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UN Now Says Envoy to Libya Khatib Still Has Responsibilities in Jordan, His Contract In Flux Amid Conflicts

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 25 -- After dodging repeated questions about whether UN envoy to Libya Abdul Ilah Al Khatib is still paid by Jordan, where he is a Senator, when Inner City Press again asked the question on March 25, Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said that “the terms of his contract are still being worked out... he still has some responsibilities in Jordan.”

To some, this implies that contrary to UN charter and rules, Khatib is at the same being paid by and serving a particular government and the UN. Significantly, in Jordan this week water cannons were deployed on protests, leading to the death of at least one protester.

Beyond the financial conflicts of interest, including Khatib being a director of Jordan Ahli Bank which is a co top 20 owners of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises with Libya Foreign Bank, 100% owned by Gaddafi's Libya Central Bank, why would Secretary General Ban Ki-moon choose as his envoy to Libya the former foreign minister of a country his own advisers describe as an autocracy, which is itself now killing protesters?

Ban & al-Khatib, Jordan pay not shown, Q of Chile housing not answered

Haq also on March 25 said that the decision about what political moves are acceptable to the UN in Libya will be up to Khatib. “Talk about the fox guarding the chicken house,” remarked one wag. The questions will continue to be asked.

From the UN's March 25 transcript:

Inner City Press: on the envoy, yesterday Martin [Nesirky] had said, it’s been going around for a couple of days, is… whether Mr. [Abdul Ilah] Khatib, what is his status with the UN? Is he a USG [Under-Secretary-General]? Is he a staff member? And is he still being paid by the Government of Jordan? It seemed like it shouldn’t be that difficult to get yes or no answers to those three.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: Well, part of the thing is, because of the speed with which we felt the need to appoint an envoy, some of the terms of his contract are still being worked out. So I don’t have any firm answers about the nature of his contract to give right now, because that is being worked out with him. He does have some responsibility still in Jordan, as well as his position here with us.

    What ARE those responsibilities in, and payments from, Jordan? Watch this site.

* * *

UN Won't Answer on Pay to Khatib, Nor Q of Chile Housing for Bachelet

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 24, updated -- The UN's lack of transparency, particularly about outside payments to its highest officials appointed this year by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, has hit a new low.

  When Ban named Abdul Ilah Al-Khatib as his envoy to Libya, while he did not disclose that Khatib is a director of Jordan Ahli Bank which is a co top 20 owner of Union des Banques Arabes et Francaise with the Libya Foreign Bank, a 100% subsidiary of Gaddafi's Libya Central Bank, Ban did say that Khatib is a Senator in Jordan.

  Beyond the banking connection, Inner City Press has now repeatedly asked for confirmation that Khatib is getting paid by the government of Jordan, and how that even possibly complies with the UN Charter which says UN officials must answer only to the UN.

  Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press to “ask Jordan,” and on March 23 refused to even confirm if Khatib is an Under Secretary General. Nesirky and his deputy Farhan Haq have said that Khatib will file a financial disclosure with the UN. But this will not occur until March 2012. “Ask Jordan” indeed.

  Ban's highest profile appointment has been of former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head UN Women. Ban took Bachelet on his recent trip, and she was also chased by protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

  But neither Ms. Bachelet, her agency or top spokespeople have been willing to answer a simple question that Inner City Press has for days submitted, to the agency, spokespeople and Ms. Bachelet herself:

please confirm or deny that Ms. Bachelet receiving assistance or payment for housing or anything else from the government of Chile?”

Whistleblowing sources have informed Inner City Press that the same type of outside housing subsidy issues that Inner City Press uncovered with regard to the UN's last top lawyer Nicolas Michel, who received a housing subsidy from the Swiss government for a huge Park Avenue apartment, and that obtains to some other top Ban officials, applies to Ms. Bachelet.

  So it seemed it should be easy to enough, to get a denial -- which the whistleblowing sources would then peruse -- or a confirmation and explanation. But a submission through the UN Women website resulted in no response at all, nor did an e-mail to Ms. Bachelet.

