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When UN Guterres Met China's Ma Zhaoxu, Deputy There Too, Citing Geneva, Economics

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photo, Periscope

UNITED NATIONS, January 30 – When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres formally accepted the credentials of China's new Permanent Representative Ma Zhaoxu, he had his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed with him, and his spokesman on the way. In the run-up, Mohammed told UN Political Affairs official Miroslav Jenca she'd seen news of his trip to Lebanon and gravely cited economics. She praised Ma Zhhaoxu, saying she'd met him in Geneva on health. Then Guterres joked in the hall about charging $1000 dollars, before consenting to the credentials ceremony, Periscope video here. Alamy photos here. The Press was ushered out - earlier, Mohammed had refused an Inner City Press question about Cameroon - and at the elevator, there was UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who explicitly refused to get an answer from Guterres about legal compliance. We'll have more on this. Back on January 22 when Guterres met Mali's Foreign Minister Tiéman Hubert Coulibaly on January 22, it was supposed to happen t 7 pm. But Guterres was still talking in the ECOSOC chamber, a meeting in advance of which Inner City Press had tried to ask him and his Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed a question at 3 pm. Vine video here. They didn't answer, and when Guterres arrived past 7 pm on the 38th floor, at first he forgot to do the standard handshake (grip and grin) with Coulibaly, who has replaced Abdoulaye Diop this year. Alamy photo here; Periscope video here. Then he told Coulibaly that his meeting in ECOSOC was supposed to last two hours but lasted four, leaving his program knocked-over (bouleverse). Coulibaly did a longer than usual these days entry in the UN visitors book, then Inner City Press, the only independent media there, was shepherded out. Down on the second floor, Amina J. Mohammed and her entourage were heading up. But still no answer. Inner City Press has lodged a formal request with the Department of Public Information - or "Global Communications" as Alison Smale called it in the UN Lobby at 6:20 pm - for an end to DPI/GC's censorship and restrictions on the Press. We'll have more on this. Back on January 19 when Guterres met Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman H. Safadi, the meeting began eight minutes before it was scheduled. Inner City Press has arrived early and was screened by UN Security, which asked, Is that camera on? While not filming, it was on - which alone allowed Inner City Press to photograph the perfunctory grip and grin handshake, photo here. Afterward, since Guterres had done the handshake without even his own UN Photo staffer there, Inner City Press was asked where the Jordan mission can find the photos. Well, here. It was confirmed that on January 18, as Inner City Press first reported, Guterres held a dinner and meeting, even negotiation, with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov without putting it on his UN public schedule, even belatedly. Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric why and he called it a "private dinner." Well, with public funds, in the same UN dining room where Guterres complained to Gillian Tett of the Financial Times about the the fish and wine he was served. This is today's UN. On January 18 when Guterres met new Security Council member Kuwait's Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah, photo here, he had with him his chief of staff and long time Middle East hand, for the US and UN, Jeffrey Feltman. Unlike at the just prior photo op with South Korea, for which Inner City Press was the only media not a part of the UN Department of Public Information, for Kuwait there were five cameramen, one of whom recounted just flying to New York from Kuwait via Paris, and returning tomorrow via London. Talk about climate change. In Guterres' side dining room plates for dinner were set up, with name tags including the Russian Ambassador Nebenzia - the dinner presumably with and for Foreign Minister Lavrov. But it was not even listed on Guterres' schedule. We'll have more on this. Earlier, when Guterres met South Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam on January 18, photo here, Periscope video here, accompanying him was Feltman, who visited Pyongyang last year and, as Inner City Press exclusively reported yesterday, is said by UN staff to be trying to set up a similar trip for Guterres. Also in on the meet was the UN's head of disarmament, Japan's Izumi Nakamitsu. Nuclear weapons, you might say, were on the table. But the photo op was fast and the Press was shepherded out. Half an hour earlier when Guterres met Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldayev of the Kyrgyz Republic a/k/a Kyrgyzstan, photo here, he was accompanied by one of his rivals to have become SG, Natalia Gherman. Guterres put her in charge of the UN's office for Central Asia and she's in town, along with the region's ministers, for Kazakhstan's back to back Security Council meetings. (The January 19 meeting about Afghanistan, it now seems, will be without the Afghan foreign minister). Just outside Guterres' conference room in a large white paper bag was a gift from Kazakhstan, in a blue velvet box. Will it disappear without explanation like the golden statue Guterres took in October from Cameroon's Paul Biya?  Back on January 15 when Guterres - without Natalia Gherman - met Uzbek foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, he was instead accompanied by the UN Department of Political Affairs' Miroslav Jenca, who used to head the UN's office in Central Asia. The affable Jenca, when boarding the elevator on the 35th floor where the "hot desking" (or waste) at DPA was visible (along with DPA's sometimes Kenya official Roselyn Akombe), joked You have more freedom than I do and that he hoped his phone would behave at this photo op. Inner City Press quickly said that no harm had been meant in its previous reporting of a news flash from Jenca's phone during a photo op (though that report might be behind Alison Smale's Department of Public Information issuing a Kafka-esque threat to Inner City Press' accreditation, here, and keeping it out of its office, with minders). Press (UN) freedom, as we'll cover in connection with another visit later this week from the region. After the very short photo op, on the way out Guterres' Fabrizio Hochschild walked with Tony Banbury, who did a review of the UN in Iraq, completed in mid-November. And now? We'll have more on all this, including the seeming lack of "hot desking" or imposition of flexible workspace on Guterres' 38th floor. Is it another case of Do as I say, not as I do? Earlier on January 15 when Guterres met Sigrid Kaag, he joked before the Press was ushered out that he could not get used to her new role, as Dutch minister, still seeing her with the UN (from Lebanon to Syria chemical weapons.) In those UN roles, Kaag blocked Inner City Press on Twitter. Notably she stopped the blocking as soon as she left the UN, showing that the UN either encourages or has fewer disincentives to censorship than the private sector. The Netherlands is now on the Security Council, but its Permanent Representative was not seen at Kaag's meeting with Guterres. (He fairness, he is just back from the Security Council's weekend trip to Afghanistan.) A minute before his meeting with Kaag, Guterres came in from his private dining room. He had a listed 2 pm meeting