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From Lebanon, Kaag Briefs UNSC About #YouStink, Press Elements Emerge

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 2 --  When the UN's Special Coordinator on Lebanon Sigrid Kaag emerged on July 8 from the UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked her if there has been any progress or at least effort on the problem caused by the World Bank classifying Lebanon as a middle income country, and about torture in Roumieh prison. Video here.

  Kaag could not have known then that the #YouStink protests would grow in Lebanon to the extent that she returned to brief the Security Council, albeit by video, on September 2. For this briefing or its staging, Inner City Press is told, Hezbollah trashed UN DPA chief Jeffrey Feltman, who previously covered the region for the US State Department, as still reflected each month in the Hillary Clinton email releases, and in McClatchy interview.

  Afterward the Security Council issued these Elements to the Press:

  "The members of the Security Council were briefed today by the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, on the situation of the camp. The members of the Security Council will continue to closely follow and monitor developments in support of the unity, sovereignty and stability of Lebanon and its people.

  "The members of the Security Council expressed their support for the government of Lebanon and Prime Minister Salam. The members of the Security Council reiterated the basis of the statement by the president of  the Security Council on March 19, 2015.

  "The need for the Parliament of Lebanon to meet and elect a president as soon as possible, in order to put an end to the constitutional instability. The members of the Security Council look forward to the high-level meeting of the international support group for Lebanon that will take place during the upcoming session of the UN General Assembly."

  One wonders what's up with UNIFIL's garbage -- particularly given its fellow UN Peacekeeping mission MINUSTAH's beyond-you-stink in Haiti, introducing cholera. But that's another story.

  Back on July 8, Kaag's reply about the World Bank was that things take time, but that she would like to see the issue discusses at the upcoming Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa -- where as noted by the Free UN Coalition for Access some but not all of the Zone 9 Bloggers have just been released -- and that it was raised at the World Bank's and IMF's most recent meetings.

  On torture, Kaag pointed to her response when the video emerged, and said that a comprehensive response is being pushed for, citing the CAT, ombudspersons and training. Video here.

Back on March 17, Kaag said that the "UN family" stands ready to help with Lebanon's development.

  Inner City Press asked Kaag about the use of white phosphorus by Israel, cited in Paragraph 10 of the underlying 1701 report.

    On this last, Kaag said to ask the UNIFIL spokesperson - done.

(On the killing of a Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper, of which Inner City Press asked the Security Council's president for March, Francois Delattre of France, Delattre make a point of answering, saying that the investigation is ongoing but to check that with the UN Spokesperson - to be done).

  Kaag said on March 17 that there is a debate about the financing for development implications of "middle income" status, that Lebanon is not the only country facing humanitarian issues which faces this problem. The question remains, how will the "UN family" address it?

   “It is absurd that Lebanon has no access to World Bank grants because it is considered a middle-income country,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres' prepared remarks to the UN Security Council on Syria on February 26 said.

   When he delivered the remarks, he added in Jordan. So Inner City Press, when Guterres came to the Security Council stakeout after that meeting, asked him about this addition, and if he -- and UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang beside him -- would be pushing for a change at the World Bank, which is official a part of the UN “family.”

  Guterres replied that development assistance should taken into account this new world, where Lebanon and Jordan but also Chad, Niger and Cameroon with respect to Nigeria, and Ethiopia and Kenya with respect to Somalia, are the “first line of defense for global collective security.” Video here.

  Lebanon's Ambassador to the UN Nawaf Salam told Inner City Press, "This is unfortunate indeed," here.

 But what will be done? Watch this site.


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