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For Mali Envoy, Ban Slates De Mistura, Who Hired His Son in Law in Iraq

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 3 -- After Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about the UN's plans for Mali midday on Wednesday, and she replied that robust counter-terrorism should be separate from a UN mission with a strong Special Representative of the Secretary General, multiple sources exclusively told Inner City Press the person slated for that post.

  It is Staffan de Mistura, currently in the Italian government as deputy foreign minister but “not for long,” as one source put it.

  Previously De Mistura was the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Iraq, where as Inner City Press noted he hired Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee.

  Later when De Mistura was given the top Afghanistan envoy job by the UN, he told Inner City Press he would push with the Karzai government for answers on their killing of UN staff member Louis Maxwell. There have still been no answers, including to possible Ban successor Jan Kubis.

  But “like a bad penny” as one put it, now De Mistura is slated to return.

What is this Italian connection?” one African delegate asking Inner City Press, pointing out that Ban's Sahel envoy is Romano Prodi, and that Ban recent gave the Deputy slot at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to an Italian,
Flavia Pansieri.

  Another asked, “Why are there so few Africans heading up the UN missions in Africa?”

  The three Western African missions are all led by Europeans. Bert Koenders of the Netherlands, head of the Cote d'Ivoire mission, was at the UN Wednesday, greeted Inner City Press on his way it's said to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions.

  There is also the American Roger Meece heading the mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An African Deputy Permanent Representative opposed to this new nomination asked, “And now De Mistura? No.”

  An ambassador who Inner City Press asked to comment on De Mistura after learning of the plan laughed and said, “They're going to raid your office again.”

Ban & De Mistura in May 2011, son in law & Mali not shown, photo courtesy UNPhoto

  Others from the Arabic and Muslim side recalled that to the recent Arab League Summit, “not only didn't Ban Ki-moon go, he sent to representative Jeff Feltman, before the US face in the region. What is going on here?”

  But to some the most dissonant note was De Mistura's job, prospectively this one, after hiring Ban Ki-moon's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee.

  After Inner City Press' cusp of the year exclusive on Philippe Douste Blazy's hiring of Ban's daughter Hyun Hee Ban, there were some calls to make this type of hiring illegal.

  But as Staffan De Mistura might say, if it's legal and it works, why not do it? Watch this site.

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