with Rodrigo Maia, President, Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, and after Kaag a 4 pm meeting with Spyridon Flogaitis, Director, European Public Law Organization, both of them Closed-Press. The latter was set to be followed by Uzbekistan's foreign minister Abdulaziz Kamilov at 4:30 and then Lebanon's post Judge Nawaf Salam ambassador Amal Mudallali at 6 pm. Back on January 12 when Guterres met with Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide, it came the morning after US President Donald Trump's reported comments contrasting Norway to "sh*thole" countries. So Inner City Press came to cover their meeting or at least the photo op. On the way, UN Security officers repeatedly told Inner City Press there would be a problem with its practice of live-streaming Periscope video, or more specifically, audio. On the 37th floor, Inner City Press pointed out that UNTV runs audio. But they're official, was the reply, I'm only telling you what I've been told to say. (Higher-ups from the Department of Public Information of Alison Smale have issued Kafka-esque threats, here.) Still Inner City Press was not stopped from taking its microphone up to the 38th floor. The photo op began almost immediately, Periscope here, and Guterres after shepherding Soreide from grin and grin to sign-in book, sat at his conference table and said, "Thank you very much." It was over. It was said that Soreide would made remarks, perhaps about Trump's comments but it did not happen, at least in Guterres' conference room. Coming up as Inner City Press was hurried out were Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, and Guterres' adviser, previously the French mission's legal adviser, Tanguy Stehelin. As of the time of the photo op, the UN's only response had been by lame-duck Human Rights Commission Prince Zeid, who has relatedly been quiet on the UN's abuses in Haiti, and Nigeria's abduction of leaders of Southern Cameroons / Ambazonia. But that's another story. Back on December 18 when Guterres met Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, he joked that Fico must have stopped in to see the President of the General Assembly, fellow Slovak Miroslav Lajcak. Less funny, but as yet unacted on by Guterres, is the November 20 indictment of Senegal's former foreign minister Cheikh Gadio, along with Patrick Ho of China Energy Fund Committee, in a case alleging bribery of Lajcak's predecessor as UN PGA Sam Kutesa, as well as Chad's Idriss Deby. Guterres has not even initiated an audit in response to this UN bribery indictment. As to Fico, given his recent statements on Libya, one can only imagine what a read out of his meeting with Guterres would say. Guterres has stopped issuing read-outs, another cut back in transparency. On the way up to the photo op, Inner City Press witness several gift distributors, from bottles of liquor to envelopes, as well as recently built partition walls on the 30th floor being torn down, in a classic example of UN waste. (See Inner City Press exclusive story, here.) The UN under Guterres has become even more corrupt, and less transparent. Not only is the investigative Press restricted, more so than no show state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom (given Inner City Press' long time office but not even present for the day's vote on Egypt's Jerusalem resolution) - on the 37th floor, UN Security made a point of re-checking Inner City Press' badge, then of closing the door to the conference room on 38 so that whoever was coming out of Guterres' office could not be seen. Who was it? Watch this site. Back on November 9 when Guterres met Turkey's PMBinali Yildirim, the Turkish delegation brought their own security officers to the photo op. Periscope video here. Guterres had finished a long afternoon, calling Kenya's Ambassador "sincerely unfair" down in Conference Room 2, and taking photos with UN Police down in the basement. In between he'd come up to meet Sri Lanka's Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation a day after Inner City Press asked about torture by that country's army. Before that, Jeffrey Feltman who has played a role in the rift between Guterres and Kenya was in Guterres' office, then by the elevators. Will there be a memoir? After the Turkish photo op, mixed results in the International Court of Justice voting. Lebanon's Nawaf Salam won a seat, but India's Bhandari and UK Greenwood will fight another round on Monday. Only at the UN. Back on November 7 when Guterres met Argentina's President Mauricio Macri on November 7, Macri had come from the site of the recent terrorist attack on the West Side Highway bike path. Guterres has just returned from three days in Lisbon, justified by a 15-minute speech. In Guterres' team to meet Macri was fellow Argentine Virginia Gamba, previously on Syria chemical weapons. Down in the Security Council, her successor Edmond Mulet was being asked questions he didn't answer (Inner City Press / Alamy photos of Nikki Haley and Syria's Ja'afari at the meeting, here.) Somewhere on the 38th floor Guterres' Deputy Amina Mohammed was holding two meeting, while her office (and Guterres' spokespeople) never answered a simple Press question for a copy of a speech she gave at a $25,000 a sponsor fundraiser. Inner City Press, already subject to a Kafka-esque threat to accreditation by Guterres' head of Global Communications Alison Smale for using Periscope during photo op(s) on the 38th floor, was surveilled as it prepared to Periscope. Thus it missed what others captured: Guterres' personal back pad being put in his chair, him walking by with notes for the Macri meeting. This is today's UN. On November  3 Guterres accepted the credentials of El Salvador's new Ambassador Ruben Armando Escalante Hasbun on November 1, a successor to Carlos Garcia who was exposed as having helped money laundering in the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe UN bribery trial in July 2017. Under Guterres, these practices continue - in fact, Guterres has become even less transparent. For example, on November 3 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who had just cut short Inner City Press' questions about Guterres' inaction on the killings by the Cameroon government, these questions: "is the Secretary General having a one-on-one lunch on 38th floor today? is it with a journalist / editor? is it on or off the record? why isn't this lunch on the SG's public schedule? is it with Gillian Tett?" Dujarric's and the UN's answer on this: "I have nothing to say to the SG’s schedule that’s not public." So Guterres decides which meeting are not public. Inner City Press has asked: "On the lunch, the question is WHY it is not public. Can it be considered "internal"?" Watch this site. On October 31 Guterres met Human Rights Council president Joaquin Alexander Maza Martelli, saying "Bienvenido" repeatedly before ushering the Press to leave: essentially, Adios. That's what the Trump administration is considering saying to the UN Human Rights Council, now after the election of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the Council. The UN Secretariat has its own human rights problems. Not only impunity for sexual abuse by peacekeepers and bringing cholera to Haiti, not only praising and accepting gift from human rights abusers like Cameroon's Paul Biya, but also for example disparate treatment and retaliatory restrictions on the investigative Press. Guterres has not reversed this. In fact, on October 20 his Department of Public Information under Alison Smale issued a further threat to Inner City Press' accreditation, citing an undefined violation at a