On March 23, the day Ban's spokesman Nesirky refused again to even say if Ban's Libya envoy Khatib is a UN Under Secretary General, much less paid by Jordan's government, Inner City Press redirected its question, now “on or over deadline,” to the spokesperson for UN Women constituent agency UNIFEM:

Hello -- I am re-sending to you this Press question I sent through UN Women's web site, and to [Ms. Bachelet's e-mail address] -- I'm now at (or over) deadline so need an answer -- please note that the request includes but is not limited to any housing assistance. Thanks in advance, -Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Subject: Press question on deadline regarding any payments or assistance from Chilean gov't
Date: Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 11:30 AM
From: Matthew R. Lee [at]
To: [UN Women, Michelle Bachelet at]

Hello. As a reporter here at UN HQ, I have a simple factual question. Can't find identify or e-mail address of a UN Women spokesperson on the UN Women web site so I send this directly to you, before today's noon briefing:

Can you confirm or deny that you receiving assistance or payment for housing or anything else from the government of Chile?

I have other questions about how UN charged with sexual abuse are disciplined by the UN system, which I've asked you before, but those questions can wait. The one above is on deadline. Thanks in advance, Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press

This resulted in a response that “Ms. Bachelet is best placed to answer your question, but she is... expected to return to NY in a few weeks time.” Here in fairness was the complete response:

Subject: RE: Press question on deadline regarding any payments or assistance from Chilean gov't to Ms Bachelet, thank you
From: oisika.chakrabarti [at]
Date: Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 3:00 PM
To: Matthew R. Lee [at], scaddan [at], Nanette Braun [at]

Dear Matthew, Thanks for your e-mail. Ms. Bachelet is best placed to answer your question, but she is currently travelling abroad on work. She is expected to return to NY in a few weeks time. Thanks,

Oisika Chakrabarti

Media Specialist, UN Women

  So the head of UN Women does not have e-mail? And Ban's spokesperson's office cannot find out what UN staff Ban conferred on Khatib? Some transparency, this. To be continued: watch this site.

Update: Inner City Press has most recently asked about this at the noon briefings of March 23 and March 24. On March 23:

Inner City Press: on Mr. [Abdul Ilah] Khatib, the last thing on this. Have you yet figured out whether he’s an Under-Secretary-General, is he a staff member? And is he being paid by the Government of Jordan?

Spokesperson Nesirky: We’ve addressed this…

Inner City Press: Is he an Under-Secretary-General or is he a staff member?

Spokesperson Nesirky: We’ve addressed this already. If we have anything further I’ll let you know.

Inner City Press: You didn’t answer what he is.

Spokesperson: If I have anything further I’ll let you know. Matthew, I said if I had anything further, I would let you know. Okay?

On March 24, Inner City Press read out UN Staff Regulation 1.2 (j) “No staff member shall accept any honour, decoration, favour, gift or remuneration from any Government,” and asked how it applies, to Khatib and the questions asked to UN Women. Nesirky this time said he would try to give a answer, then declared a question about antiquities as the last question, taking no more. Watch this site.

* * *

Ban KiMoon Envoy to Libya Al-Khatib's Pay from Jordan Raises Press Questions at UN, Stonewalling Continues

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 20 -- When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon settled on Abdel-Elah Al-Khatib as his envoy to Libya, questions were raised by Inner City Press about Khatib's business dealings including as a director of Jordan Ahli Bank, which is a co top 20 owner of Union des Banques Arabes et Francaise along with the Libyan Foreign Bank, a 100% owned subsidiary of Gaddafi's Central Bank of Libya.

  The UN has yet to address these conflict of interest, instead telling Inner City Press that Khatib will file a financial disclosure at some later date.

  But now another problem that the UN should have foreseen and acted on has arisen. Inner City Press is told that Khatib still receives a salary from Jordan as a Senator. A person cannot work for the UN and receive money from a government at the same time. But Khatib insists he can, and Ban is in too deep, the sources say, to even try to enforce the UN rules.

  When Ban unveiled Al-Khatib as his envoy, Ban did not mention or take questions on Al-Khatib's outside business, but did say that “he is now serving as a senator of Jordan.” That set off red flags, as the UN charter says that anyone working for the UN should not appear to be affiliated with a government.

  That governments push their citizens with Ban and previous Secretaries General to get UN posts is one thing. But to be concurrently “serving as a senator in Jordan,” which is being protests, and be ostensibly representing the UN in Libya?

 Ban was turned down by Lakhdar Brahimi and Kemal Dervis, neither of whom work for and receive pay from a government, before Ban settled on Al-Khatib.

