Official Ali Treki Is on EU Travel
Ban List of Libyans, UN Sources Tell Inner City Press, Swiss Silence
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, February 22, twice updated -- As Libya moved to deny visas to
25 European countries due what it calls their ban on travel by 180
prominent Libyans, at the UN Inner City Press has been told that the
Libyan President of the General Assembly, Ali Treki, is on the travel
Treki's office at the UN said he is on the list, and that it why in
his trans Atlantic trip he visited only the UK, which is not a part
of the EU's Schengen passport agreement. Another member claimed that,
despite the list, Switzerland had provided assurance that Treki could
visit Geneva, since he is president of the UN General Assembly.
the UN have been untransparent. The mission's spokesman forwarded
Inner City Press' request for confirmation or denial to two officials
in Geneva, saying he is on the way to Burundi. One of these officials
has an "out of office" auto-responder on; the other has not
replied. Nor has Ambassador Peter Maurer, chairman of the GA's budget
committee under Treki's presidency.
Ali Treki with Belgian president of
Geneva-based HRC: could Treki travel there?
All of Inner
inquiries said the questions were on deadline, and Inner City Press
has waited more than 48 hours.
this (non) response can in from Switzerland:
RE: Press Q on deadline: is Ali Treki on Swiss list banning travel?
Pls answer asap, thanks
From: Sollberger Adrian EDA SYI
Inner City Press
Date: Mon, Feb 22, 2010 at 3:44 AM
Mr Lee - Switzerland is pursueing a restrictive visa-policy towards
Libya. We cannot give you any further information on this subject.
Mediensprecher, Stv. Chef
when Switzerland arrest Libyan leader Gaddafi's son, for abusing his
employees. Libya retaliated by locked up to Swiss businessmen.
Switzerland prepared, Libya says, a list of Libyans to be barred from
travel from all 25 members of the Schengen agreement. Italy has asked
Switzerland to reconsider.
a UN member
state like Switzerland put the president of the UN general assembly
on a travel ban list? Watch this site.
Inner City Press' sources describe tensions between Treki and Libya's
Mission to the UN, which hired and controls many of the members of
Treki's staff. There are a number of festering problems in the PGAs
office on which Inner City Press is showing restraint before
reporting. For now, a simple update: long time UN Security officer
Ralph Hering remains on suspension for a visit to the PGA's office --
and Treki's daughter employed there -- by a KFC Colonel Sanders
after publishing the story above, at the February 22 UN noon briefing
Inner City Press asked
GA spokesman Jean Victor Nkolo about it:
City Press: Libya has announced that citizens of up to 25 countries
in Europe can’t travel to Libya. I know usually you say that’s
matter of Libya, not Dr. Treki. But I wanted to know, there are
various reports saying that Ali Treki is on a list produced by
Switzerland of 180 Libyan officials that cannot travel not only to
Switzerland, but to all signatories of the Schengen Agreement… to,
that’s 25 countries. Someone has said that there is an exception
for him travelling to Geneva, since there is a UN office there. Can
you confirm or deny if Dr. Treki is on this Swiss list? And…
Nkolo: Either way, I cannot. I cannot comment simply because I
haven’t seen that list, if there is a list. I just haven’t seen
City Press: [inaudible] and made inquiries, and so, that’s why I’m
asking you just to find out. I mean, I think an inquiry has been
made by your office to the Swiss about travelling to Geneva. And so,
it seems to me like, maybe he can say something about whether… do
you believe he shouldn’t be on the list, and if so, why not?
I think that we can comment when it is about the President of the
General Assembly. It happens to be that President Treki, for this
year, for the sixty-fourth session, is the President of the General
Assembly. But, when it is a matter between a Member State, in this
case, Switzerland, and another Member State, in this case, Libya, I
think it should be safer to check, to have an authoritative response
from either or both Permanent Missions of both these countries.
City Press: I’m only asking because it’s about him personally,
and it’s hard to distinguish if it’s about Ali Treki the person,
it’s hard to distinguish whether it is in his capacity as a former
Libyan diplomat or as President of the GA. So, I’m assuming, do
you only speak for him in one… I mean, I’m not asking you to
opine about Libya. It’s more, is he on the Swiss list and is there
a way to find that out?
Since I haven’t seen the list, it is very difficult to make that
assessment and to know the basis upon which I may be commenting. I
haven’t seen the list. I don’t know where this list is, if there
is a list. So, if we see a list, and if we have that confirmation
either way, then we’ll be able to comment.
City Press: In fact that’s why I [inaudible]. Do you believe
that…? I mean this will be… Can he travel to France of Germany
today? Is that your understanding?
I do not want to answer hypothetical questions.
I’d like… Just to follow up.
Did you, obviously, like Matthew said, send an inquiry to the Swiss
Mission asking them whether Mr. Treki can travel? Is this true? Did
you send an inquiry?
I cannot confirm any official démarche from our Office to make
kind of inquiry.
