on AIDS, Egypt Named for Obstruction, Uzbeks for Arrogance
June 8 -- In the run-up to today's HIV / AIDS summit at the
UN, member states have been meeting on the second floor of the North
Lawn building to negotiate an outcome documents. Outside, civil
society and medical groups complained to Inner City Press about the
politics and prejudice inside the closed UN room.
June 6 at a
press conference sponsored by MSF / Doctors Without Borders, Inner
City Press asked the Chair of South Africa’s Treatment Action
Campaign Nonkosi Khumalo which countries had been the most
so often in
the UN being diplomatic means not naming names, and therefore
reforming nothing, Ms. Khumalo to her credit named Egypt, Uganda and
Malawi as the most retrograde, while chiding Swaziland as chair of
the African Group for not speaking up enough.
asked if Egypt's position hadn't gotten any better after the outer of
Mubarak in what's called the Arab Spring. No, Ms. Khumalo said,
Egypt's position hadn't changed, leading her to wonder out loud from
whom Egypt's delegation to the UN is receiving its instructions.
Ban Ki-moon & Mubarak: with one gone, roadblocks
remain the same
June 7, the
head of UNAIDS Michel Sibide was scheduled for a 12:15 press
conference. The moderator announced that he would not appear, as he
was still in the Security Council. Inner City Press ran there and
asked him, what about anti-AIDS activist Maxim Popov, arrested by
Uzbekistan for distributing an AIDS education pamphlet funded by the
me again, he answered. He said he continues to work on the case, but
that the Uzbek government does not engage in dialogue.
asked, with the NGOs?
with us, he
answered. Inner City Press also asked about Ukraine's harassment of
NGOs who work on AIDS, picking over their finances with a fine
toothed comb. He said he'd heard of it; his colleague blamed this on
Ukraine being uncomfortable with harm reduction and methadone
programs. And so it goes at the UN.
are complaining that they are Banned from the UN's North Lawn
building from Wednesday through Friday, because the UN Department of
Safety and Security considers this a summit. Will that mean that all
NGOs are barred? We'll see.
* * *
Pitching Lagarde for IMF Called “Not Incompatible”
with Leading G-20
June 3 -- For the second time during France's
the Group of 20, a French minister has come to the UN and held a
closed door briefing, excluding the press, about how open the
administration's leadership of the G-20 is.
when Labor and
Health Minister Xavier Bertrand came on June 3, something had
Strauss Kahn had lost the top post at the
International Monetary Fund after being charged with sexual assault
on a maid at Sofitel in New York, and fellow French minster
Lagarde is globetrotting to procure a vote this month to replace DSK.
asked Bertrand, flanked by French
Ambassador to the UN Gerard Araud
and his spokesman, about a complaint by South
Africa's minister of
finance Pravin Gardhan that the fast moves for Lagarde breach some
commitment by the
G-20 for a more open process.
his eyes even before the question was finished, Inner City Press
asked if there might be a conflict of interest in France leading the
G-20 while pushing for Lagarde to replace DSK. Might a G-20 with a
developing world president speak and act differently during this
hadn't come to speak about the question of the IMF, Bertrand
emphasized that Lagarde has support “beyond France, even beyond
Europe.” He said that while “certain [people] take into account
nationality,” Lagarde's experience goes beyond that.
France's leadership of the G-20 is “collective,” and is “not
incompatible,” with pushing Lagarde.
Bertrand and Lagarde, June 10 court decision & G-20 not shown
did not mentioned DSK, having noted that Bertrand has even come to
the defense of fellow French official Georges Tron, also charged with
sex abuse. Innocent until proven guilty, Bertrand has said --
without referring to the upcoming June 10 court decision on Lagarde's
role in the payment of a large governmental settlement to Sarkozy
ally Bernard Tapie. Watch this site.
some in France ascribe Agustin Carstens counter candidacy to
l'affaire Cassez between Mexico, others tell Inner
that if Lagarde's candidacy survives the June 10 court decision, and
if she replaced DSK, it would not be for a full term, and a stronger
commitment would be made that her successor would not be European.
closed door G-20 pitch, Singapore's Permanent Representative Vanu
GGopala Menon on behalf of the Global Governance Group (3G) urged
“allow greater involvement of non G-20 countries in work groups”
of the G-20. Inner City Press asked Bertrand about this as well; he
responded that Singapore is invited, France's G-20 is not a club.
Watch this site.
* * *
French Month Atop UN Council, Araud's 3 Stakeouts Hit New Low,
Of Misstatements to Press & "Hostile Acts"
May 31 -- France's month as president of the UN Security
Council ended with a whimper on Tuesday when a meeting on Sudan had
no outcome, not even a Press Statement. French Ambassador to the UN
Gerard Araud did not go to the stakeout and deliver any summary of
the discussion, or any closing statement for his generally
unsuccessful and untransparent month atop the Council.
review of the UN
Webcast Internet site reflects that of the past eight presidents of
Council, France's Araud did the least press stakeouts during his
month. His output was doubled by Brazil in February, Colombia in
April, and the UK last November.
one of Araud's
listed stakeouts, on
May 11, he took no questions at all. He read a
statement about Sudan in French, then left a translator at the
stakeout to read it out in English, after he said, smirking, “Since
I speak no English.” Click here
stakeout was on May
27 at 7:30 pm, with only three reporters present, click here
Araud came late, having not been able to find his way into the UN
building. “He doesn't even know how to get in here,” one UN
arrived, Inner City Press asked him why the statement he read, only
in English, about the arrest of Ratko Mladic had been delayed from 10
am, when the French mission told UN TV to set up a camera, until 7:30
pm. Araud said he would not explain, and added despite France's
bragging to the contrary that “we are not ready” and not
promising on Syria.
City Press asked Araud if the trip he was leading to Sudan would go
to Abyei, if Sudan had agreed to that. He said yes, there is no
problem, they have agreed, there are only logistics. Click here
as Inner City
Press reported at the time, Sudan's Deputy Permanent Representative
repeatedly said that Khartoum has not agreed to the Abyei visit,
which ultimately did not happen as fighting broke out there.
was not the
French mission's only misstatement in the month.
Araud as President in May, talk to press & results not shown
the month Araud claimed, in French, that he wanted to make the
Council less formal. But then another Council member told Inner City
Press that Araud had gone back on a reform from November, and now
required countries to sign up in advance to speak in the Council's
closed door consultations.
Press asked, at a Friday reception hosted by Italy, France denied
this. But then another Council member said that on that Sunday,
France emailed to other members to reverse the policy they had just
told Inner City Press they didn't have.
to the UN's public relations appear to have less to do with the truth
than with what they view as power politics.
this year Inner City Press obtained and published documents from the
Mission and the French
military about French policy in Cote d'Ivoire,
including the NYC
Police Department arrest document for a French
Mission diplomat, Romain Serman, accused of attempted purchase of
resisting arrest, the French Mission approached Inner City Press
called the publication “a hostile act.”
the normal ways one uses to get a Mission's answers don't work, but
will continue to be tried, not least in fairness to the Mission, which
apparently doesn't like to be asked questions.)
the French Mission asked
pointedly that the
Romain Serman arrest document be taken off line -- although it
the type of document widely published concerning the arrest, for
example, of French political figure Dominique Strauss Kahn, around
whom impropriety and corruption scandals swirl, not unlike at the
Mission here reviewed. The negative impacts may have been (slightly)
more on display during France's now concluded month atop the Council,
but will continue. Watch this site.