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After Reuters Cuts Off ICP Cameroon Q To UK Rycroft, UK Omits From Transcript, Cyprus Trend

By Matthew Russell Lee, video

UNITED NATIONS, August 9 – On Cameroon, Inner City Press in front of the UN Security Council on August 9 was asking UK Permanent Representation Matthew Rycroft, not for the first time, about the Paul Biya governnment's abuse of Anglophones, the Reuters correspondent who insisted that "UNCA is not corrupt," here, cut in yelling, and Rycroft's spokesman said, We'll have to get back to you. Video here. The question, and the commitment to revert, were omitted from the transcript of the press encounter which the UK Mission prepared and distributed. This is a pattern. With the Cyprus talks having collapsed at Crans Montana and the Greek Cypriot side saying it would release detailed minutes of the talks, Inner City Press on July 27 asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft at a four question Security Council stakeout about the talks and minutes. Rycroft answered that it is not a time for a blame game and that he wouldn't engage in one. Then when the UK Mission to the UN sent out a transcript of Rycroft's press encounter, every questions and answer was included - except the one with Inner City Press about Cyprus. Here is the question the UK omitted, in the UNTV video (from 2:40) which even the UN said was on Syria and Cyprus. The UK is the Security Council penholder on Cyprus, as it is on Yemen and Somalia; the omission or even censorship is inappropriate. While Inner City Press has held off reporting on the UK Mission's media strategy, out of respect, it seems this is not reciprocated. While Inner City Press can report fine without background spin, on its eviction and continuing restriction's relation to this, we'll have more. For now we note the omission is particularly striking in that the UK is bringing its representative to the Cyprus talks, Jonathan Allen, to the UN as its new Deputy Permanent Representative. We'll have more on this. With ENI and Total moving forward on natural gas, on July 11 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it. Typically, the UN had no comment. On July 27, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq about the proposal by the Turkish Cypriot side to "re-open" three villages, reportedly as a firs step to re-openning Varosha. Video here, from Minute 4. UN Spokesman Haq twice said that the UN would welcome any "confidence building measures." Inner City Press asked, what if the Greek Cypriot side is opposed? Cyprus Mail picked up Haq's answer to Inner City Press, here. We'll have more on this. On July 26, Inner City Press asked Haq about Cyprus saying it will release its detailed minutes of that last five hour meeting in Crans Montana: what does Guterres think of that? Haq called it "hypothetical" and said the UN intends to keep its secrets. And, Inner City Press notes, non-secrets. On Febuary 26, five days after UN lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric on February 24 ran out of the UN Press Briefing Room as Inner City Press asked about UN Peacekeeping (and the lack of UN due process for journalists) and declined written questions after that, we had this exclusive report.

  The CFO of UNFICYP is named Husein Moussa. Complaints about his have been lodged against him since at latest May 2016 in e-mails and attachments UN Under Secretary Generals Atul Khare, Jeffrey Feltman and Herve Ladsous, among others. Inner City Press is exclusively publishing the contents of a May 6, 2016 email leaked to it, here, and a series of attachments about Husein's Moussa's lack of academic verification, here, including in Annex 3 a 2014 "follow on the academic verification for Mr. Moussa... not yet cleared."

  Beyond violating the Status of Forces Agreement between the UN and Cyprus by obtaining Cypriot citizenship, Moussa is charged in the May 2016 email with using UN vehicles after-hours and a variety of other irregularities: "Husein Moussa, the Chief Finance and Budget Officer, continuously and freely used the UN owned vehicle throughout his assignment to UNFICYP, i.e., since 2002." (So much for Ban Ki-moon's supposed mobility policy.)

  Also that "Husein Moussa had mentioned to a friend of his that the information about his university degree he had provided in his PHP was not true... If the brushing of this case under the carpets continues, I will refer the details to the international media for another UN scandal they will publish with great pleasure."

  Now that this has happened, and the UN's two holdover spokesmen have refused to provide basic answers and even run out of the briefing room and ignore written questions, it has become an issue in the Cyprus talks, one of the few possibly fruitful UN diplomatic efforts in the past decade. Corruption and scapegoating makes today's UN even less able to be fit for purpose.

   Then no answers, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric running out of the briefing room amid Inner City Press questions and refusing its written questions since, while continuing the restrictions on Inner City Press' journalistic access at the UN imposed in early 2016. UNfailing.


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