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At UN, Hearty Farewell To Pascoe, Who Grew Into the Job, Whither Feltman?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 27 -- For five years B. Lynn Pascoe served Ban Ki-moon at the UN, and Wednesday it came to an end. In the Dag Hammarskojld Penthouse farewell speeches were given, by Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez Taranco and a mediation staffer named Sacha: Alexandra Pichler, team leader for policy planning.

  This latter Sasha nailed it, saying that while Pascoe did not talk about his idealism, he embodied it, by working late and caring. Inner City Press, honored to be present at the farewell, heartily agrees.

  Jump cut to a late December when the UN was essentially closed. No noon briefings, no Security Council meetings, nothing. In search of news, Inner City Press went to the North Lawn building, setting up laptop in the Vienna Cafe. Total silence.

Then who comes out of the Department of Political Affairs office? B. Lynn Pascoe, headed to the bathroom. "What about Guinea Bissau?" Inner City Press asked, referring to the coup before last.

"The coup leader came in an canoe," Pascoe answered, shaking his head. He did not say "off the the record." He did not call Security, or like the current head of Peacekeeping say, I refuse to answer your questions. He cared and cares about Guinea Bissau and so he said what he knew, despite Press criticism for the UN's handling of Sri Lanka. Lynn Pascoe, we say without equivocation, was and is a class act.

At Wednesday night's farewell, he joked about his wife Diane. Others wished his well with grandchildren, noting his grueling commute from New York to DC. But he did it. Others chided Inner City Press for naming then questioning in advance his successor Jeffrey Feltman.

Because under fire, Inner City Press must emphasize again: on March 28 it exclusively reported that Feltman would replace Pascoe. When a wire reported it on May 21 it gave not a word of credit, while Foreign Policy's The Cable did. To complaint is legitimate; to seek to expel is not. More on this anon.

It was said that in Pascoe's first six months, he repeatedly said "United States" for "United Nations" in his talking points. But Feltman, it's noted, has been the face of the US in the all-important Middle East.

Feltman will have as a transition a month that is not Middle East: travels with Ban Ki-moon to China, the Balkans and the UK. But then what? Hezbollah?

Ban Ki-moon, audio taped by his lead spokesman, joked genially about the B in B Lynn Pascoe, calling him Bold and Brilliant, what we should all B. Hilde Johnson was in the house, and Menkerios too. Others recounted however that Joseph Mutaboba's long presence in New York during Guinea Bissau's most recent coup did not sit well.

New chief of staff Malcorra showed up, chatted up by Herve Ladsous. This is a USG who has aggressively said he will not answer Press questions, while other USGs, at least outgoing, take a different view. Which was is the UN going: more or less Press friendly? We'll see, and soon. Watch this site.

Footnote that is more than a footnote: we really wish Pascoe well, after his long nights in the North Lawn, worrying about thankless tasks. He is the kind of person the UN is about. God speed.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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