Gaza, UN Says Digging's De Rigeur, Dodges on Banks and Blair's
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, May 29 -- Working and speaking for the UN in a hotspot like
Gaza calls, or rather screams out for, diplomacy. One brand was
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's cover letter to the report he himself
commissioned from Ian Martin on Israel's attacks on UN premises in
Gaza earlier this year. Another was displayed May 28 at UN
Headquarters by Maxwell Gaylard, with the long-winded diplomatic
title of "Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace
Process and UN Coordinator for humanitarian and development
activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
Inner City Press asked about, among other things, what banks the UN
uses in Gaza and the UN work of Tony Blair, Gaylard deftly danced
around the questions, avoid what he clearly thought could be
missteps. The UN does not use the Hamas-founded National Islamic
Bank, he said, because it is not licensed by the Fatah- run
Palestinian Monetary Authority. As to what Tony Blair is doing, or
not doing, Gaylard encouraged Inner City Press to get the answer from
Tony Blair himself. Fat
Tony Blair has evaded requests for briefings even from the UN
Security Council. When he spoke with Quartet members in the UN's
Conference Room 4, Inner City Press as he left asked if it might be a
conflict of interest to work also for JP Morgan Chase. Blair groaned
and did not answer. A Blair aid confirmed that yes, Blair still
worked for Morgan Chase, but nothing more's been heard since.
when in the final question of Gaylard's press conference one
correspondent asked if Gazans have any option to improve their lives
except by "digging tunnels," Gaylard indicated that digging
tunnels is, at least for now, the only way to go. Video here,
UN's Gaylard, there's light at the end of the tunnel
Immediately after Gaylard said it, one imagined protest from the
even a headline, "UN to Gazans: There's a Light At the End of
the Tunnel, If You Dig It." One could imagine certain
correspondents questioning the UN spokespeople for days about
Gaylard's comment, did the Secretary General endorse or condemn it,
slyly, is the UN providing shovels, etc..
Ging, who was the UN's main speaker on Gaza during January's
offensive, has been more detailed in answering on banking, but would
have this "shall we dig" question as the potential pitfall
it is. Gaylard has clearly been around the block, or Strip, more than
a few times. What explains his final answer? The truth shall set you
UN, Draft Resolution on North Korea Leaked to Inner City Press,
Paragraph 8 Discussed
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: Exclusive
NATIONS, May 28 -- Five days after North Korea conducted an
underground nuclear test, a draft
resolution emerged behind closed
doors at the UN Security Council. The three-page
draft, a copy of
which Inner City Press has exclusively obtained and puts online here,
has 14 operative paragraphs, one of which, Paragraph 8, is still
subject to discussion.
6, for example, calls on "all Member States immediately to
enforce the measures that were put in place by resolution 1718
(2006)" and in the Presidential Statement earlier this year,
after North Korea's launch of a rocket that it called a satellite.
Paragraph 2 "demands that [North Korea] not conduct any further
nuclear test or launch."
the draft resolution seems unlikely to change North Korea's course,
it has been the subject of intense journalistic interest at the UN in
New York, particularly by Japanese media, who have remained camped
out in front of the Security Council during meetings on Abkhazia,
Somalia, and on May 28, Bosnia and the Congo.
Japan's Amb. Takasu and media scrum, draft
resolution not shown
On May 27, wire
stories were published quoting an anonymous
"UN" diplomat that there was an agreement in
principle but that no draft would be circulated until next week.
the morning of May 28, Inner City
Press obtained the draft resolution
that, as a must-credit exclusive, it puts online here.
of May 28, 6:20 p.m. -- UK Ambassador Sawers emerged from the
consultation room and spoke at a stakeout from which non-UN
television cameras, most of them Japanese, had been banned. He said,
you can ask me questions, but I won't answer. Which was true: Inner
City Press asked, is everything agreed to but Operative Paragraph
Eight? Amb. Sawers craftily replied, "You're way ahead of
yourself." Ahead of something...
Russian Ambassador Churkin came
out to speak, but mostly about Georgia, and mostly in Russian. Inner
City Press asked if he denies Georgia's
claim that Russia blackmailed
Ban Ki-moon into changing the title of the Secretariat's report on
Abkhazia / Georgia. Yes, he denies it. Amb. Churkin asked, You
speak Russian yet? Watch this site.