on Libya, Churkin of Russia Tells Western Spokesman Not to Spin the
Press, "This Is Where Distortions Come From"
March 21 -- Outside the UN Security Council on Monday
afternoon, a Western Council member's spokesman was telling reporters
that as he had predicted, the Council had declined requests for any
meeting about the military action in Libya
Vitaly Churkin came out of the Council chamber and
apparently heard this. He stopped on the steps up to street level,
turned back and said, “I must say to that young man, the President
of the Council is supposed to brief the media.”
pointed at the
Western spokesman and asked, “You are from which delegation?”
spokesman answered. (Since these spokespeople say they are speaking
on background, for now the answer is being withheld.)
“Double check with your Ambassador. It's really impolite
and rude. It's the President who is supposed to brief the media.”
went upstairs, there was speculation about what had triggered the
confrontation. On March 16, Churkin had complained about being
portrayed as an obstructionist.
Press later on March 16
asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about what Churkin had said about
Russia's ceasefire in Libya proposal. She said the proposal did not
go far enough.
Churkin came back. “Now we know where all the distortions come
suggested to him that the Russian Mission's spokesman should brief
the media more often.
Churkin previously speaks to press, spokesman not shown
seems to be the consensus among most
of the stakeout press corps, others note that some delegation's
spokespeople are more likely that others to tell reporters about
other countries' positions, while demanding off the record treatment.
during the first Council resolution on Libya earlier
this year, when Portugal
was accused off the record of being “weak”
on the referral of the case of Libya to the International Criminal
were urged to “ask Brazil” if they were making problems with the
ICC referral. In fact they were, though not at the spinner had
implied. Rather, Brazil objected to the US demanded
carve out from
the ICC referral for countries that are not members of the ICC: not
only the US, but such countries as Algeria and Ethiopia, which are
not members of the ICC.
“Now we know
where all the distortions come from”? Oh that it were so. Watch
* * *
to Libya Al-Khatib's Pay from Jordan Raises Press Questions at
UN, Stonewalling Continues
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
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.
UN has yet to
address these conflict of interest, instead telling Inner City Press
file a financial disclosure at some later date.
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.
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.
Ban & al-Khatib in 2007, directorships & Jordan pay not shown
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?
was turned down by Lakhdar Brahimi and Kemal Dervis, neither of whom
work for and receive pay from a government, before Ban settled on
has become a lawless place of opaque conflicts of interest, where
topics on these questions are not answered, are even retaliated
of the March 16 noon briefing:
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?
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.
And is he a USG [Under Secretary General]? What is his
position and compensation for this role?
Envoy; I’d need to check precisely what the rank
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.
its March 11 noon briefing:
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]…?
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
what time frame? Has he filled it out yet? Has OIOS
[Office of Internal Oversight Services]…?
He was only just appointed, Matthew!
understand, but it seems to raise possible conflicts
of interest even as his service begins.
don’t file a financial disclosure the
minute you get appointed.
only the UN, that’s an official has to file a
form after the person is already named?
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
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
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?
Watch this site.