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UN Guterres Meets Jordan's King, Grip and Grin Amid Failures on Yemen & Myanmar

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos

UNITED NATIONS, September 17 – The day before the UN reform speech by US President Donald Trump, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on September 17 held a meeting and short photo-op with Jordan's King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein. Photos on Alamy here. Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric showed up just before the meeting, but even of the Saudi meeting an hour before there was still no read-out. [Then this update.] It was not at his office on the 38th floor, but rather in a suite on the 27th floor with an Oriental rug, two flags and a small stand on which to sign the UN Visitors' book. Under Guterres the UN has become (even) less media friendly, with the investigative Press restricted to minders and, on September 16, barred from entering to cover a UN Media Alert-listed even on Guterres' signature issue, refugees. Guterres' head of Global Communications Alison Smale, petitioned on these issues since September 1, has done nothing to reverse them. UN is both UNprepared and UNfair - including on such issues as Myanmar, Yemen, Burundi and Cameroon. Next up,on September 18, US President Trump, Ambassador Nikki Haley and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the UN's ECOSOC Chamber. September. Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has repeatedly said he will distribute a list of meetings and bilaterals of his boss, his third Secretary General in a row, Antonio Guterres. As of the evening of Friday, September 15 it has not happened. Dujarric tried to limit his "background" briefing at 10 am on September 15 only to his friends in the UN Correspondents Association, a group which accepted advertising funds from Macau-based businessman Ng Lap Seng's South South News then provided the venue for Ng's photos with Dujarric's previous boss Ban Ki-moon. Now several disgusted UNCA members have forwarded Inner City Press this UNCA bragging, how UNCA has negotiated to exclude the vast majority of journalists covering UNGA from access to the Conference Building: the UNCA members "have access to B1 area with secondary passes AND without cameras...The UNCA chair in the Press Briefing Room now has a plaque alerting visiting media that the seat is reserved." Way to try to let the "visiting media" and the UN-based media which covers corruption know who you think is boss. On September 14 Guterres met with Angelina Jolie, formally Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. (Recently a UNHCR staffer called for harder repression of Anglophones in Cameroon, click here for that). The photo-op almost didn't happen. Ten minutes after it was to take place, Guterres was on an UNdisclosed phone call, when Jolie came down the hall on the UN's 38th floor. She went straight into Guterres' office. A long time UN staffer told the photographers and Press, "Sorry," then called for only Mark Garten of UN Photo to enter. After some groans, Jolie and Guterres came out and a short handshake photo-op took place. Photos on Alamy, here. Then it was over. Periscope video here. On September 12, Guterres was scheduled to take the credentials of four countries' new Ambassador to the UN. But a fifth one, Cote d'Ivoire, was added without any notice; then the International Sea Bed Authority's representative, for whom Inner City Press was asked to leave. As Norway's Tore Hattrem left, he told Guterres he would be working hard next week. Guterres responded that it was a "merry-go-round." Earlier in the day Guterres gave a job, the Oceans Envoy post, to just-former President of the General Assembly Peter Thomson. It's not only a merry-go-round, it's a revolving door. Here are Inner City Press' Alamy photos of the new Ambassadors of Ecuador (Diego Fernando Morejon Pazmino), Norway, Guinea Bissau (Fernando Delfim Da Silva) and Iraq (Mohammed Hussein Bahr Aluloom). The UN is getting more and more murky; Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to say how NGO(s) purchasing an event in the UN General Assembly Hall on August 23 were vetted, even after the Ng Lap Seng bribery verdict.


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