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At UN High Level Political Forum US Amendments Shot Down As UN Bans Press

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 18 – For four days the UN has hosted the “High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.” Inner City Press, banned from the UN by Secretary General Antonio Guterres for two weeks and counting for covering the July 3 meeting of the UN Budget Committee, has tried to follow it from outside the UN gates. Fox News story here, GAP blogs I and II. On July 18, after Guterres gave a HLPF speech, the US proposed two amendments to Paragraph 28 of the outcome document. The first one, on which Egypt for the G77 called for a recorded vote, the US lost with 50 yes to its proposal, 107 against and three abstentions. Then the US' second amendment, to cut a reference to the World Trade Organization, lost with only Israel voting with the US, 155 against and three abstentions. On the Ministerial Declaration overall, here (see esp Paragraphs 28, 12 and 16) on which the US called for a recorded vote, it again had only Israel with it, with 164 votes going the other way, for the document. These were referred to, less than an hour before the vote, in an event at the Heritage Foundation in Washington featuring Nikki Haley. We'll have more on this. On July 17 Inner City Press was able to ask Swiss Federal Councillor Doris Leuthard, minister of the environment, transport, energy and communications, five questions.

  First, Inner City Press asked Leuthard what benefit, if any, there would be to sustainable development from Secretary General Antonio Guterres' push to grab the UN Resident Coordinator system from UNDP and give it to his deputy, Amina J. Mohammed. (Neither has answered Inner City Press' questions about this or the program budget implications, choosing instead to physically oust and now have their head of DPI Alison Smale ban Inner City Press for two weeks and counting).

    Leuthard replied that “Switzerland supports the reforms, this is a cross cutting issue, a lot of agencies have to collaborate.” But when Inner City Press asked if Switzerland will be contributing to the fund Guterres' change means he must raise, she said, “On the budget I have no idea, it's the Ambassador,” gesturing at Ambassador Jürg Lauber.

  Inner City Press is correctly identifying Lauber, unlike Smale's former employer the New York Times, which at least initially attributed his quotes to Valentin Zellweger, Swiss ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. See NYT correction here; Smale's NYT did not, however, correct the inaccuracy that on the migration compact, “Louise Arbour, a longtime United Nations diplomat from Canada who is its special representative for international migration, was responsible for leading the process to create the agreement.” Actually, Lauber and Mexico's Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho led the process. But Smale sees fit to have Inner City Press physically assaulted and now banned. Meanwhile the NYT story bylined no fewer than three NYT staff, Megan Specia, Rick Gladstone and Satoshi Sugiyama - not one of whom has seen fit to report a single word, or even ask a single question, unlike The Independent, about the ouster and banning of Inner City Press by their ex-NYT colleague Alison Smale.

  Inner City Press next asked Leuthard about Lauber chairing the UN Peacebuilding Configuration on Burundi, another question Inner City Press was told to ask the Ambassador himself, “we are in different departments.”
  Finally, Inner City Press asked Leuthard about the carbon impacts of flying to the conference, and the hypocrisy of the UN having on the press floor Inner City Press is banned from reporting from garbage cans that purport to separate for recycling cans and bottles from garbage but in fact mix it all up. Leuthard replied and everyone can do better, concluding that “Without flying around we can't move... From time to time, you cannot avoid that.” She was polite throughout, the holding the press encounter outside of the increasingly corrupt and censoring UN was appreciated. Leuthard will be joining the UN UN "High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, so she will have to deal with the UN censorship sooner rather than later. Watch this site.


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