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Despite UN Recognition, Cote d'Ivoire Diplomat Can't Enter Mission Until Jan 3, Sources Say, US Diplomat Involved

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, December 31 -- Two days after the new Cote d'Ivoire Ambassador to the UN nominated by Alassane Ouattara had his credential accepted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, he had still not been able to enter the country's Mission to the UN in New York, Inner City Press has been told. He will enter at earliest on January 3, he has told Inner City Press, “in connection with a US senior diplomat.”

  Youssoufou Bamba flew to New York from his previous posting in Vienna and took questions from the Press on December 29. Video here.

  On December 30, sources told Inner City Press that Bamba was not able to get into the Ivorian Mission, that “someone inside kept changing the security code” to bar him access.

  This mirrors fights for the Ivorian embassies in Paris, Mali, Brussels, Guinea and elsewhere. Inner City Press wrote to Ambassador Bamba to ask if he had been blocked from the Mission to the UN: “After asking you questions on Wednesday at the UN (about International Criminal Court, etc), I've been told that you weren't able to get into the Cote d'Ivoire Mission to the UN, as a 'person inside' keeps changing the lock code. Please confirm or deny this.”

  Ambassador Bamba replied:

From: Youssoufou Joseph Bamba
Date: Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 1:35 PM
Subject: Press Q - you weren't able to get into Cote d'Ivoire Mission to UN? Please confirm or deny
To: Inner City Press

Dear Mattew, There no problem to my knowledge; all the personnel is informed of my inauguration in office on monday 3 jan 2011. This matter is being conducted by the charge d'affaires, Mr Ngbichi in connection with a US senior diplomat. Mr Ngbichi reported me that everything is in order for monday morning; thus our schedule still hold. Best regards, Ambassador Y Bamba

   Why rush to New York on December 29 for a photo op presenting credential to Ban Ki-moon and then not enter the Ivorian Mission nearby?

UN's Ban and Bamba, UN photo, ICP photo here

  Inner City Press has asked for the identify of the “US senior diplomat” and to attend the January 3 entering of the Mission. Watch this site.

Footnote: A senior UN official to whom Inner City Press directed a question about Bamba's banning from the Ivorian Mission expressed surprise, saying "that's the opposite of what happened in Brussels."

* * *

At UN, Ouattara's Bamba is Installed, Speaks of Genocide But Not How He's Paid

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 29 -- In New York on Wednesday, Laurent Gbagbo's former Ambassador to Austria Yousoufou Bamba became the Ouattara-nominated Permanent Representative of Cote d'Ivoire to the UN. After a ceremony with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Bamba sat to take questions.

  Inner City Press asked Bamba if the Ouattara government can confirm Gbagbo's use of mercenaries, and if it would support an investigation by the International Criminal Court of Gbagbo and his supporters. Inner City Press is putting exclusive video of the full Q&A online, here.

Bamba said first the killings must be stopped, before there is any discussion of the ICC. He referred, as the UN has, to markings on doors based on tribal affiliation, and said things are close to a “genocide.” He said there are Liberian mercenaries embedded in Gbagbo's Republican guard.

  With state broadcasters whom the UN has likened to those in Rwanda in 1994 now off the air outside of Abidjan, Inner City Press asked if Ouattara's forces had been involved in taking the stations off the air. Bamba refused to comment, just as the UN has.

UN's Ban & Bamba, call for ICC action and how paid not shown

  In light of Soro statements seeming to call for military action by ECOWAS, Inner City Press asked Bamba if Ouattara too supports outside intervention. Bamba said that there is a negotiation taking place that is sensitive, and that he would not discussion intervention, nor safe passage for Gbagbo.

  Inner City Press asked Bamba about his previous service to Gbagbo. Bamba responded that he is a civil servant of 25 years, who served under pre-Gbagbo Ivorian leaders. Later, Inner City Press asked Bamba how he is being paid, he called it “too personal” and said only that in his years as a civil servant he had developed savings.

  Since Bamba insisted repeatedly on his years as a diplomat, Inner City Press asked what he made of Russia's opposition in the Security Council to the press statement noting ECOWAS' recognition of Ouattara as the election's winner, and Russia's opposition to the change in credential from Djedje to himself. I was not here in those meetings, Bamba said, refusing to comment further.

  The presentation of credential ceremony included the same Ivorian Mission Deputy who served under Djedje, and has held the seat since. US Ambassador Susan Rice told Inner City Press he had not gone over to "the dark side," and he will apparently continue.

  How big a change Bamba will be remains to be seen. Watch the video -- click here -- and watch this site.

Footnote: present at Bamba's handshake with Ban Ki-moon was Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky. Throughout this week, Inner City Press has directed to Nesirky questions about Cote d'Ivoire, Sudan and other UN topics, without any answers. On Wednesday morning, Nesirky indicated there would be answers later in the day. As of this publication at 2:30 in the afternoon, no answers have been received. We'll have more on this.

 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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