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With Lykketoft Now PGA, ICP Asks of Next UNHCR, Dane in Race

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 15 -- When new UN President of the General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft spoke to the press on September 15, Inner City Press asked him how the General Assembly under his leadership will select a new head of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, from among candidates that include fellow Dane Helle Thorning-Schmidt. Video here.

  Lykketoft replied, “I discuss that with the Secretary General. Don't ask for my preference, because that's obvious, where I come from. There will be a proposal by the Secretary General to the General Assembly. How that will evolve, I'm not sure. We'll discuss it in the near future.”

  Earlier on September 15, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric for transparency:

Inner City Press: On refugees, the notice put out by the Secretary-General for nominations for… to replace… to succeed Mr. [Antonio] Guterres, top UNHCR, said to apply by 14 September.  Can you say how many people have applied?  Can you confirm Filippo Grandi is an applicant?  Given now that the GA has asked for greater transparency in the selection of the SG, what's the process here?  Is there going to be a panel to interview people?  How does it work?

Spokesman Dujarric:  The process is being guided by direct… by… excuse me… by direct… by… excuse me, by a directive from the General Assembly.  I can make that public.  We will not be releasing a short list or any other details.

Inner City Press:  Is there a panel to interview people?

Spokesman Dujarric:  There's always a panel.

Inner City Press:  Who's on the panel?

Spokesman Dujarric:  I have no other details to share with you.

  Ah, transparency. For PGA Lykketoft's first stakeout, it became clear that the old UN Correspondents Association had arranged for the first question to be set aside for it. For the record, even Dujarric when asked by the Free UN Coalition for Access acknowledged there is NO tradition of this UNCA, become the UN's Censorship Alliance, getting the first question at stakeouts. We'll have more on this.

Three months earlier on June 15, after Lykketoft was elected (by acclamation, without opposition) as the next President of the UN General Assembly, Inner City Press asked him how he would run the upcoming process to select the next Secretary General.

   Lykkotoft replied that he had heard from the heads of all five UN regional groups a desire for a more open process, with multiple candidates making presentations. One wonders if Lykketoft believes the position is reserved for the Eastern European Group (he was the candidate of the Western European and Other Group, and got the post by regional rotation), but there was not yet time to ask.

  Inner City Press also asked Lykketoft for his view on the scandal of the UN's cover up of sexual abuse of children in the Central African Republic by French “peacekeepers,” and then retaliation against fellow Scandinavian Anders Kompass of Sweden.

  Lykketoft said he is aware of the case but thought it better not to comment for now. He said the same in response to most other questions, for example on Palestine. (Periscope video here).

Footnote: The first question was set aside for UNCA, become the UN's Censorship Alliance, which used it to say that SDGs is the most boring name. Takes one to know one.  If Lykketoft can run a more transparent process to select the next SG, he will have done well. Inner City Press and the new Free UN Coalition for Access will stay on this. Watch this site.


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