Denies Offer to Mediate for Cambodia, Dodges on
Roma, Selective Answers
August 20 -- How does the UN choose which questions to
answer, and to which publications? How should journalists know when
to ask question about topics on which the UN rarely comments, like
Guantanamo Bay, Chechnya, Tibet, Kashmir and many other Asian
week after Inner
City Press asked the Spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon if he had received
a letter from Cambodia asking Ban to mediate the country's border
dispute with Thailand, Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq sent a response to
another publication, then called its reporting inaccurate.
Inner City Press asked
Press: Cambodia now says that they’ve sent a letter to the
Secretary-General and the Security Council. I don’t know if it’s
been received. And a Cambodian, the Prime Minister, has said that
he’ll be asking the Secretary-General personally to somehow
coordinate this border dispute that they’ve had for some time but
that seems to be heating up, with Thailand saying that they’re
going to fortify their border. Is it something that DPA [Department
of Political Affairs] is watching? Have you gotten the letter and
would the Secretary-General be willing to mediate?
Nesirky: We’ve seen the reports. We have not received any
request. And if requests are received, not just in this case, but in
any case, from parties to a dispute or conflict, asking for
mediation, then, obviously, the United Nations, the Secretary-General
would look at that. But we have not received a request from one or
either or both.
was the last
Inner City Press heard from the UN. Then on August
20 a publication
in the region reported that “The deputy spokesperson for UN
Secretary General, Farhan Haq, replied to an email from the Cambodian
press on August 18 saying that, 'The Secretary-General is willing to
mediate situation when both sides request him to do so.'”
asked Haq about the statement, including why it was not sent out more
broadly, including to Inner City Press which had asked the question.
from Minute 15:10.
that the report that Ban was “willing to mediate” was inaccurate.
Haq said that all he sent out was that Ban “stands ready to help.”
But where then did the press in the region get the quote?
journalists at the UN to guarantee that they receive the UN's
responses to questions they have previously asked, or have NOT asked
because of the UN's historic unwillingness to comment on the problems
of the Permanent Five Security Council members, any one of which
could veto a second term by Ban Ki-moon, such as Chechnya, Guantanamo
Bay, Tibet or, as Inner City Press asked earlier in the briefing,
France's expulsion of the Roma to Romania. Video here,
from Minute 13:51.
said the UN is
monitoring it and if it has anything to say, we'll know.
In front of the
General Assembly on August 20, Inner City Press asked the French charge d'affaires and a French
spokesman about l'affaire
Roma, and was met with blank stares. Let us know if there is a meeting
was the answer. But there are rarely meetings at the UN on
controversial acts by Permanent Five members of the Security Council.
They can block them in the Council, and the S-G- and his spokespeople
don't seem to like to ruggle P-5 feathers, with a second term on the
UN's Ban cozy with Sarkozy, comment on expelled Roma
you ask, we
try, Haq said more generally.
what if you
don't ask because the UN never comments? How can a reporter go on
record as wanting statements about peace and security, without going
down the line of all possible questions?
fill like you go down the line, Haq said. And still we try.
why send out
responses selectively, like Haq sent
his Kashmir response to other
three journalists, and gave the UN's answer on the death of DSS
staffer Louis Maxwell to a publication in Germany and not to Inner
City Press, which had been asking about the case in the noon briefing
in New York every day for a week? This, Haq did not answer. Watch
* * *
was Drafted by DPA from its "Morning Prayers," Watered Down by
Nambiar, Blamed on Haq
5 -- When the UN made a statement on Kashmir, then
stepped away from it and blamed it on an Associate Spokesman, there
was more than met the eye. Inner City Press has inquired and finds
the following: the initial response on the violence in Kashmir
was produced by the UN Department of Political Affairs, in what is
called it “morning prayers” meeting, chaired by DPA chief Lynn
the statement was released, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief
of staff Vijay Nambiar, a former Indian diplomat and intelligence
operative, edited the statement, “watering it down” as one senior
UN official puts it.
Farhan Haq emailed the statement to four journalists and
was published, the Indian Mission to the UN protested. They came to
meet with the UN, Mr. Nambiar, for more than two hours. Apparently,
Nambiar did not fully disclose his initial role in editing the
Nesirky stepped away from the statement, emphasizing
that Ban Ki-moon never said it, and it was mere “guidance from the
Secretariat,” and claiming that it had been misinterpreted. How?
UN's Nambiar and Pascoe, Kashmir statement and morning prayers not shown
August 4, Inner
City Press asked Nesirky to think it through: if he could walk away
from this statement attributable to the Office of the Spokesman for
the Secretary General, how can any of his future statements be taken
seriously? I have said all I am going to say, Nesirky replied.
that DPA's "morning prayers" quote Pascoe, for example that "Hillary
Clinton is going to Colombia, what does she think she can
accomplish?" While some attendees conclude from this that Pascoe
is aligned with US Republicans who appointed him, others say it
establishes his "street cred" as an internaional civil servants. But is
this what HRC and Obama want? Watch this site.
noon briefing transcript:
a controversy has arisen around a statement that Farhan
Haq had put out, talking about Indian-occupied Kashmir and calling
for restraint. And, basically, it says that the Indian Foreign
Ministry or Ministry of External Affairs has taken issues with it,
that your Office has clarified that the Secretary-General never made
those comments. Have you seen that story, and what can you do to
clarify the seeming discrepancy between the Indian Foreign Ministry
and your Office?
Spokesperson’s Office released to the media guidance
which was prepared by the UN Secretariat, and that seems to have been
taken out of context. This was not a statement of the
was taken out of context? This was a formal statement.
me repeat what I just said: the Spokesperson’s Office
released to the media guidance which was prepared by the UN
Secretariat, and it seems to have been taken out of context. This
was not a statement of the Secretary-General. That’s what I have;
I don’t have anything to add.
the statement said the Secretary-General calls for restraint,
and is there concern about it?
I said, I don’t have anything to add to what I’ve just said.
4 noon briefing transcript:
Some think that the way that it was answered yesterday —
it’s hard for them to take; what weight should statements by the
Spokesperson for the Secretary-General be given if they’re later
characterized as mere guidance and the Secretary-General didn’t
mean them. For your own purposes, how do we — is this a one-off,
or does this somehow change; you get a statement today about Tanzania
— is that a statement of the Secretary-General, or is it mere
guidance, and from who — who gave the guidance on Kashmir?
know very well what it said [on Tanzania]: it said “a
statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the
Secretary-General”, and that clearly is a statement. But I don’t
have anything beyond what I’ve already said on this topic. Okay?