Deiss Says Not Paid By Swiss, Then Admits Swiss Apartment &
September 14, updated --
Joseph Deiss on his first day at President
of the UN General Assembly was asked by Inner City Press if he is
paid by the Swiss government. Video here,
from Minute 21:37.
No, Deiss replied,
there is “no involvement by the Swiss government.” He said he is
“totally free from the Swiss government.” Video here,
But later he
conceded that the Swiss government pays for his apartment -- “I get
from the government... a flat to live on” -- and for his airfare.
from Minute 25:10. Those are payments, and the
contradiction between the unequivocal claim of “no involvement by
the Swiss government” and the subsequent admission he receives a
free apartment from the Swiss government does not bode well.
Deiss also said
without further specificity that he has “some activities outside
the government that [he] can reduce but continue to receive a
What ARE those activities? Should they not be
for possible conflict of interest?
The UN budget of the PGA's office pays
for a total of four professional
level posts, and $289,00o for
expenses. Inner City Press has been told that fully three of
posts are being given by Deiss to Swiss nationals. When asked, Deiss
responded vaguely about his commitment to diversity.
Deiss seemed to
say that two or three Swiss will be put on the UN payroll, in the
four professional posts he controls. Inner City Press understands
that these will also be receiving Swiss goverment pension payments.
Inner City Press
was told months ago that in order to beat out Belgium's Louis Michel
for the nomination of the Western European and Other Group to become
President of the GA, Deiss bought the vote of Finland by promising a
post -- one of the four -- to a Finn. Inner City Press asked Deiss'
transition team the question weeks ago, without answer.
When Inner City
Press asked Deiss about this on September 14, he denied it. We'll
UN's Ban and Deiss - trades of posts for power and
openness not shown
Deiss speech to
the GA said that “we must advocate for a[n] open General Assembly.”
Inner City Press asked, for example, if Deiss favors that the
of the GA's Committee on Relations with the Host Country,
which fields visa and other complaints about the US, should be open
to the press.
After some on
stage whispering, Deiss countered that this was a Secretariat matter.
But it is not -- it is a committee of member states of the GA,
staffed by a secretariat. After Inner City Press' last story, the
following answer was provided:
question on the Host Country Committee
From: UN Spokesperson
- Do Not Reply <email@example.com>
Matthew Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com
Date: Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at
238th meeting of the Host Country Committee on 23 July 2008), the
Chairman at that time indicated that "...while the meeting is
open to any interested delegations in their capacity as observers, it
is not open to members of the press or the public". This was
also reflected in the Journal. This practice has been followed for
subsequent meetings. The change was prompted by a request for
clarification by Mr. Lee, as in the past the meetings were not
formally identified as "closed" in the Journal, and DPI did
attend and provide a summary of the meetings (it no longer does so
under the revised arrangement). A detailed summary of the discussions
remains available through the annual reports of the Host Country
Committee to the General Assembly.
There IS a General
Assembly role. Watch this site.
* * *
Secrecy for Host Country Committee under Cyprus, No More Summaries
Complaints by Nicaragua, Iran
1 -- The UN has become even less transparent in
the past three years. Take for example the Host Country Committee,
which deals with complaints about the treatments of diplomats in
their missions by the United States. In 2007, Inner City Press
attended the committee and wrote about it.
2008, Chairman Andreas
Mavroyiannis of Cyprus barred Inner City Press, but allowed
the UN itself it issue a press release summarizing the meeting.
Mavroyiannis also offered to do a press briefing summarizing the
2010, Inner City Press went to a meeting of the Host Country
Committee. Before it began, Inner City Press was asked to leave. The
new chairman, Mavroyannis' successor as Cypriot Ambassador, Minas
Hadjimichael, came over and said that instead of opening the meetings
to the independent press, the decision had been made to discontinue
even the UN's own press releases.
decision? The Committee by consensus -- that is, without a vote.
Inner City Press stood outside the meeting, asking those who came out
after the thirty minute session what had transpired inside. Some said
it was boring: oral complaints by Nicaragua about denied visas,
written complaints along with same lines by Cuba and Iran. Why then
make it secret?
Hadjimichael, access to or summary of Host Country Committee not shown
Sinha told Inner City Press he will dig up the
citations justifying the exclusion of the Press. Would a request from
the media to attend be taken up by the Committee? No, was the answer.
The request would have to come from one of the 19 countries which are
members of the Committee. One member told Inner City Press they will
raise it next time. We'll see. Watch this site.
Hadjimichael claims that the meetings are closed so
that problems can be solved, it was the Press which by
asking got the
UN to urge the US to loosen travel restrictions on those from Iran,
Belarus and others. So who is served by the Committee's secrecy?
* * *
UN Staff to 25 Miles from NY, UN Complains, After
1 -- The United States, which is required to allow
entry by diplomats from countries like Iran, Cuba and Belarus to
attend the United Nations in New York, requires these diplomats to
register and seek permission to travel more than 25 miles from
Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
City Press learned that the U.S. has been imposing the same
restriction on UN staff members from such countries, despite the fact
that UN staff are deemed to be international civil servants, not
working for the countries where they were born. (In fact, some such
UN staff are opponents of their governments.)
Inner City Press asked
spokesman Martin Nesirky about this:
It’s come to my attention that there are UN staff
members from countries that are on United States sanctions lists
that, whereas diplomats from these countries are precluded from
travelling beyond 25 miles outside of New York without getting
permission of the State Department, that there are UN staff members
that, although they are international civil servants, are similarly
being required to check with the State Department to travel beyond 25
miles. I think that there are Under-Secretaries-General aware of
their staff members in this situation. I wanted to know whether the
Secretariat believes it’s appropriate that UN staff members who are
international civil servants, not working for their underlying
Government, are subject to this restriction. Why hasn’t the
Secretariat fought for the rights of its staff members right here in
the United States?
you’re sitting now is not in the United States,
No, no, I understand. I’m saying that the State
Department, in granting the G-4 visa, has imposed the condition that
these individuals, UN staff members…
I heard what you said, but I need to find out. I don’t
have anything for you on that. But thanks for the question and we’ll
look into it.
asked the question because it was aware of situations in which UN
Under Secretaries General threw up their hands and said nothing could
or would be done.
UN's Ban looking up at Obama, restrictions on UN
staff not shown
But when the UN answered Inner City Press'
question, here is what they said:
on immunities for UN staff
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
<unspokesperson-donotreply [at] un.org>
that, in answer to your question, we have the following
Secretariat has indicated to the United States
Government its position of principle concerning the treatment of its
staff solely on the basis of their nationality and has requested that
all travel restrictions be removed by the host country as soon as
Inner City Press asked when it was that the UN “indicated to the
U.S. government its position of principle.” No answer was given --
some assume because the UN only belatedly raised the issue to the
U.S. government AFTER the question was raised. Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
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.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Press are listed here,
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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