stakeout just like that on October 31. This threat comes just as Inner City Press pursues Team Gutereres inaction on the killings in Cameroon. Guterres met French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on October 30, three days after he took an award from Cameroon's French-supported president Paul Biya. Inner City Press came early for the photo op but was delayed, then hindered. . But Inner City Press belatedly went, and although DPI's Kafka-esque theats made it suspend the Periscope, it can report that with Guterres were his pro-Biya adviser Khassim Diagne, and former French mission legal adviser (an office in the orbit of Beatrice Le Frapeur du Hellen, Inner City Press scoop here). Under DPI's censorship orders, we'll wait to report more, including on the push to get the US to pay for the G5 Sahel force - except what was in plain sight, Guterres' personal back rest being installed in his chair. Guterres met Spain's Secretary of State Ildefonso Castro López on October 16, hours after Spain won a seat on the UN Human Rights Council with no mention of its crackdown in Catalonia. Guterres has also been scheduled to meet the foreign minister of Togo Robert Dussey just before, but that meeting or at least photo op got canceled, as did a stakeout by Guterres that UNTV had been setting up for in the morning. As Inner City Press has exclusively reported, Guterres or his Global Communications chief aim to make this upcoming trip to Central African Republic a litmus test of how to present the UN in a positive light - despite the sexual abuse by peacekeepers. We'll have covering, rather than covering up, that. On October 12 Guterres belatedly swore in three senior official on October 12: Vladimir Voronkov, USG for Counter-Terrorism, Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament, and Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator. Photos of each here. Inner City Press arrived early for the photo op, but found itself in a long line with tourists at the metal detectors on 45th Street. Because it covered UN bribery of John Ashe and Ng Lap Seng, it was evicted and now is slowed in entering, confined to minders once in. But up on the 38th floor the head of UN Security greeted the incoming trio, particularly the UN Relief Chief. He was candid on Yemen; Ms. Nakamitsu's office only sends out information selectively. Jeffrey Feltman was not there, apparently on his way to Myanmar. There is still no non-interim Special Adviser on Africa. We'll have more on this. On October 9 Inner City Press went to cover Guterres' meeting with Bangladesh's Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhit. Present for the meeting - the UN side, notably, was all men, photo here - was UN Elections. After being quickly ushered out, in the elevator down was Darrin Farrant of the UN Department of Public Information, who more than a month ago when asked provide the email address of his new boss, Alison Smale. But petitions to Smale about unjustifiable restrictions on Press have gone unanswered; some from Cameroon have noted not only Smale “inordinate” focus on her former beat, Germany, on Catalonia, but also her DPI's lawless restrictions on the Press. She was not present on October 12, instead DPI was represented by Maher "It's all about you" Nasser, who refused to reverse his previous boss' censorship when he was in charge. On October 9 to stakeout the General Assembly meeting Inner City Press was required to get a DPI escort, unlike other no-show state media like Akhbar al Yom which DPI is trying to give Inner City Press' office, which sit empty. At the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked for a read out of the Bangladesh meeting (four hours later, none has been provided), and again for a read out of the Philippines meeting ten days before on September 29. That day at noon Guterres' spokesman, when Inner City Press asked whether there would be any action on UN staff in Myanmar describing retaliation by UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessalien, said only that Guterres stands behind Lok-Dessalien. So much for whistleblower protection. On Cameroon, Guterres' belated concern is not about killed civilians, but "territorial integrity." Then for a 2:45 pm photo op of Guterres and Philippines foreign minister Alan Peter S. Cayetano, Inner City Press arrived hte prescribed half hour early. It was screened and then told to wait, even after 2:45 pm. When it was allowed into the conference room, the handshake had already taken place. Dujarric, seen on 37, had earlier refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about UN Security surveillance camera(s) over the UN media bullpen, or safeguards on the use of the footage. This is Guterres' UN. After Guterres grip and grin sessions on the UN's 27th floor during UN General Assembly high level week, his meetings and photo ops on September 27 with the foreign ministers of Eritrea and Iran were back on the 38th floor, with USg Jeff Feltman at both meetings. Both countries are subject to sanctions; Iran's Javad Zarif was on his way to speak at the Asia Society. He entered jauntily. But the UN is getting more and more murky; Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to say how NGO(s) purchasing an event in the UN General Assembly Hall on August 23 were vetted, even after the Ng bribery verdict. On August 18 Guterres said that the UN's principles are those of humanity; he made much of Miroslv Jenca being from Slovakia. Meanwhile his spokesman wouldn't confirm that Jenca's colleague Taye-Brook Zerihoun is leaving, to be replaced by Kenya's Monica Juma. We'll have more on this. There were: Gabon PR Michel Xavier Biang, Lithuania PR Audra Plepytë, Slovakia PR Michal Mlynár, Slovenia PR Darja Bavdaž Kuret, NZ PR Craig John Hawke, Ireland PR Geraldine Byrne Nason, PR, Ireland and Francophonie PO Narjess Saidane. On August 16 Guterres schmoozed correspondents about Croatia and his vacation; after a stakeout in which he refused to comment on the Ng Lap Seng verdict, photos here, he had a 4:30 pm photo op with meeting with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. Photos on Alamy here; Inner City Press Periscope here; it was the only media there other than a lone Serbian cameraman. Guterres called Dacic young and the latter replied that he is 51. Then the press was ushered out. Before Dacic arrived, Guterres squired out a duo who was not on his schedule. As noted, a diplomat complained Guterres is "just bringing in people he knew in Geneva, nothing new, no improvements." On Press freedom, Inner City Press must concur: it remains restricted for covering now convicted Ng Lap Seng's bribes; the Egyptian state media the UN is trying to give its office wasn't even present for Egypt's August 2 press conference, has never asked a question. And on transparency: the sources said seven day, but when Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric on July 31, Dujarric said for two week, Guterres will be "in Europe." Periscope video here. He is on leave, on vacation. On August 1, Dujarric repeatedly said the Secretary General thinks this, feels that - and Inner City Press asked, how do you know? At briefings in Washington reporters routinely ask, did you speak with your principle about X, Y or Z. But the UN feels it doesn't have to answer. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: in the answers you were giving about the Secretary-General believes this on Venezuela, thinks this, can… given what you have said yesterday about his schedule, is this based on, is this a DPA statement, is it actually something they run by him, how does it work?

