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At UN, Moussa Meets Ban Amid Syria Joke and Spin, No Read Out, Campaigning?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 9 -- In what seemed a campaign appearance, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Wednesday with former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, now a candidate for the Egyptian presidency.

  Inner City Press has asked Ban's spokesman about the meeting -- "would Ban Ki-moon meet with other candidates in Egypt?" -- and attended the photo opportunity before Wednesday's meeting. Along with Ban, UN political chief Lynn Pascoe, and senior Ban adviser Kim Won-soo were in attendance.

  Pascoe joked that the first talking point should be about Moussa and Syria: he seemed to say, "Mister Secretary General, is your first talking point, 'why haven't you invaded Syria,' or something like that?" -- video here, from 0:26, and below. Downstairs, a long time Moussa watcher called him "close with Assad, father and son... not impartial."

  Forty five minutes after the meeting began, Moussa came back downstairs. He said on camera that the Arab League is going to consider "soon and take the necessary decisions vis a vis the sensitive situation pertaining in Syria currently," and added that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan should go along with the Arab League -- "along the same lines with the Arab League." Video here.

  Inner City Press asked Moussa, what did you discuss with Ban Ki-moon? "General discussion," Moussa said, then walked away to meet the Qatari former Ambassador, now President of the General Assembly.

  Two hours after the meeting, Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson's office had still not issued any read-out. On November 8, Inner City Press had asked:

Inner City Press: Amr Moussa, it is reported, is coming to New York. He is obviously a candidate for the presidency in Egypt. Says that he is meeting with Ban Ki-moon. I wanted to know, is that true, and also whether there is any thought about… would he… would Ban Ki-moon meet with other candidates in Egypt? Is there… in what capacity would he be meeting with Amr Moussa?

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky: I have to check.

[The Spokesperson later said that Amr Moussa would meet the Secretary-General in his capacity as the former Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.]

  A number of diplomats at the UN told Inner City Press on November 9 they didn't think the Ban - Moussa meeting was "proper." A Ban insider noted that the presidential elections in Egypt will not be under months after the parliamentary elections and Constitution writing. Still. Watch this site.

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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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