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Ban Meets Malagasy Coup Leader, Spokesman Tells Press to Look Away

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 24 -- Since Andry Rajoelina led a coup in Madagascar, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dined at the same table with him in Istanbul, and on Saturday did a formal photo opportunity and meeting with him.

  When Inner City Press asked about the Istanbul dinner, Ban's then Acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq denied it, saying that Ban didn't "meet" with Rajoelina. Saturday there could be no dispute: it was a formal meeting listed on Ban's press schedule.

  The fig-leaf for the meeting, and for Rajoelina to speak in the General Assembly, is that SADC agreed to a road map. But consider:

-On 17 September, 10 political groups, including those most linked to Rajoelina and Ravalomanana, signed a SADC roadmap that provides for Ravalomanana’s return to Madagascar.

-On 18 September the de facto Minister of Justice Christine Razanamahasoa announced that Ravalomanana would be arrested should he return.

- On 20 September, Gen. Richard Ravalomanana (no relation to the ousted president), who has been in charge of repressing ‘illegal’ demonstrations since the March 2009 coup, announced on television that a group of ten military were preparing to go from Madagascar to South Africa to arrest Ravalomanana.

-The Tribune de Madagascar of 21 September published copies of arrest warrants against Ravalomanana and a copy of a directive from the head prosecutor dated 17 September 2011 calling for Ravalomanana’s arrest.

  Inner City Press went to the September 24 photo op. While standing with four other photographers waiting, Ban Ki-moon passed and expressed surprise, not unpleasantly. Ban's lead spokesman Martin Nesirky, once the photographers were setting in the meeting room, said to Inner City Press, "You don't take pictures of talking points, okay? Now I know."

  Inner City Press showed Nesirky the last picture, half expecting to have film or SD card confiscated.

Ban Ki-moon & Rajoelina Sept 24, talking points not shown

  Ironically, a more senior Ban adviser later laughed, "there's nothing IN the talking points, they are as empty as the read-outs Martin gives." But when you're meeting with coup leaders, apparently, there is reason to be worried.

  Why not cover up the talking points? Or better yet, why not stop meeting with coup leaders in a way that legitimates them? Watch this site.

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After Ban Ki-moon Dined With Coup Leader Rajoeline in May, Now UN Won't Confirm Meeting Madagascar PM

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 2 -- Despite speeches about democracy, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon dined in May next to Madagascar coup leader Andry Rajoelina.

 His then deputy spokesman Farhan Haq proceeded to deny to Inner City Press that Ban had "met with" Rajoelina, despite photos of the dinner.

Rajoelina recently sent his de facto prime minister Camille Vital to New York, and it was reported in the Malagasy press that Vital met with Ban Ki-moon "to ask for the taking of concrete measures given the inefficiency of SADC," the Southern African Development Community.

As SADC still views Rajoelina as a coup leader, the implication was that Vitale was asking the Ban administration to facilitate his appearance and legitimization at the upcoming UN General Debate this month.

On August 29, Inner City Press in writing asked Ban's lead and deputy spokesmen

"on Madascagar, has the Secretariat received any request to meet with de facto prime minister Camille Vital or foreign Minister Yvette Sylla or any other Malagasy officials in the run up to the General Debate?"

  Neither lead spokesman Martin Nesirky -- away from the office since early August -- or Farhan Haq, who gave the UN's briefing the next day on August 30 at which he introduced his successor as deputy Eduardo del Buey, answered or even acknowledged the question.

  And so on September 2, Inner City Press asked del Buey the question asked in writing at the beginning of the week, about any meeting with de facto prime minister Vital:

Deputy Spokesperson del Buey: I’ll have to check and get back to you on that.

  It would be easy to confirm or deny this meeting, but six hours later, no answer was given.

  Inner City Press' own reporting finds that Vitale has confirmed that he met with Ban's "Under Secretary General" -- presumably, UN Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe -- about finding a way to appear at this month's General Assembly.

Ban and coup leader, UN claims Ban never met him

  Earlier in the month on August 17, the UN refused to answer Inner City Press' question about DPA's involvement in Madagascar, including through Joaquim Chissano.

   So Ban Ki-moon's UN, while speechifying about democracy, is meeting secretly with coup leaders and refusing to answer questions about it.

Footnote: a Wikileaked cable shows that at the time of the 2009 coup, only Ban's envoy Tiebile Drame "expressed a strong position in support of consequences, and accompanying statements and talking points, for the extra-constitutional solution now in progress." So Ban and his UN and "extra-constitutional solution[s]" -- while they purport to be the central adviser to Libya on democracy. Watch this site.

Click for July 7, 11 re Sudan, Libya, Syria, flotilla

Click for Mar 1, '11 re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption

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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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