Spokesman:  It works that it comes out of my mouth.  That’s how it works.  Next question.  Next question.

 Yes, we will have more questions. On July 31, Inner City Press asked if there is any press pool - no - and if Dujarric will at least in the future announce week-long absences by Guterres in advance. Dujarric did not say yes (he did, however, repeat that claim that the UN was the victim in its corruption case, saying that Yiping Zhou is gone. But what about Navid Hanif, who went to Macau? What about Meena Sur, who helped Ng? Both of them, and others involved, are still in the UN). This lack of transparency stands in contrast to the executive branch in Washington and even New York routinely disclosing travel including vacation travel. But the UN has no press protections either - Guterres has been asked. Meanwhile his spokespeople says the UN should get paid for the UNreformed corruption shown in the Ng trial and verdict. We'll have more on this. When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on July 27 had a brief meeting with Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Qatar state media and other UN based photographers went up. Alamy photos here. There were complaints how short the handshake was; Inner City Press noted that on the UN side of the table were only four people, all men, including Jeffrey Feltman. Periscope video here. Guterres was scheduled to be at another meeting in 25 minutes time. So will the UN help solve the stand-off in the Gulf? It seems unlikely. The UN never answered Inner City Press' questions of if Feltman had visited Saudi Arabia and if not, why not. Back on July 19 Guterres.had a meeting and photo op with Spain's Foreign Minister Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo. Inner City Press went to cover it, Alamy photos here, Periscope video here including of whether Dastis should write "una poema" in the UN visitors' book. Inner City Press barely arriving on time due to the crowd of tourists at the UN's visitors entrance. It has been this way since Spain's now-gone Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press evicted from and still restricted at the UN after Inner City Press asked her about attending indicted Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng's South South Awards, and allowing Ng fundees improper events in the UN. Although Guterres did not continue Gallach's contract - she lobbied to stay, but failed - her negative impacts are still in evidence. The Spanish Mission to the UN, now off the Security Council, likewise did nothing to reign Gallach in. But surely they are lobbying Guterres to get another Under Secretary General position, even as their Fernando Arias Gonzalez runs against six others to head the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. We'll have more on this. The day before on July 18 Guterres had a meeting and photo op with the Dominican Republic's Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado (Alamy photos here, Periscope video here); it came one day after in the UN bribery case against Ng Lap Seng a video of then
then-President Leonel Fernandez Reyna visiting South South News near the UN was discussed. That video is here. South South News was a bribery conduit, its funds used for gambling by Dominican Deputy Permanent Representative Francis Lorenzo in Las Vegas and Atlantic City while the UN's Department of Public Information let SSN's content into UNTV archives and let Ng fundees have impermissible events in the UN. On July 18, Guterres' Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq refused to answer Inner City Press' yes or no questions about South South News and the UN. After the July 18 photo op, Inner City Press had nowhere to edit - for seeking to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room in pursuing the UN / SSN corruption story, Inner City Press was evicted and still restricted. And in the DR there are protests about corruption. So what did the minister and Guterres discuss? Haiti? These days there are no read-outs at the UN. On July 13 Guterres had a meeting and photo op (Periscope here) with Estonia's President Kersti Kaljulaid, listed in the country's delegation was the coordinator of its run for a Security Council seat, Margus Kolga, previously the country's UN ambassador. Of the run, he has said "there are very many small nations. We are a small nation which came out from under occupation. We may serve as example to them, that this is possible and that a small nation has another perspective on the world which needs to be represented at the council. Most nations have spent far above the million we intend to." At least that is transparent. By contrast, Guterres' UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric earlier on July 13 refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe (RIP) UN bribery case, and even declined to answer Inner City Press' question about member states asking (it) whether Guterres will produce any document on reform prior to his July 22 retreat. So much for We the Peoples. But hello in the Security Council, it would seem, Estonia. Dujarric has repeatedly refused to provide a list of who works on Guterres' 38th floor; by eye Inner City Press noticed former French Mission legal adviser Tanguy Stehelin. Seconded? Dujarric has not answered. We'll have more on this. On July 12 when Guterres swore in six UN officials (some of them simply being re-shuffled), Inner City Press went to cover it. While Guterres swore in Olga Algayerova as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, the mobile phone seemingly of Miroslav Jenca went off with a loud BBC news bulletin about Donald Trump Jr and Russia. Periscope video here. Achim Steiner was installed as head of the UN Development Program, at the very time that UNDP is losing control of the Resident Coordinator system to Gutteres' and Amina J. Mohammed's Secretariat. More seriously, when the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe prosecution continues in Federal court in lower Manhattan, there are been few reforms at the UN. There is still a lack of transparency, and business people buying their way in a Ng did through the UN Department of Public Information under Cristina Gallach. As Inner City Press covered it, Gallach had Inner City Press evicted and still restricted; the acting head of DPI, Maher Nasser, has done nothing to reverse it. There is still no new Special Adviser on Africa - Inner City Press is told that an Angolan turned it down - and the new head of OCHA, Mark Lowcock, doesn't start until September. The UN must reform. Also sworn in on July 12 were UN veteran Jan Beagle, Under-Secretary-General for Management; able former Iraqi Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia; Namvamanee Ratna Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict; JIM veteran Virginia Gamba, as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (as Yemen was the topic in the Security Council.) On July 10 Guterres has a photo op with Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar. It was supposed to be in his office in UN Headquarters at 4:30 pm. But on little notice he moved it to his - make that, the UN and the public's - mansion on Sutton Place and 57th Street, at 4 pm. Inner City Press jumped on the city bus up First Avenue, broadcasting a Periscope video about the change, when suddenly it was urged to stop broadcasting by a board member of the UN Correspondents Association, which Guterres' deputy spoke before last week and whose former president Giampaolo Pioli's Hampton's gratiuty-fest the UN acting head of Public Information Maher Nasser attended, the UN Censorship Alliance. This is today's UN. Still, up on Sutton Place UN Security brought up a sniffing dog in a UN 4x4, and two quick photos were allowed before Guterres escorted Holguin onto "his" elevator.  Back at the UN, the door to the UN Security Council stakeout was locked, and the turnstile where targeting Inner City Press' ID pass no longer works was guarded by new UN Security who didn't even recognize the UN minder. Still, we got this Periscope, despite UN censorship which continues. Much later at 8:30 pm, Guterres' holdover spokesman issued this. Will there be reform?  On July 5 Guterres had as a series of five credential photo ops on July 5, Inner City Press Periscoped all of them, with a particular eye on Zambia and Mauritania. Zambia's returning Permanent Representative Lazarus Kapambwe gave the greeting of his president; one wondered if in the ten minute closed door meeting that followed the continued lock-up of opposition figure HH was raised. (Inner City Press has repeatedly asked Guterres' holdover spokesman about it, with only vague generalities resulting). Mauritania, Guterres called "un pillier" (just as he ten minutes later called Moldova a pillar) - but did Western Sahara, on which there has been no UN envoy for some time, come up? Moldova's past Permanent Representative moved in the South South News world of Ng Lap Seng, now on trial for UN bribery, although that may have been in his "personal capacity." And last was South Centre, which is testifying this week to the World Intellectual Property Organization, whose director Francis Gurry's retaliation and patent work for North Korea Guterres has apparently not raised with him. Guterres was slated to present reform plans at 11 am, but in the Ecosoc Chamber which evicted and restricted Inner City Press is required to seek a minder to cover, unlike other less interested media like Egypt's state Akhbar al Yom. This is today's - and now Guterres' - UN.  