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UN Guterres Runs Ad to Replace UNICEF's Lake, UNlike French Peacekeeping, UK OCHA

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos, Video

UNITED NATIONS, October 24 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who issued no public notice before keeping France atop UN Peacekeeping and the UK atop UN humanitarian affairs, has requested applications to replace Anthony Lake atop UNICEF, a long-time American post. Tweeted photo here. This comes days after Guterres traveled to Washington without photographer to meet with US President Trump. We'll have more on this. When Guterres announced his Central African Republic trip on October 18, Inner City Press asked him about the issue of sexual abuse and exploitation - and about Cameroon. Video here. He answered on the former - and on October 19 his spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press Guterres told him he hadn't heard the Cameroon question. Periscope here.  (On October 20, Guterres' Department of Public Information threatened to "review" Inner City Press' accreditation, here; the threatening official then blocked Inner City Press on Twitter.) Dujarric also announced that Guterres "will travel to Washington, DC later today, where on Friday he will meet with US President Donald Trump."  And he did, leading hours later to this White House read-out (the UN as is its wont under accreditation-reviewer Guterres had not issued a read-out for nine hours) - "Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Meeting with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres: President Donald J. Trump met today with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and discussed issues of mutual interest, including North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Burma, and United Nations reform.  The President noted his support for Secretary-General Guterres’ efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations.  The two committed to work together to address these and other common challenges in the coming months." Earlier in the day, this transcript (from the White House, not the UN): THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.  It's great to have the Secretary-General with us.  We've become friends.  Even before I was doing what I'm doing right now, we were friends; we knew each other. You have done a very, very spectacular job at the United Nations.  And I can tell you, speaking for the United States, we appreciate it. And I know you're working with our ambassador.  Nikki is in a very, very unique class.  She is -- we're very proud of you, and we want to thank you for the job you're doing. But it's an honor to have you, and thank you very much for being here.  A lot to discuss.
     SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES:  Thank you very much, Mr. President.  I must say that I'm extremely grateful, first of all, for the support that you have given us in relation to our reform process, coming to the General Assembly. I am a true believer that we live in a messy world but we need a strong reforms and modernized U.N.  We need a strong United States, engaged based on its traditional values -- freedom, democracy, human rights.  And we need a very solid cooperation between the U.S. and the U.N.  And it's a great pleasure to be here.
     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thank you very much.
     THE PRESIDENT:  I have to say, the United Nations has tremendous potential.  It hasn't been used over the years nearly as it should be, but the United Nations -- perhaps almost more than any other thing I can think of. And I will tell you, I also happen to think that the United States, even as well as we're doing right now, has additionally tremendous potential.  We have just started. But the United Nations has this great, great -- it's almost a power to bring people together like nothing else.  It hasn't been used.  You are starting to really get your arms around it, and I have a feeling that things are going to happen with the United Nations like you haven't seen before. I mean, to have this group of nations in one location with one person -- which is you -- leading it strongly, I think, is -- in terms of world peace and other things and other -- many other things that you're working on -- I just wish you luck because the potential that you have is really unlimited.  Good luck.
     SECRETARY-GENERAL GUTERRES:  Thank you very much.  And I need all of the luck -- (laughter) --
     THE PRESIDENT:  No, you need luck -- you need luck and you need talent.  Okay?  You need talent.  And he's got the talent.  Now we'll see what happens.  I'll report back to you in about seven years what I think.  Okay, thank you all very much.  Thank you.