I do not have any official démarche that is on the record from
Office making such an inquiry.
Since you also that you haven’t seen the list and you’re saying
you would not like to comment and you are also saying that you would
not like to answer on the question whether this requirement means
that he is on the list or not. So, I am asking you now, do you know
whether Mr. Treki, the President of the General Assembly, is on the
list or can or not travel to those countries?
First, I do not like you to say what I have said. What I am saying…
That’s what I understood.
Very good. So, I am going to make myself clearer, if I may. What I
am saying is that I haven’t seen the list. I don’t think we have
that list in the Office, because I see everything that we have in the
Office. I haven’t seen the list. I can, therefore, not make a
speculative comment on a list that I haven’t seen, because the
list, if it is out there, will enlighten us on the basis of which a
name is on the list or not. So, not having seen the list, it will be
for me very speculative to comment on a list I haven’t seen and
that I cannot confirm one way or another.
But you do not have knowledge of whether or not he is with such a
ban, or without a ban?
I absolutely don’t have that knowledge, whether he is on the list
or not. I have been trying to find out myself, but it is not my own
authority to find out. And I think we haven’t seen the list, I
haven’t seen it. That’s why we cannot comment further. And I do
not think that this question, for the time being, somehow infringes
the travel of President Treki as the President of the General
* * *
UN, CPJ on Pariah States N. Korea and on Sri Lanka,
Buying Tickets, Iran's Eye
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 16 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists on
February 16 called on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to be more
forceful about the importance of press freedom. Inner City Press
asked CPJ's Asia expert Bob Dietz about what Mr. Ban and CPJ have
done as the Sri Lankan government of Mahinda Rajapaksa has closed
down opposition newspapers, reporters have been killed and websites
blocked. Video here,
from Minute 40:08.
Dietz said that
"no one knows how to handle the direction in which the [Sri
Lankan] government is going, which is not friendly to the media."
He said it might join the "pariah states" of Myanmar,
"Burma, North Korea and Zimbabwe," but for feisty
journalists who put themselves at risk.
as to what CPJ
does, Dietz said "right now we
are hanging back with a lot of
people," trying to figure out whether to "come down hard or
engage in quiet advocacy."
City Press asked Dietz for more specifics
about this "quiet"
approach, which the UN seems to share, in the most benign
interpretation of Ban's visit in May 2009 after what even the UN
called the "bloodbath on the beach" and since.
Children and Armed Conflict mandate, which belatedly sent Patrick
Cammaert to Sri Lanka in December, never had him brief the Press
afterwards. Radhika Coomaraswamy, when Inner City Press asked her
about this silence last week, said that Cammaert went to Europe to
get married after his trip, then it was "too late" to brief
the press about his visit.
Dietz said that
the opposition press in Sri Lanka asks that particular journalists'
cases "not be publicized," as it would only make things
worse. "Just get us out of here," Dietz said such
journalists ask, adding the CPJ helps with plane tickets.
correspondent remarked afterwards is that "quiet advocacy is
what diplomats do, not journalists or their organizations."
Masked rally for press freedom in Sri Lanka,
Jan 2009, UN and CPJ's tickets out not shown
asked CPJ's deputy director Robert Mahoney about the UN's own envoy
to Somalia Ahmedou Ould Abdallah having called on a "moratorium"
on Somali journalists reporting on the killing of civilians by the
African Union peacekeepers of AMISOM.
it is up to
journalists to make their own editorial decisions. Ironically, Ban
Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky has, at least in his first month
on the job, said such things as "that's not a story."
on the podium
was Newsweek journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari, about whom CNN's
Fareed Zakaria devoted the foreword to CPJ's study. As Bahari spoke,
a representative from Iran's Mission to the UN sat in the UN press
hall's front row, taking notes.
mission has invited UN
correspondents -- including this one -- to a celebration of Iran's
national day on February 18. Inner City Press told Bahari about the
event, encouraging him to come and cover it. Watch this space.
three hours after the CPJ press conference on its report, "Attacks
on the Press in 2009," which names North Korea as the world's
most censored country, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban's senior
advisor Kim Won-soo and political advisor Lynn Pascoe if they had
even raised press freedom during their recent trip to Pyongyang. Video here.
Mr. Pascoe said. Inner City Press asked Mr. Kim to respond for Mr.
Ban on CPJ's wider call to be more forceful on press freedom. While
he answered about UNDP in North Korea, he did not answer on press
freedom. Inner City Press has at UN noon briefings asked for Mr. Kim
to come and answer questions more often. We'll see.
In another UN footnote, CPJ's genial Mr. Dietz granted
an interview to a student reporter, Melissa Best, whose piece should
air as part of WNYC's Radio Rookies program. Ms. Best, who aspired to
be a US diplomat, told Inner City Press that North Korea's nuclear
ambitions might call for more stick and less carrots. The show should
air -- and Internet -- in June...