Inner City Press' Haiti questions remain unanswered, among with Cameroon, the Rif and more. Guterres will hold a press conference on June 20 - Inner City Press asked his spokesman to confirm all topics are on the table. He said yes. We'll see. Guterres swore in three new officials on June 7, Inner City Press went to the photo op (photos here) and small ceremony, which included reclusive head of UN Peacekeeping Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the UN's head of Information Technology, Atul Khare and Miroslav Jenca, previously head of the UN's office in Turkmenistan. It's to there that Guterres tonight takes off on his most recent trip, amid crises in the Gulf and elsewhere, UN failures in Cameroon and Yemen, and continuing Press censorship and lack of reform. Guterres swore in Ursula Mueller as Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (she's already been on the job for 100 days, she said); Fekitamoeloa Katoa Utoikamanu on Tonga, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States; and Alexander Zuev as Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions. With him, Guterres hearkened back to his interview, and said thank you in Russian. Periscope video here. As to the still unfilled Department of Public Information post vacated by corrupt censor Cristina Gallach, Inner City Press is informed of interviewees currently based in Paris and Geneva. It is not or should not be a system run without rules by the top person, but rather one in which the media have due process and appeals rights, and retaliatory action are reversed. Flier here. Guterres will soon by the flier: we'll be covering it. The evening before on June 6 when Guterres did a photo op (Periscope here) and meeting with Gabon's Ali Bongo, who along with his father Omar have consecutively ruled Gabon since 1967, it began a full 15 minutes late. Not because Bongo was picking up another dubious award on the sidelines of the sometimes dubious Ocean Conference (see here), but because Guterres had another, unlisted visitor. It was, Inner City Press saw, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN, presumably about the standoff with Qatar. Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has repeatedly said Guterres is not involved. We'll have more on this. On Bongo, he stayed upstairs for 45 minutes and then left with the media he'd brought in, in a caravan of vehicles with a police escort. Periscope viewers told Inner City Press Gabonese were protesting Bongo, who they call a killer, in front of the Peninsula Hotel. Watch this site. On June 5, Guterres met with Fiji's Josaia Voreqe Baininarama, there was a rare attendee: Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed. Perhaps it was because Fiji is the co-President, with Sweden, of the Ocean Conference. Earlier on June 5, Deputy Mohammed had been listed as the briefer - and presumably answerer - at a press conference about a more than 1000 page UN book. But Mohammed left; Inner City Press stayed and asked a scientist who seemed to say he'd been at a conference in 1946 about fisheries subsidies. Likewise, Baininarama left the 1 pm stakeout in front of the UN General Assembly before he could be asked any questions. This is also how Guterres did it, speaking in the third person about Cyprus, on Sunday evening. It seems to be catching in his UN. Back on May 30 when Guterres met with Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, it was part of Melescanu's campaign for his country to win a two year term on the UN Security Council, to follow its six-month rotating presidency of the European Council in first half of 2019 (for which it is seeking a bigger building in Brussels). Melescanu has most recently, in Istanbul, defended his country's delaying of Turkish basketball player Enes Kanter after he criticized Erdogan. Melescanu will be in New York through June 3. Guterres, after yet another trip (this time for a G7 speech on Africa and technology with no mention of the Internet cut-off in Cameroon), was back in New York, NYU earlier in the day, then with an unscheduled or undisclosed meeting with a Security Council ambassador that ran past 7 pm. In the meeting with Melescanu were Tanguy Stehelin and Fabrizio Hochschild, among others. The UN's restrictions on the Press, unlike on never present Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom, continued. But on the 38th floor there was laughter. Last week Guterres met Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister and was given an oil painting; before that Guterres held a meeting with his senior management group since after a two week trip he is in New York for only three days, leaving tomorrow. At the appointed time for Azerbaijan, streaming out of Guterres' conference room were USg Jeff Feltman, Jean Pierre Lacroix who declined to answer Inner City Press' question about France's 20+ year rule of UN Peacekeeping, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Fabrizio Hochschild and others. Earlier on May 24 Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric to "please state if a David J Vennett is now a/the principal advisor to the SG, if so why he is not in iSeek and how he was recruited and hired and, again, please provide a list of who works in / or the Executive Office of the Secretary General and whether they are paid by the UN, by a UN affiliate like UNOPS, or by a country and is so which." There was no answer. Dujarric announced, "Tomorrow, the Secretary-General will be heading out of New York for Italy to attend the G-7 meeting. On Saturday, he will participate in the outreach session of the summit, which is taking place in Taormina.  The focus of the discussion will be "Innovation and Sustainable Development in Africa."  He will leave Taormina Saturday afternoon." Does it take from Thursday to Saturday to get to Italy? Is there a stop over on the way back? What was in Guterres' budget speech on May 24, a copy of which Inner City Press requested? Why was corrupt censor Cristina Gallach speaking in the General Assembly Hall on May 24, and why has her censorship continued, without hearing or appeal? Back on May 22 when Guterres met Slovenia's President Borut Pahor, it was Guterres first such meeting at UN Headquarters in two weeks. In his first 141 days, Guterres is often on the road, this time including London and China and Geneva, maybe Lisbon, while the promised reforms at the UN are still not easy to see. Pahor is running for re-election and was to host a reception later on May 22 for Slovenia's 25th anniversary in the UN, at the Intercontinental Barclays. The country's ambassadors at the UN and in Washington are set to change, the latter amid probably unfair criticism that First Lady Melania Trump's Slovenian roots have led at last to Slovenia distinguishing itself from Slovakia (which is set to take up the Presidency of the UN General Assembly in September). Guterres, too, needs to distinguish himself from his predecessor. On Yemen, holdover envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed continues to oversee bombing and now cholera, spun by holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric who has also defended the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization's patent work for sodium cyanide in North Korea. On Press Freedom, there are still no UN rules and evictions and restrictions remain in place. Back on May 5 when Guterres met with the Dominican Republic's foreign minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado there was an indicted elephant (not) in the room: former Deputy Permanent Representative of the Dominican Republic to the UN Francis Lorenzo, who has pleaded guilty to bribery in the UN through South South News which he ran. That case is moving toward trial, but the UN has done nothing in its wake - except evict and still restrict Inner City Press which covers that and other corruption, including in the January 2016 "incident" the Department of Public Information used and uses as a pretext to confine Inner City Press to minders. On May 5 the Dominicans covering the photo op were an energetic bunch, with GoPro cameras taking photos out the 38th floor windows that Inner City Press was ordered not to take. We asked: what issues would Guterres raise? Would they include next door Haiti, where UN introduced cholera still causes suffering? After the meeting, the Dominican side issued a read-out, the the UN should do more concretely on Haiti. So on May 9 Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: the Secretary-General met with the Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic on Friday.  And, since then they’ve formally put out a readout, and they’ve said that they told… said that the UN system should do more concretely for Haiti, not just talk but give money.  And… and so I guess I’m wondering, can you give some UN side readout or what…

