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On Maldives, Inner City Press Asks UN Spox Why Not Mediate, Lobbyist, Fish Minister Shainee

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 27 -- With Maldives' President declaring and now seeking to extend a state of emergency, on February 5 Inner City Press  asked the spokesman for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres Stephane Dujarric about it at noon on February 5, before the US then spoke, below.  On February 27, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transdo you have anything more on Maldives?  The opposition there has now said that they've hired something of a lobbyist, a former UN Special Rapporteur, to try to get the attention of the Secretariat in terms of mediating. Spokesman:  Well, I mean the… nobody needs to hire anybody.  The Secretary-General is paying attention to the situation in Maldives.  As we've said in the past, the Secretary-General spoke to the President, offered mediation, and it was… the message was that it was not accepted at that time. Inner City Press: So, if you got a letter from Ben Emmerson, former… I say it literally… Spokesman:  No, I'm happy for people to find employment.  What I'm saying is that the United Nations and the Secretary-General is paying close attention to what's going on.  Thank you." No thanks. February 22 transcript here: Inner City Press:  Under Guterres and his outgoing head of Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, both headed to Korea, it took the UN a full 18 hours to come out with two paragraphs on February 6, below. On February 19 with the threat to extend the state of emergency, Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I asked last week about the Maldives and the opposition asking for mediation or something more from the UN.  There… the… the President there is now asking for an extension of the… of the state of emergency by an additional 15 days, and I'm wondering, one, any comment on that?  And, two, what's the UN done as to the request by the opposition? Spokesman:  Regarding that, what I can say is the Secretary‑General is closely following recent political developments in the Maldives and is ready to offer UN mediation support if and when requested." On February 21, Inner City Press asked again, about a government minister's claim that his President had, in fact, requested UN participation. Video here. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on the Maldives, because it's a very specific statement by this Mohamed Shainee, the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture.  He says, you know, the President himself has made the request for assistance.  And this is the part I want to ask you about.  He says, the opposition keeps blocking.  So, you say you can only read out your portion of these calls.  Has the Secretary-General spoken with anyone in the opposition?  Spokesman:  I'm not aware that the Secretary-General has spoken to anyone in the opposition... The Secretary-General, in a conversation with the President, offered UN mediation, but the President conveyed that mediation was not wanted at this stage....
if I recall, the phone call took place Friday last.  Okay? I can only share with you what I'm able to share with you, which is what I've… what I've read already a number of times, that the Secretary-General offered the United Nations mediation, but the President conveyed that mediation was not wanted at this stage. 
On February 8, UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca was to brief the UN Security Council about the Maldives under "Any Other Business." But Jenca did not speak to the Press on the way in or out of the Council. Past 2 pm when Kuwait's Ambassador, the President of the Security Council for February, gave a summary of the day's meetings, Maldives wasn't on it. Inner City Press asked, loudly, but no answer; later it was explained that since AOB topics are not listed in the UN Journal, the President feels he cannot speak to it. It would be up to the Secretariat. But under Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretariat says and disclosed less and less. If a briefing on a crackdown happens but no one was speak about it, does it make a sound? Some ask, why is Guterres not sending some sort of envoy or mediator? It can't be that he feels he needs total consent: he sent Nigeria's former president Obasanjo to Kenya, where both sides said they never met with him. So why the different approach to the Maldives? On February 16, Inner City Press asked Spokesman Dujarric, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: On Maldives, there's reports that the opposition under Mohamed Nasheed and other parties have all asked the Secretary-General to get involved and… and somehow oversee the supposed all-star… all-party talks.  They say that they don't believe the current president will… will be as inclusive as he says, given his recent moves.  Does the UN intend to actually respond to that?  Have you received the letter? Spokesman:  "We're very aware of the request.  Contacts will be had in the next few days and I hope to have more on that for you." Six hours later, nothing.We'll have more on this. The UN's statement from earlier on February 6: "The Secretary-General is seriously concerned about the unfolding situation in the Maldives, in particular the declaration of a state of emergency and the entry of security forces into the Supreme Court premises. The Secretary-General urges the Government of the Maldives to uphold the constitution and rule of law, lift the state of emergency as soon as possible, and take all measures to ensure the safety and security of the people in the country, including members of the judiciary." From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: it seems like President Abdulla Yameen [Abdul Gayoom] has not complied with releasing the opponents.  In fact, he's issued a state of emergency.  I'm wondering, is there… is DPI… is DPA (Department of Political Affairs) actually involved, or is it just… is it issuing statements from New York, or is it trying to speak with him and engage and…? Spokesman:  I think we're very concerned with the ongoing developments in the Maldives, including what we've seen in the last 24 hours.  We're following it very closely.  And I would… you know, the Secretary-General would, again, call on the Government to respect the court ruling and for restraint to be exercised.  And we… I do expect a more formal statement on this shortly." A the UN, shortly means 18 hours.
How far will today's UN go to placate some countries, while ignoring others and restricting the Press? On January 26 UN "global communications" chief Alison Smale flew to Charleston, South Carolina for a photo op and UNTV video with China's Xiamen Airlines for having painting the UN's "SDGs" logo on the side of an airplane. This without having answered Press questions about her Department of Public Information's malfeasance with resources allocated by the General Assembly for Kiswahili and about the lack under her "leadership" of any content neutral UN media access rules. Afterward, when Inner City Press asked for the mp4 video of her South Carolina junket - Inner City Press is informed that the plane she celebrated could not in fact fly - it was told to "Ask UN Webcast," which is under Smale. They were asked - and have not given the video. Nor has Smale offered any response to a detailed petition two weeks ago, while re-tweeting her former employer the NYT and current boss Antonio Guterres. But who is making who look bad? And how can a former NYT editor have no content neutral media access rules, and no answers? As she restricts Inner City Press from its UN reporting on Cameroon, Myanmar, Kenya, Yemen and elsewhere? We'll have more on this. While any country would try to get the UN to promote its airline, if the UN would do it, Smale is the UN official who responsible for Inner City Press being restricted and evicted as it reports on the UN bribery scandal of Patrick Ho and China Energy Fund Committee. Smale hasn't even deigned to answer petitions in this regard, in September (she said she recognized the need for the "courtesy" of a response, never given) and in January -- too busy flying to South Carolina to promote an airline:

Today's UN of Antonio Guterres, who just met with ICC indictee Omar al Bashir, and his Deputy Amina J. Mohammed who has refused Press questions on her rosewood signatures and now the refoulement of 47 people to Cameroon from "her" Nigeria, has become a place of corruption and censorship. On January 30 as Inner City Press sought to complete its reporting for the day on Guterres' Bashir meeting and Mohammed's Cameroon no-answer, it had a problem. It was invited to the month's UN Security Council president's end of presidency reception, 6:30 to 8:30 - but with its accreditation reduced by censorship, it could not get back into the UN after 7 pm, to the already delayed UN video. It ran to at least enter the reception - but the elevator led to a jammed packed third floor, diplomats lined up to shake the outgoing UNSC president's hand. Inner City Press turn to turn tail back to the UN, passing on its way favored, pro-UN correspondents under no such restriction. Periscope here. Inner City Press has written about this to the head of the UN Department of Public Information Alison Smale, in Sepember 2017 - no answer but a new threat - and this month, when Smale's DPI it handing out full access passes to no-show state media. No answer at all: pure censorship, for corruption. Smale's DPI diverted funds allocated for Kiswahili, her staff say, now saying they are targeted for retaliation. This is today's UN. Amid UN bribery scandals, failures in countries from Cameroon to Yemen and declining transparency, today's UN does not even pretend to have content neutral rules about which media get full access and which are confined to minders or escorts to cover the General Assembly.

Inner City Press, which while it pursue the story of Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng's bribery of President of the General Assembly John Ashe was evicted by the UN Department of Public Information from its office, is STILL confined to minders as it pursues the new UN bribery scandal, of Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio allegedly bribing President of the General Assembly Sam Kutesa, and Chad's Idriss Deby, for CEFC China Energy.

Last week Inner City Press asked UN DPI where it is on the list to be restored to (its) office, and regain full office - and was told it is not even on the list, there is no public list, the UN can exclude, permanently, whomever it wants. This is censorship.


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