With Ban Ki-Moot Mute, Obama's US Nixes Gaza Investigation Cite in UN Council
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, January 22 -- Returning
voiceless from the Gaza Strip and Israel, the UN's Ban Ki-moon sat
afternoon in the Security Council chamber, listening as his American
Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe read out his call for an investigation of
Israel's bombings of UN facilities, in the first instance by Israel
for humanitarian aid and reconstruction. While the shift to
became the focus of the press corps waiting impatiently at the
the consultations room the negotiation of a Council press statement
Libya proposed, and most members agreed
paragraph mirroring Ban's
muted investigation call. But the United States, represented for now by
servant Alejandro Wolff, was having none of it. Inner City Press is
sources in the meeting that the US would not agree to any reference to
investigations. These sources marveled that, even with Obama now in
would be the US position. They contrasted it to the Council's reaction
Israeli bombing in Lebanon during the 2006 war, or to an immediate
of a Sudanese attack on a convoy, which after denying, Sudan apologized
this the change
you could believe in, the source asked. It remains to be seen.
Council leadership predicted that new US Ambassador Susan Rice will
New York on Monday. But even absent his Rice, isn't Obama already in
The Secretariat's press availability,
Council briefing, was
handled by Lynn Pascoe. Inner City Press started it off, asking who
is that Ban wants to do the investigation. Pascoe reiterated the new
line, "in the first instance... a report from Israel." Video here,
from Minute 1:58.
UN's Ban in Gaza, with Lynn Pascoe and Kim Won-soo
But reporter after reporter zeroed in
change. The Washington Post followed up on Inner City Press' question,
that both John Ging and John Holmes had called for an independent
Pascoe grew testy, reminding the Press that Ban went to get a
ceasefire and got one, we're not saying he got it alone -- Ban's
used this very same formulation -- but it was gotten. Give Ban the man
was the implication. And one wanted to, at least for a day. But he runs
of morphing from Ban Ki-Mute to Ban Ki-moot.
On the Obama
front, Inner City Press asked Pascoe is he anticipates any change in
his status, will it remain the same? Pascoe dodged that part of the
question, saying that of course the UN wants to work with the US. As he
walked away from the microphone he was asked, "Did you vote for Obama?"
Amid laughter, he did not answer. Video here,
from Minute 16:05.
Ban to his credit, even
unable to speak, did come to the stakeout. When the open meeting ended,
emerged with his entourage. While they may have preferred that he make
line to the elevators, Ban came over to the Press, shaking hands. An
critical correspondent commented of Ban, he's a gentleman. Ban
his voice, and for not taking questions. Why not by e-mail, Inner City
asked. If Obama's glued to his BlackBerry, how to engage with Ban
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
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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