Spokesman:  I don’t have… I don’t have a readout, but I’ll see what I can get you.

  But six hours later when Guterr's holdover spokesman Dujarric left, no read-out had been provided, none at all. We'll stay on it. On May 3 when Guterres did a photo op and meeting with the "new" Permanent Representative of The Gambia on May 3, Guterres welcomed him "as a democratic country, we are proud to have you in our ranks." Video here. There was only one problem: it was the same Ambassador who had represented strongman Jammeh, Mamadou Tangara. Inner City Press had repeatedly asked Guterres' also holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Mamadou Tangara during the time Jammeh tried to hang on. Now Mamadou Tangara is being feted as a representative of democracy. Did Guterres not know this? Or was this quiet diplomacy? In other photo ops on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, Guterres' Deputy SG Amina J Mohammed came to attend the one with new Nigeria rep Tijjani Muhammad Band, Periscope here, but not Uganda's knowledgeable Adonia Ayebare nor Seychelles' Ronald Jean Jumeau. Back down on the UN's second floor, Inner City Press remains confined to minders, even on World Press Freedom day. We'll have more on this. Back on April 20, Guterres met Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Kingdom of the Netherlands, on Guterres' side of the table were four men and one woman, Katrin Hett, who asked one of the men who'd sat next to Guterres to get up and move. The previous evening as Inner City Press rushed to leave a Department of Public Information event in the General Assembly lobby before the 7 pm censorship witching hour imposed on it by DPI, Inner City Press was told, in a friendly way, to give more positive coverage to Dutch Sigrid Kaag, so the UN doesn't remain a "patriarchy." It's a good point, but Kaag like failed Cameroon Resident Coordinator (promoted by Guterres) Najat Rochdi probably shouldn't block the press they don't like. On April 20 on the 38th floor was the Officer in Charge of DPI, Maher Nasser, who has made no substantive response to Inner City Press' April 1 formal request to end the now 14 months of minders and censorship for having covered a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room in connection with the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe UN corruption case. Guterres is 110 days in, and what has changed? Not the censorship and targeted requirement of minders. On April 18 when Guterres did photo op and meeting with Ukraine's deputy Foreign Minister Sergiy Kyslytsya, his close adviser Katrin Hett came to tell the assembled staffers they would not be needed, the meeting would be held with only four on each side in Guterres' office overlooking the East River and Queens. Things are getting more and more private: Guterres' spokesman Stephane Duajrric for example has twice refused to answer Inner City Press if as reported Guterres tried to reach Cameroon's president of decades Paul Biya, about the cut off of the Internet there. Others have noticed the rash of German officials getting jobs: Achim Steiner at UNDP and prospectively Horst Kohler on Western Sahara. But some office on 38 now have blank signs. Kyslytsya had just given a right of reply in the Security Council, about Crimea. The mystery and payback for Guterres getting all of the Permanent Five members of the Council on his side to get elected has still not be revealed. But earlier on April 18, Inner City Press which remains evicted from its UN office and confined the UN minders was told, by the minders, that it cannot even work at a table in the UN lobby. This has been raised, yes, to the 38th floor. So they know. There are no rules - a topic, in another context, that Kyslytsya raised in the Security Council.

Back on April 10 when Guterres did a photo op with the Club de Madrid - World Leadership Alliance including another candidate for Secretary General, Danilo Turk, it was impossible not to wonder what might have been. How might other of the candidates fared? What reforms, and reversal of Ban Ki-moon mistakes from Yemen and children and armed conflict to censorship might they have accomplished or at least begun? The ex heads of state barely fit into the photo, Periscope video here, and very little banter was heard before the press was ushered out. On the way in, Guterres came amiably through the hall, turning into the office of Miguel Graca. But where is the requested list of who works on the 38th floor, and who pays them? Is it true, as Inner City Press has heard, that Guterres has interviewed Achim Steiner for UNDP? At the lower profile Department of Public Information, why hasn't the Officer in Charge given any substantive response to simple requests before him, and would any successor at least have to commit to free press due process rules? Why is the holdover spokesman allowed to refuse to answer the Press' questions on Burundi, while engaging others about Sex and the City? We'll have more on this. After 100 days of Antonio Guterres as UN Secretary General, what has been accomplished? Guterres focused early on South Sudan, but as Inner City Press reports today on his 100th day, the Salva Kiir forces are using tanks near Wau while UN Peacekeeping, still under French control, says nothing publicly. The Cyprus talks are set to continue, but we've heard that before. Yemen is as bloody as ever, and Guterres extended Ban Ki-moon's (or Saudi Arabia's) envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed without even getting him to make any public financial disclosure. Discrepancies in Guterres own disclosure filings between 2013 and 2016 have yet to be explained by Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric. What has changed? Not the Department of Public Information's targeted restrictions on Inner City Press, able to cover meeting on the UN's second floor only with a minder, and sometimes (as on the Rwanda genocide on April 7) not at all. Inner City Press has filed a request for reversal with DPI's Officer in Charge, nine days ago, with no substantive response. New Inner City Press song here. We remain constructive, eager to see reforms occur and succeed. But what has changed?

  When Guterres held a brief photo opportunity and meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it was Guterres' first in a while, after several rounds of travel. And it was over quickly: the media was told to leave before a single word was said. There were complaints about that, and more substantive complaints about a lack of transparency. There are no read-outs of meetings. On April 5 Inner City Press reported on inconsistencies even in Guterres' own public financial disclosures from 2016 and 2013 (his Yemen envoy makes NO public disclosures). On April 6 Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric declined to offer any explanation of the differences. As noted, under Ban Ki-moon he had Inner City Press thrown out of the UN Press Briefing Room and UN, where it is still restricted even as the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe UN bribery case it was covering is coming to trial. Is the UN reforming? Watch this site.

