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At UN, Aung San Suu Kyi absent from Ban's Statement & Myanmar Sham Election

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 13 -- In the wake of the Myanmar military government's announcement it will hold what was quickly called its “sham” election on November 7, with Aung San Suu Kyi still under house arrest, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon or his Myanmar adviser, Vijay Nambiar, had any comment. Video here, from Minute 3:47.

  At first, Nesirky had nothing to say. Later in the day's noon briefing, a statement was brought to Nesirky. When he read it out, it had no mention of Aung San Suu Kyi, the long imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winner who declined to meet with Ban's previous Myanmar adviser Ibrahim Gambari.

  Inner City Press asked, does Mr. Ban believe that Aung San Suu Kyi should be able to participate in the election? Video here, from Minute 9:34.

  “That's what it says,” Nesirky replied, pointing at the canned “Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary General” that he had just read.

  But the statement didn't mention Aung San Suu Kyi.

UN's Ban, Gambari and Nambiar, reference to ASSK not shown

  And earlier this month, Nesirky and his office walked away from another similar statement, about Kashmir.

  After India complained, the UN backtracked and noted that the Secretary General himself had not said the words, they were mere “media guidance.”

  So what DOES Mr. Ban himself think of the Myanmar elections?

    Or his Special Adviser, who just got a new sign on the UN Library's third floor, despite rarely going to that office. When Gambari left the job, the so called Good Offices role, Nambiar was called a temporary fill in. But the post has yet to be filled. Some Good Offices. Watch this site.

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UN's Ban Called Daewoo's Myanmar Pipeline a "Win Win," Silence on Elections

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 11 -- In the run up to Myanmar's military tilted elections, the UN has had very little to say. Now Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar is traveling to Singapore and China, although what he is trying to accomplish is not clear.

  Not only since taking over from Ibrahim Gambari as the UN's envoy on Myanmar, but ever since becoming chief of staff, Mr. Nambiar has yet to hold any on the record press conference.

And so at the UN's June 9 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Mr. Ban's Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: You mentioned Mr. Nambiar as being in Singapore, on a good offices mandate of Myanmar. There is a project there that is of some concern to both the opposition and human rights groups. It’s a Daewoo pipeline, and it’s one that the Secretary-General, when he was the Foreign Minister of [the Republic of] Korea, called a win-win solution for Korea and India. Opposition figures also say that UN officials have met with Daewoo about that project in the military-ran country of Myanmar. I’m wondering, does the Secretary-General — I’m now assuming you can’t say necessarily from the podium — but can you check and see whether the Secretary-General still holds the belief that that pipeline is a win-win solution, and whether the various holders of the good offices mandate, [Ibrahim] Gambari and now Mr. Nambiar, have ever met with Daewoo about the project?

Associate Spokesperson Haq: I also need to check, I don’t have any information about Daewoo.

Inner City Press: Okay, if you can check, that would be great.

Associate Spokesperson: I certainly will.

But more than two days later, there has been no answer.

UN's Ban and Myanmar's FM (Win) Nyan Win: Daewoo win win not shown

  In fact, Mr. Haq tried to not take more questions on June 9. Inner City Press said that it has been even less likely to receive answers when questions are submitted in writing to the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General. Haq said that the Office provides answer when it get them. But is it trying? Watch this site.

Footnote: Here from the end of the UN's June 9 noon briefing:

Inner City Press: And you heard the head of UNAIDS saying that he’d asked, or had hoped… well, you heard it. I won’t mischaracterize it. Did the Secretary-General raise the issue of Maxim Popov, a UN, essentially, funded AIDS activist who has been sentenced to 7 years while he was in Uzbekistan, and what response did he obtain?

Associate Spokesperson: I’ll check with the people who are part of his traveling delegation. I am not aware that that name came up, but certainly we can check. And with that, I bid you a…

Inner City Press: [inaudible] go ahead.

Associate Spokesperson: At this stage, this more a dialogue, anyway, so, we can sort this out than…

Inner City Press: [inaudible] where I never got a written answer. Even, for example, on The Three Idiots. I was never sent an answer. So, I’d rather ask the question here…

Associate Spokesperson: I believe you were sent an answer on this about a day or two ago.

Inner City Press: Yeah, but I put it in 28 May. Here is my question, about Burundi, since he was in Burundi.

Associate Spokesperson: Once we had an answer we gave it to you. As soon as we had it.

Inner City Press: Since he was in Burundi, did he have anything to say about the fact that the upcoming election will have only one presidential candidate, since the opposition has dropped out? I’ve read the speeches, but I haven’t seen… I’ve seen mostly praise. But most people say that democracy has fallen apart, there is only one candidate. Is that acceptable?

Associate Spokesperson: Well, first of all, he’s still in Burundi right now. He will talk to the press whilst there. And he is talking with President Nkurunziza, as I said at the start. So, let’s see what he has to say at the end of the day.

Yeah, on a lack of democracy in Burundi and Myanmar, let's see...

  Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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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

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