden and naming as Special Adviser on Africa the Mubarak era Egyptian diplomat Maged Abdelaziz who helped keep the position empty, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: Special Adviser on Africa, maybe you will either comment or find this out: factually, when does Mr. Maged Abdelaziz begin as the Special Adviser on Africa, a post he was named to from here?

Deputy Spokesperson: I’ll have to check, I don’t have that date with me.

Inner City Press: And given that he is now a prospective UN high official, is there, what is your comment to some who say that there is a conflict of interest now? He works for Ban Ki-moon, but he is still negotiating budgetary, i.e., troop cost issues in the C-34 [Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations] with the Secretariat that he has already taken a job to work for? Is there some problem with that?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, he will begin to work for the UN when he begins to work. Until then, he is probably earning a living doing something else.

Inner City Press: Right, but is there, I mean, do you see why he is already working for the side he is supposed to be negotiating around how UN funds go to peacekeepers, but he is already working for the entity that actually pays the money. So, it’s, there is no safeguards about this?

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, there is no conflict of interest right now because he has not begun his job yet.

Inner City Press: He has already been given the job though.

Deputy Spokesperson: But he hasn’t begun his functions yet. When he begins his functions he will be expected to work solely for the UN.

Inner City Press: So at this point though, he has to have zero loyalty, or not loyalty, affiliation to Ban Ki-moon, it’s not, the idea is that this has no impact on his behaviour of advocacy status.

Deputy Spokesperson: Well, I’d have to check on that with the appropriate authorities.

  Four days later, no answer. Nor after two days was this question answered:

Inner City Press: one of the judges of the UN appeals tribunal, Mark Painter, has quit, and he’s called the whole process a fraud, he made some public statements saying that the UN’s internal justice system is laughable. Given this was supposed to be a reform done under the, under the Secretary-General, what is the response to a judgesaying the whole thing is a laughing stock?

Deputy Spokesperson Del Buey: Well, we’ve seen reports of what the judge has said and we’ll be commenting on it when we have a comment to make.

Question: Okay. I mean, do you think that there is a comment in the works, or you’re just going to let it [inaudible]?

Deputy Spokesperson: I’ll have to check and see.

Two days later, nothing. And on March 23 for the first time, tne UN noon brieifng was in advance limited to at most 15 minutes, by scheduling the next briefing not as usual for 12:30, but for 12:15. And so it goes in Ban's 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

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

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