  Back on March 23 when Guterres met UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, unlike in other recent meetings with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tajikistan, there were women on Guterres' side of the table (Periscope video here): Katrin Hett and the Chief of Staff, who had just met with Alain Leroy, former head of Peacekeeping now with the EU. Also on Guterres' side of the table was OCHA's Stephen O'Brien, who greeted and was greeted by Boris Johnson. Will the UK, and separately O'Brien, hold onto the OCHA post? The emergence reported by Inner City Press of outgoing Dutch Labor Party foreign minister Burt Koenders as a candidate for UNDP, over David Miliband, may help O'Brien. But with budget cuts looming, the increasing lack of transparency in the UN Secretariat's business is a problem. And this: according to at least one senior official on the 38th floor on March 23, Guterres "has no interlocutor" in Washington, to which we'll soon turn. Watch this site.

  As to Boris Johnson, after four pre-selected questions all on the London attacks, Inner City Press audibly asked about Cameroon's Anglophone's Internet cut, what the UK is doing. We'll have more on this too.
Back on March 15 when Guterres met with Bahrain's foreign minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa and a delegation that appeared to include that country's former president of the General Assembly, Guterres began by apologizing for keeping them waiting. Periscope video here. His previous appointment had been with a delegation called "United Cities and Local Governments." Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has met to answer Inner City Press clearly on why some meeting and calls are not disclosed, such as a call with the King of Morocco and a working lunch with Michael Bloomberg, nor how some media were handpicked to memorialize Guterres' most recent trip to Kenya and Somalia. Video here. If these happened, as it has, in Washington there would be an outcry. And perhaps one is growing in Turtle Bay.

  Earlier on March 15 in the UN's basement, Bahrain human rights defender Maryam Alkhawaja spoke. She was not on the 38th floor; Guterres' interlocutors at Human Right Watch, after they met with him, refused to give any read-out of what issues they raised. It seems clear these did not include, from the UN spokesman's non-answers, that the cut-off of the Internet by the government in Cameroon's Anglophone areas, now 57 days and counting, nor the UN's censorship and restriction of the Press. We'll have more on this.

  On March 13, before the snow day in New York, Guterres met another Gulf foreign minister, United Arab Emirates' Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. UAE Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh asked of Guterres' recent cultural moves in New York City. After a pause, Guterres cited art shows in Chelsea and at the Frick. Not mentioned at least at that time was former UN official Bernardino Leon, who negotiated a job at the UAE Diplomatic Academy while at the same time representing the UN in Libya, much less any mention of Yemen. Will there be a read out? There was no read out of Guterres meeting with Tanzania's foreign minster Mahiga, about which Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric on March 13; he also had no answer on Cameroon, where the Anglophone areas have had their Internet cut off by the government for 56 days, almost contemporaneous with Guterres' tenure of 72 days. We'll have more on this.

  On March 10, Inner City Press was blocked from covering a 38th floor photo op others were allowed to. No reasoning was given, just as no rule was cited when Inner City Press was evicted from the UN by the Department of Public Information's Cristina Gallach, and still remains restricted to minders more than a year later. Some thought the era of a lawless and censoring UN would be over by now. When?

  Back on March 3, when Guterres met with Gabon's FM Pacôme Moubelet Boubeya on March 3, it came before when the UN called a two day trip by Guterres to Kenya, from Sunday to Thursday. Last Friday when Inner City Press e-mailed Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric with the simple question of where Guterres was, Dujarric never answered the e-mail. When on Monday Inner City Press asked in person in the noon briefing, Dujarric said, Portugal. And this time? Why be murky?

  That is becoming a theme. Who is working on the 38th floor? How are they being paid? Inner City Press asked and was promised a chart, including a list of who is "seconded" from countries' mission. It has not been provided. On March 3, Dujarric who previously played a role in Inner City Press' eviction and continuing restriction for covering the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case refused to answer its last question, saying "Tomorrow" (which is Saturday) and "I'm lazy." Video here.  And so it goes.

  Dujarric told Inner City Press there was no read-out of Guterres' telephone call with Morocco's King in the name of quiet diplomacy. But why wasn't Guterres' working lunch with Michael Bloomberg put on his schedule, as a meeting days later with Gordon Brown was? Both, Dujarric answered, are still UN special advisers, as apparently is Han Seoug-soo despite being on the boards of directors of UN bank Standard Chartered and Doosan Infracore, which sells equipment to countries where Han gives speeches as a UN official.

  Also this week, Guterres' Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed arrived and within two hours of being sworn in did a four question stakeout. Inner City Press asked about the Green Bond of Nigeria, and if she and Guterres will work to make the Security Council more representative. UN reforms are sorely needed. Is the pace fast enough? Watch this site.

  (Gabon was at the UN on World Wildlife Day. Inner City Press, still restricted, was one of only three media to ask questions of CITES and Interpol, about the illegal trade of primates from Guinea. The UN needs more coverage, more access, not less. This too much change.)

Back on February 21 when Guterres met with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, Guterres joked that having two UN flags and none from Ukraine was "UN chauvinism." Klimkin replied, "It's the kind of chauvinism we can tolerate. Otherwise..." Periscope video here.

  Earlier in the day Guterres in the Security Council expressed his condolences at the death of Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, saying he had been flying back from Lisbon (and Munich before that) when the commander of the plane passed a note that Churkin was dead. Klimkin on the other hand blocked draft a Presidential Statement, and confirmed it at a stakeout in which Inner City Press asked if he would urge Guterres to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter more, to raise issues.

  While Guterres has rightly scheduled a press conference for February 23 on South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria, those are on the Security Council's agenda, the latter in connection with Boko Haram. The plight of the Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh, on the other hand, is barely mentioned by Council members. Is this a test for Guterres?

  On transparency, too, Guterres has opened the process for finding new Under Secretaries General of Management and Public Information - the departing one Cristina Gallach evicted Inner City Press from its office which sits unused and restricts it still, with no hearing or appeal, for covering the UN. That has yet to be reversed, and it is unclear if the USG position for Humanitarian Affairs will be opened to applications, as UNDP has. Watch this site.

  Back on February 8 when Guterres held a photo opportunity and meeting with Cote d'Ivoire Foreign Minister Marcel Amon-Tanoh, on the UN side of the table was Tanguy Stehelin, until quite recently the French Mission's legal adviser.

  That's how it is in the UN, at least as to Peacekeeping and former French colonies. As Inner City Press has exclusively reported, now "competing" to replace Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping, are Jean-Maurice Ripert, Jean Pierre Lacroix and likely winner Sylvie Bermann, now Ambassador in London, previous like Ladsous in Beijing. It's the French Connection.