  Under Ban the UN has become a lawless place of opaque conflicts of interest, where topics on these questions are not answered, are even retaliated against. Watch this site.

From the UN's transcription of the March 16 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: Can I ask you, on Mr. Khatib, I just… I saw yesterday a clip in which they said he has a spokesman, Bahaa el-Kousy. Is it… is there a UN spokesman, UN staff member assigned to be his spokesman on this trip? Did he bring somebody in from… that he knows, do you know who this individual is?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: I believe this is someone from within the UN system. I can let you know. But this was simply to help to coordinate the Special Envoy’s media work while in the region.

Inner City Press: And is he a USG [Under Secretary General]? What is his position and compensation for this role?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Special Envoy; I’d need to check precisely what the rank is.

But Ban's spokesman's office has yet to provide any answers on Al-Khatib's post or pay or vetting. Without any answer from Ban's spokesperson's office, it's been learned that Bahaa Elkoussy is "UNIC Beirut Director" - we'll have more about UN system in Beirut soon.

From the UN's transcription of its March 11 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: On Mr. Al-Khatib, earlier this week I had asked whether his outside business interests in a Jordanian cement company, and in the bank, that actually he is co-owner of another bank with the Libyan Central Bank controlled by [Muammar al-] Qadhafi, whether these will be suspended during his service for the UN as an envoy to Libya. Is there an answer to that, given that he is [inaudible]…?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: No, not specifically to that. Just that he is a senior official, and just as with other officials of that rank, he would be required to fill out the standard financial disclosure. So, he will go through the same financial disclosure process as everyone else.

Inner City Press: On what time frame? Has he filled it out yet? Has OIOS [Office of Internal Oversight Services]…?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: He was only just appointed, Matthew!

Inner City Press: I understand, but it seems to raise possible conflicts of interest even as his service begins.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: You don’t file a financial disclosure the minute you get appointed.

Inner City Press: That’s only the UN, that’s an official has to file a form after the person is already named?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson: If there is any particular conflict regarding Mr. Khatib, it would be incumbent on him to remove any particular conflicts before he begins work. However, in any case, any conflicts would be determined once he goes through the financial disclosure process, which he has to do, just as with any other senior appointment.

Question: A follow-up on that, follow up? There will be conflict of interest here. Someone going to Libya to mediate or work on the human rights issues and then he has interests in the regime, within the regime, if he is…

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: That’s not proven; that’s just based on something that, a report that he is saying. No, no, like I said, if there is anything that poses a conflict of interest, it would be incumbent on him to remove that before he begins his work. He is going through the same sort of vetting process as anyone else, which includes of course, the financial disclosures. Yes?

No. Watch this site

* * *

UN Envoy Al Khatib Is On Board of Jordan Ahli Bank, Links With Libya Central Bank

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, March 8 -- In selecting Abdul Ilah al Khatib as the UN's envoy on Libya, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon moved quickly -- maybe too quickly.

 Since serving as the foreign minister of Jordan, describe even some close to Ban as an autocracy, al Khatib has served on the boards of director not only of Lafarge Jordan Cement Company but also of Jordan Ahli Bank.

Jordan Ahli Bank is active beyond that country's borders. A sample connection: along with Libyan Foreign Bank, a fully owned subsidiary of the Central Bank of Libya, Jordan Ahli Bank is a top 20 shareholder of Union de Banques Arabes et Francaises.

   Could there be conflicts of interest? Did the UN's Ban administration even consider these?

   Ban previously claimed that 99% of his officials have made public financial disclosure. But when Inner City Press showed this is not true -- even Ban's close ally Choi Young-jin, his envoy in Cote d'Ivoire, declined to make public financial disclosure -- Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said Ban's statement had been “metaphorical.”

Now Ban names and injects al Khatib into a struggle about democracy and free press, when as Inner City Press noted yesterday

"Foreign Minister Abd al-Ilah al-Khatib in January initiated a criminal defamation suit against weekly newspaper al-Hilal's editor-in-chief Nasir Qamash and journalist Ahmad Salama. He [al-Khatib] objected to the content of a January article, and said his tribe had threatened to beat up Salama if he failed to take action. The case remains in the courts at this writing."

  By what process was al-Khatib vetted and selected? Watch this site.

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

 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.

* * *

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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