 Strong UN? It's failing, for example on Cameroon. And it targets and censors the critical Press. Unlike even NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and many others, Guterres neither has nor allows a pool reporter, and inside the UN allowed the Egyptian state media his DPI is trying to install in Inner City Press' office to be the one and only "pool" for his meeting with Egypt's Sisi. We'll have more on this. From the UN's October 18 transcript: Inner City Press: on sexual abuse and exploitation, even in the last month, there have been at least four separate reports of alleged abuse by peacekeepers from Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan. So, I'm wondering, do you think your new approach is yet having an impact? What...would you repatriate some, some battalions if they don't punish them? And, since everyone else is [asking a non-CAR question], I need to ask you about Cameroon. I'm sorry to ask you, but since October 1, there have been hundreds of people killed there. Your envoy, François [Louncény] Fall, has said he was going to go but hasn't gone. People are extremely concerned. And I'm just wondering, are we missing something? Are you preventing conflict in this instance or, or what is the UN doing? Thank you. Secretary-General:  First of all, we have already repatriated one of the forces that was present in the Central African Republic, so these are things that we are taking very seriously. And this visit with our Victims' Rights Advocate is exactly to demonstrate, and to demonstrate to the countries, our total commitment. And I have to say that I am having a very positive response. We have presented to Member States, namely troop-contributing countries, a compact with a number of very important things to ensure prevention and also to ensure training and to make sure that there is no impunity. I can announce that 72 countries have already signed our compacts and 19 are seriously considering it, in the process of preparing the signature, and that 57 Heads of State have joined the Circle of Leadership to commit themselves to fight sexual exploitation and abuse.So, we are building an alliance with Member States in order to make sure that we all work together for the zero tolerance policy to become a reality. This, of course, will take time to produce results on the ground. There is a lot to be done, but we are totally committed to this policy and to achieve results in it. Spokesman:  [France 24]. France 24:  "Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General." A month earlier on September 13 when Guterres held his pre-General Assembly week press conference, the majority of questions were about Myanmar. Inner City Press asked about reform, in light of the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery guilty verdicts and new reports of peacekeepers' sexual abuse. Guterres responded on the latter. From the UN's transcript: Inner City Press: Matthew Lee, Inner City Press, on behalf of the Free UN Coalition for Access, hoping for readouts of your diplomatic merry-go-round upstairs during the GA week.  I want... you speak the lot about reforms. It's something I tried to ask at the stakeout but thanks for giving me the question. This case of John Ashe, who I know has deceased~-- may he rest in peace, but there was a court decision this summer in which basically it painted a picture of the UN as being quite susceptible to bribery. There was a Chin... a Macau-based businessman, Ng Lap Seng, was found guilty. So, I won't go through it all except to say, I wanted to know what your view of whether the UN... beyond just some reforms to the PGA's (President of the General Assembly) office, whether it has instituted enough reforms. Your... your... the former PGA yesterday sitting here said that there are crows picking around the side of the UN. There are a lot of business interests... basically, they try to buy their way into the UN by hooking up with a small state.  So, I wanted to know whether your reforms will address that. And there's also a Code Blue report out today about sexual abuse where they say that, of cases they've uncovered, many of them are not disclosed in the conduct and discipline website. What's your plan during this GA week to try to address the sexual abuse issue of peacekeeping? Secretary-General:  Well, in addition to the sexual abuse, as you know, we have taken already a number of measures. A global victims advocate was appointed, and four victims advocates were appointed in the four situations that are more dramatic in several African contexts.  We are preparing a compact to be signed with Member States in order to make sure that there is effective commitment in relation to this. I'm creating a circle of leadership with Heads of Government and State to assume engagement of states in making sure that everything is investigated properly. And so, we are really committed to make the best we can in this area, knowing the difficulties and the problems and sometimes even the... especially, my main concern is with the victims that sometimes have an enormous problem in coming with their cases because of the risks that they might face in different conditions with the community or even with the country or even if the UN Mission is not properly organised. So, we are deeply committed to that.  But the best protection in relation to abuses is the whistleblower policy protection. We have introduced a first group of measures to enhance the whistleblower protection when I assumed functions immediately in January. So, it's probably my first measure.  And after that, we have introduced a number of other reforms, which I believe are bringing our whistleblower protection policy to the state of the art. And if that's not the case, if there are other things to be suggested, we are ready to introduce them, because that is the best guarantee that people can detect and denounce things that happen and that they will be protected if they do so. This is, for me, an absolute must and the best possible guarantee an organisation can have in relation to the risks of abuse of power or abuses of any other kind or of corruption or whatever.  So this is a big concern for me, and I think we are acting as we can but with total determination to address the problem." We'll have more on this.


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