  At this photo op, after Amon-Tanoh's long vistors' book signing, no works were spoken until Guterres' "merci." His spokesman Stephane Dujarric, a holdover from Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan before that, has stopped giving read-outs of such meetings. His Office called the end of day "lid" with no reference to a balance, and without answering Inner City Press' question from noon about Burundi. Yes, it's the French Connection.

  Still even working from a small booth, still evicted and restricted by UN censor Cristina Gallach after one year, for seeking to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room, Inner City Press is hoping a more transparent UN.

Back on February 3 the photo op with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel came less than an hour after Guterres spokesman declined to explain to Inner City Press the lack of UN read-outs of such meetings.

  On February 2, there was no read-out of Guterres' long meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir. Inner City Press went to that and was surprised to see that UN Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC) expert Leila Zerrougui wasn't there.

  (Meanwhile we note that at Sigmar Gabriel's meeting, UN / DPA's Katrin Hett was there. Periscope video here.)

   When Guterres' predecessor Ban Ki-moon took the Saudi-led Coalition off the CAAC annex for killing children in Yemen, it was said discussions would continue about putting them back on.

  Then Zerrougui told Inner City Press she is leaving on March 31. Earlier on February 2 Inner City Press asked Guterres' (and Ban's before that) spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: I understand from Leila Zerrougui that she's leaving 31 March.  And so I wanted to ask you how this impacts the supposed review of putting the Saudi-led Coalition back on that list.  Who's going to do the review…?

Spokesman:  The… the… the office continues.  The mandate continues.  And there is a… an open vacancy on the public website, but it doesn't, it has, it doesn't change the work of the office or the mandate of that office.

Inner City Press:  Will a report be issued even if there's not a person in place?

Spokesman:  I think we very much hope that a person will be, will be in place by then, and there's no reason to think that the work of the office and its mandate will change.

 At the February 2 meeting, Zerrougui was not there, but Dujarric was, and Jeffrey Feltman whom the Saudis greeted warmly and one of his team. Video here.

 Afterward in the lobby after Jubeir whispered to pro-Saudi media Inner City Press asked quite audibly if Children and Armed Conflict and Yemen had come up. There was no answer. Video here. We'll have more on this.

  Sometimes Guterres photo ops are more illuminative, and on February 1 he answered this Press question. On February 3 he briefs the Security Council on South Sudan and Burundi and, we're told, US immigration orders. Then he meets Germany's foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel at 2:30 pm. We'll be there.

  On February 1 Guterres had a photo opportunity and meeting with Igor Crnadak, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Guterres said the UN is worried by news of the possibility of a referendum. Periscope video here, from Minute 2:51.

  Before that, Inner City Press was ordered by UN Security to stop or suspend its Periscope broadcast, which it had begun one minute before the meeting time at 3:35. Periscope here, 0:50, abruptly cut-off.

  Earlier on February 1, Guterres to his credit stopped and answered Inner City Press' question on if he plans to hire Louise Arbour as migration adviser. He said he'll first take the proposal the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.

  UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric on January 31 declined to answer Inner City Press' related questions including if French Mission legal adviser Tanguy Stehelin is working in Guterres' office.

On February 1, Stehelin was one of Guterres' team at the conference table. Does he still work at the French mission? He's still listed there. We'll have more on this: transparency will help the UN.

On January 25 with French Minister for Development and Francophonie Jean-Marie Le Guen, this latter said, "It's almost a historic day." Periscope video here, Tweeted photo here.

  Some wondered if Le Guen might be referred to the news the new Administration in Washington is considering a 40% cut in its contributions to the UN, with full cuts to parts of the UN system accused of violating human rights.

  Thus far Guterres has yet to hold a press conference in UN Headquarters, so it has not been possible to ask him about the cuts, or the seemingly slow pace of transition and reform so far.

Dubious Under Secretaries General like Frenchman Herve Ladsous at Peacekeeping and Spain's Cristina Gallach for "Public Information" remain in place; deputy SG Amina Mohammed will not begin until at earliest March 2.

  Still the talk on the 38th floor was of a new energy, of meetings well into the evening, with Guterres and his chief of staff and others.

 Inner City Press intends to report in as much detail as it can -- it is still constrained by Gallach's eviction and pass-reduction order from eleven months ago -- but on January 25 the photo op was send, by a "sign," before Guterres said anything beyond "Comment allez-vous."

Back on January 13 when Guterres met with President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, the new chair of the Group of 77 and China, Correa gave him a painting. Photo here; Tweeted video here. Then, without words, the Press was ushered off the 38th floor.

This differed from Guterres' first four days in office, when he invited the press back in and urged his counterparties to also speak to “your media.”

  While Inner City Press has exclusively reported this week on Guterres-proposed changes, such as combining the UN's Rule of Law and Elections units, UN holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to confirm or explain, describing only "co-location."

  But when Inner City Press on January 13 asked for further information, such as how many staff in UN headquarters work on Mali, there was no response.

We'll have more on this - and on Dujarric's continuig refusal to answer UN-specified questions about the January 10 unsealed indictment of just-left Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's brother and nephew, who was allowed to work at the UN's landlord Colliers International.

All of Inner City Press' questions, including about the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services, were referred to Ban's Seoul-based spokesman at a phone number that is only a telephone menu tree all in Korean.

Guterres held his second and third photo opportunities and meetings as UN Secretary General on January 6, with Japan's Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Shinsuke Sugiyama (Photos here, Periscope here) and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias (photos here, Periscope here.)

  Slightly late to the first meeting, Guterres cited the need to prepare for the Astana (Syria) and Paris (Palestine) conferences.

Guterres to his credit made a point of saying a bit, in public, before each meeting. With the Japanese delegation he joked about a dinner where at least “no one vetoed the dessert” -- yet -- and with the Greeks, he joked that their gifts, a book and music CDs and a box, were too heavy.

   In this Guterres differed from Ban Ki-moon, but not earlier in the day when led around to take selfies with the correspondents the UN has not, like Inner City Press, evicted from their offices for covering UN corruption, like the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe bribery case. Video here, story here.

   The Greek meeting followed one on January 6 with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu. Photo here; video here.

  Beyond the pleasantries - and there were more of these than in the final days of Ban Ki-moon's tenure - it was noteworthy that along with the UN's Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide, Ban's Under Secretaries General Feltman, Ladsous and O'Brien were all there. The "P3 men," some call them. Would they be switched not only for gender, but nation? By year's end, Feltman was still in; both Ladsous and O'Brien had been switched out, for men from France and the UK... At Guterres' UN it's always do as I say, not as I do....


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