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In UN GA, Ban's "Coup" Voted Down 98-48 As He Won't Disclose Funding

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 -- The vote against giving UN Secretary General the "Change Management" powers he wants grew more pronounced Monday in the UN General Assembly, where a US-sponsored pro-Ban amendment was voted down with 48 in favor (up one from the Budget Committee vote on April 2), 97 against (up nine from April 2), with four abstentions.

  Delegates told Inner City Press that while most of the increased opposition to Ban's Change Management power-grab or "coup" represented countries which had not been present on April 2, it was significant that what they called the US "lobbying" had not had success.

  To many, the vote was not a set-back for Ban's so-called reform, but rather an expression of democratization at the UN: an openly pro-West Secretary General should not be able to bypass the other member states in the General Assembly. That Ban thought he could do it, the analysis goes, show him to be out of touch.

  A senior Fifth Committee source early on April 9 said that maybe Ban's new chief of staff Susana Malcorra would come and speak to the General Assembly before the vote, to try to sway some votes. It did not happen. Rather, after the US amendment was voted down, the Group of 77 sponsored resolution calling Ban to account was passed, 98 in favor (up one from minutes before), 48 against and four abstaining.

  Afterward the European Union predicted an upcoming fight on the scales of assessment, and US Ambassador Joe Torsella, whose positions we'd like to understand and be able to explain in a non "one-way" fashion, again decried the deferral of changes including to travel. He has spoken of interns flying business class, and a proposal for Ban officials to fly Economy class on flights below six hours in a single country.

   While some say Ban can't practice what he preaches, there are questions about the size of delegations he takes with him, and why he won't routinely disclose when he take non-UN travel and how it is not a conflict of interest.

  Only because the Qatari President of the General Assembly acknowledged it was a confirmation received by Inner City Press that Ban used a Qatar government -- that is, royal family -- jet. What has he flown on since, and what will he fly on in the future? Change management, indeed. Watch this site.

An analysis: again, the irony here is that the US and EU put their "reform" -- often meaning "cost cutting" -- faith in Ban Ki-moon, who is hardly a reformer and has for example overseen a $433 million cost overrun on the Capital Master Plan.
  It seems to some they do not really see him as a reformer -- how could they? -- but rather as someone they can and do control. But the opposition, then, is not between GA or G77 "bureacracy" and agile reform, but between whether a Western controlled puppet should be free to do what the West says, or have to answer UN democracy style to other member states...

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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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