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After Budget Committee Curtails his "Coup," Ban Thanks Them for Feedback

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 3 -- The day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's attempt to bypass the General Assembly with a "Change Management" program now led by his right hand man Kim Won-soo was roundly rejected by in three 90 to 47 votes in the Budget Committee, Ban issued a wan statement thanking member states for their input.

  Monday night Inner City Press exclusively covered the rejection of a US sponsored amendment to the Group of 77's resolution requiring Ban to come for GA approval of Change Management, rather than make moves unilaterally in what some took to calling Ban's coup.

  Tuesday at the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky what Ban thought of what several member states called a debacle. Nesirky had no comment except that he might have something later.

  Tuesday at 6:27 pm Nesirky informed the press that he belatedly had this to say:

In response to questions about the Fifth Committee and the Secretary-General's Change Management plans, the Spokesperson has the following to say:

The Secretary-General appreciates the interest of all Member States in the recommendations included in that report. In particular, the Secretary-General notes the constructive comments and feedback received over the last several days. The Secretary-General provides his assurances that he will, as requested, seek consideration and prior approval for the implementation of those recommendations referred to in the resolution.

  Then why was Ban trying to bypass the General Assembly? And why did he think it would be allowed, especially as he's overseen a $433 million cost overrun on the Capital Master Plan?

  One particularly well-placed Budget Committee diplomat snarked that "it was very amusing to hear Ambassador Torsella say that the Secretary General should be able to change air travel regulations on his own authority, despite the fact that the US negotiators were engaging on the draft resolution on air travel dealing with these issues throughout the first resumed session.

 "Moreover, Ambassador Susan Rice herself was on the phone to a number of G-77 Perm Reps, trying to get them not to vote for the resolutions. Demarches were also made in capitals. In his letter to member states transmitting the change plan, Ban 'acknowledged broad endorsement' of the recommendations. It would be interesting to know if, after last night, he still feels there is broad endorsement."

  This is not answered in Ban's wan statement.

From the UN's transcript of its April 3 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: Last night in the Fifth Committee, usually no votes are taken, but last night votes were taken, three votes, it was Ban Ki-moon’s change management proposal which the EU and the US wanted t go through without GA review. In fact, it has been made subject to GA review. Many people decried it, the G-77 won the vote — 93 to 47, and I just wonder, what does the Secretary-General think? Does he, does he now intend to bring those proposals to the GA? And also one smaller question that arose was this position, this, Robert Orr, Mr. Robert Orr position of public-private partnerships, is it in the budget? What Department is it in and how is it funded?

Spokesperson: On the latter question, I’d have to check with you, Matthew; I’ll check for you, Matthew. On the first part, I think I’ll probably have something to say a little bit later on this, but I don’t have anything right now.

  The Bob Orr question has yet to be answered -- watch this site.

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