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US Nikki Haley Questions Monthly Palestine Meeting, ICP Asks If OK-ed Feltman Extension

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 16 – When US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley spoke to the press on February 16, she questioned why the UN Security Council meets every month about Palestine.

  Inner City Press, returning from the UN noon briefing where it asked about UN corruption, asked or tried to ask Ambassador Haley if the US supports the UN's decision to extend the contract of Obama-nominee Jeffrey Feltman through April 2018. Video here. We will continue to pursue an answer to this, and believe others will as well.

  The US blocked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' nomination of the Palestinian Authority's Salam Fayyad to be UN envoy to Libya. Inner City Press asked the UN about the nomination earlier on February 10, noting that its sources told it the nomination was really by Jeffrey Feltman, the Obama administration's appointee to head the UN Department of Political Affairs. Can Feltman stay on, given the new Administration in Washington?

  Did Antonio Guterres err in nominating the PA's Fayyed on February 8, then heading out on a 12-day trip just as the US expressed disappointment and blocked the nomination?

   Nikky Haley, US Permanent Representative to the UN, issued a statement on the evening of February 10 that “The United States was disappointed to see a letter indicating the intention to appoint the former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister to lead the UN Mission in Libya. For too long the UN has been unfairly biased in favor of the Palestinian Authority to the detriment of our allies in Israel. The United States does not currently recognize a Palestinian state or support the signal this appointment would send within the United Nations, however, we encourage the two sides to come together directly on a solution. Going forward the United States will act, not just talk, in support of our allies.”

That the UN would be naming a successor as its Libya envoy to Martin Kobler of Germany was reported by Inner City Press in December along with the name of one of the candidates, the UK's Nick Kay.

  Later, after Antonio Guterres took office at Secretary General, a Permanent Member of the Security Council confirmed to Inner City Press the candidacy of Kay adding that there was "another strong candidate" while declining to name that candidate.

  Guterres has written to the Security Council that "following the usual consultations" he is giving the post to longtime Palestinian Authority politician Salam Fayyad, some are asking of just what these consultations consisted.

  Already significant forces in Libya are opposing the nomination; others are linking it to Jeffrey Feltman, the Obama Administration's head of UN Political Affairs who has arranged to stay on until July 4 so that his UN pension vests. How will this sit with Washington?

  On February 10, Inner City Press asked the UN spokesman, Transcript here:

Inner City Press: there's a silence procedure.  Right?  Because the letter dated 8 February is out, and it says that António Guterres, following the usual consultations, is… is proposing Salam Fayyad as the new… I mean, people have seen the letter.  So I guess what I'm wondering is, what were these consultations?  Did he speak to the US Mission?  Did he speak to people in control in Benghazi?  Can you give some sense… I guess there's already some questioning of this, and I'm wondering, what consultations?  Is it only with the Security Council or with others?

Deputy Spokesman:  There's a normal process of consultations that occurs when envoys are selected, and part of that policy for envoys that report to the Security Council involves informing the Security Council.  That's the only real detail I'd be able to share at this stage.

   The president of the Security Council, Ukraine, told Inner City Press silence expires at 5 pm on February 10...

  They note that the Trump administration, in its draft Executive Order, proposes cutting US funding to any UN entity which allows the Palestinian Authority as a member, and is discussing cutting funding to the PA. Was the US Mission to the UN consulted? Which Mission?

  And what of Nick Kay, formerly UN envoy to Somalia, now back with the US FCO? Does Kobler return immediately to the German foreign service, where he still has a position as he told Inner City Press when questioned about his predecessor at UNSMIL Bernardino Leon selling out to the UAE diplomatic academy? What Under Secretary General post will Germany get in the UN? Watch this site.


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