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UN's Posture on Guatemala Undercut by Retaliation Against Kompass, Rejected by Morales

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 1 – Today's UN presenting itself as a champion against corruption, as in Secretary General Antonio Guterres' August 27 statement about Guatemala, is more than a little ironic. Beyond the UN bribery / Ng Lap Seng guilty verdicts in late July - on which Guterres has refused to answer Inner City Press so far, including on retaliation - the UN blatantly retaliated against Anders Kompass for blowing the whistle on peacekeepers' sexual abuse in the Central African Republic. Now the two stories or worlds collide: Guatemala's Jimmy Morales has rejected Kompass as Sweden's Ambassador to Guatemala. We'll have more on this. Less than a month ago, Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng was convicted in the U.S. on six counts of UN bribery. Yet UN officials exposed in the trial as having helped Ng still work at the UN; there has been no accountability. When Inner City Press directly asked Guterres for his comment on the verdict, he refused to answer. His lawyers have claimed that the UN was the victim and should get paid. And on August 25, when Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales came to New York to meet with Guterres, simultaneously in the UN's ECOSOC chamber an event was allowed to take place sponsored by an NGO with multiple links to, for example, former El Salvador ambassador Carlos Garcia who was shown in Ng's trial to have helped him launder bribe money. Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about these links before the August 25 event - and during it, written questions that have still not been answered. Dujarric had Inner City Press evicted from the UN Press Briefing Room - empty this week - and from its office, still restricted, for its pursuit of the Ng Lap Seng scandal. We'll have more on this. As to Guatemala, on August 25 media mostly Spanish and Inner City Press set up a stakeout in the UN Secretariat lobby, to afterward hear his views on Ivan Velasquez and the future of the CICIG. The meeting began at 5 pm, but it was well after 6 pm when Guterres came down to his waiting car and driver. Inner City Press asked, Que pasa con la CICIG? But Guterres merely waved. Moments later his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who declined to answer or even confirm receipt of written questions from Inner City Press, issued a canned read-out which "reiterated his confidence in Commissioner Ivan Velásquez.” Now on August 27, after not speaking at or even coming to the waiting stakeout at the UN, Morales has issued a video, on Twitter, declaring Valasquez persona non grata. Here. Guterres is with sheikhs in Kuwait; Inner City Press asked his spokesman Stephane Dujarric: "This is a Press request on deadline for the UN's / Secretary General's response to this, from Jimmy Morales of Guatemala. Also please explain why UN Photo still does not have any photo of the Morales / SG photo op online, and state where Yemen envoy IOCA is, if he is not in Kuwait (didn't see him in the photo). Inner City Press has more questions and will be submitting them for responses, while noting that Friday's question was not even acknowledged, much less answered. Please explain." He replied, "Statement coming shortly." Then, a tweet from Jeffrey Feltman's DPA: ".@UN Secretary-General shocked at announcement that Guatemala's President has declared @Ivan_Velasquez_ persona non grata." Shocked implies that Morales didn't raise this possibility in their long meeting on Friday. More to follow.

 More to come.


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