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On Western Sahara UN News Centre White Washes UN Failure To Hold Referendum Guterres Failure

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, song, II

UNITED NATIONS GATE, December 6 – On Western Sahara, how corrupt and irresponsible is the UN of SG Antonio Guterres? Even while claiming credit for new talks - after the UN never followed through an held the referendum promised in 1991 - now Guterres' Global Communicator Alison Smale's propaganda UN News Centre "reports" on the talks without mentioning the failed duty to hold a referendum, here. Nor, because of the obvious failure, does Smale's UN News Centre December 5 piece mention Guterres. For what it calls a "communique" it links to the UN in Geneva, generically. But on December 4, there was a canned statement about Antonio Guterres and the talks, issued by his spokesman. This is either laughable journalism - from Smale who sees fit to ban independent Press without due process - or  scam, or both. We'll have more on this. When the UN Security Council's rare meeting began back on March 21, Secretary General Antonio Guterres' personal envoy Horst Kohler walked in with security. Asked if he would speak with the press afterward, he had one word: "No." He is based in Germany and has been allowed to spend public funds on his own holdover team, just as Guterres spends public funds to go to his home in Portugal. Now as Guterres' retaliatory ban on Inner City Press even entering the UN, now in its 147th day and based on a frivolous Morocco Mission complaint, on November 28 Norway announced it will end its divestment in Cairn Energy and Kosmos Energy - because both say they have discontinued exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara. Thus, Norway Government Pension Fund Global will no longer exclude them. Meanwhile, as if in a parallel UNethical world, the UN of Antonio Guterres has refused to answer Inner City Press' weeks old question about the long luxury stay in Morocco by Guterres Under Secretary General Catherine Pollard, despite the "promise" by Guterres' USG for Global Communications Alison Smale to UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression David Kaye that Inner City Press' written questions would be answered so that the UN could claim, despite banning Inner City Press from entering the UN and asking questions are their now-lame noon briefing, that Guterres somehow respects freedom of the press. He does not. We will have more about the upcoming talks, even as we cover the UN bribery trial that began November 26. As Inner City Press puts its questions, until Guterres' ghoulish ban ends, at the UN Delegates Entrance and gets some answers, Morocco's delegation after their false complaint was used in part to ban Inner City Press answers nothing. Watch this site. On October 31 there were three abstentions to the adoption of Resolution 2440, extending MINURSO for six months. Guterres' UN, or his Alison Smale's DPI, refused to send the resolution to banned Inner City Press until long after it was given to Moroccan and French state media. On November 8 for the noon briefing it remains banned from by Guterres for the 127th day, Inner City Press sent this question in writing to Guterres, his Nigerian Deputy SG, Smale, and two spokesmen including Stephane Dujarric: "November 8-4:  On Western Sahara, what is the SG's comment and action, and separately that of his Personal Envoy Horst Kohler, at the “business” conference last week regarding which Polisario have in an open letter to the SG called an example of Morocco's "hostile expansionist policy”? Also, please explain why USG Pollard is in Morocco, how long she has been there and at what cost? This close to the Migration Meeting, what is the need for a USG rather than technical team to be there? Is taking Morocco's money for this a conflict of interest given the UN's purported role in holding a referendum on Western Sahara independence?" No answer, typically, while AFP and others blather on in the briefing. This is today's UN under Guterres. Back on October 31 at the stakeout, Morocco's PR Omar Hilale took handpicked questions from correspondents already handpicked by Guterres and Smale: Morocco state media, retirees, France 24. It was a fake-out at the stakeout. Hilale bragged that referendum is no longer on the table - that is, that the UN under Guterres has finally fully broken its promise. Why would anyone believe Guterres' UN in the future? Here were Inner City Press' questions to Hilale before it was ousted (with Smale using a false complaint from Morocco's Mission to the UN and her own bitter deputy), on YouTube, and here's a song. The UN, with censorship in New York including beyond the UN's gates and with broken promises in Western Sahara, Yemen and Cameroon, is in steep decline. On October 29 the scheduled adoption of the MINURSO resolution was taken off the UN Security Council schedule - nor was it on for October 30. So it will be done, or rolled over, right at the October 31 deadline. Even with Inner City Press banned by Guterres, a Council diplomat to whom we're giving and will always give anonymity told Inner City Press, "The experts met today to discuss the draft. The major issue is the time frame for mandate renewal. The US is saying six months but France is arguing for one year renewal. There are also other issues. Reference to the neighbors and the issue of self determination - the need for it to be clearly stated like in the past, so on and so forth. We’ll see how the US is going to accommodate all the comments expressed during the negotiation. Revised text to be circulated tomorrow." We are grateful for the assessment and pass it on in the public interest; watch this site. Back on October 11, Guterres' ban  excluded Inner City Press from the Council's consultations on Western Sahara (before which French Ambassador Francois Delattre said "On MINURSO, we believe the current trend, the current dynamic is positive") - as well as the testimony in the UN's Fourth (Decolonization) Committee, the public record reflects that Guterres and Catarina Vaz Pinto who has not moved to New York went on what was called a "business" honeymoon -- to Morocco. See here, referring to "honeymoon in Morocco, though it is believed the Prime Minister will be dealing with business which is not necessarily 'unofficial.'" Now in France charges have been filed with the State Prosecutor at the High Court of Paris for "colonization crimes" against BNP Paribas, Société Générale (both late linked with MBS' Davos in the Desert even post Khashoggi), Crédit Agricole, airlin Transavia, French Dutch airline  France-KLM, AXA and UCPA, which runs surf competitions in Dakhla. They are  was based on the two rulings pronounced by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in January 2016 and February 2017. This is Morocco and its trolls glory in the lawless move by Guterres to have Inner City Press roughed up and banned now for 110 days and counting. It only strengthens ours resolve to report. Guterres is ingratiating himself to Morocco in the run up to the migration compact conference, not unlike his silence on the slaughter in Cameroon to gain support of Paul Biya's ambassador Tommo Monthe as chair of the UN Budget Committee. In the Fourth Committee, a women who linked herself to the US Department of Justice gave a speech about crime in what she called the "Tindorf" camps.  This as the Vice Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Anders Primdahl Vistisen of Denmark claims the EU-Morocco draft agreement "does not provide for the recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara." The honeymoon is over. Watch this site.  The African Union reportedly wants to re-open its office in the UN's MINURSO mission, from which it might for example monitor human rights as the UN does not - this while Guterres awards free access and office space to numerous Morocco state media while restricting Inner City Press and coming up, through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric and ironically Al Jazeera, with pretexts to threaten more restrictions, here. The basis for Guterres' position? Morocco will host "his" migration meeting and he needs them, just as he needed the Cameroonian chair of the UN Budget committee and so went silent on slaughter of Anglophones there. On June 22, Guterres' UN guard, with automatic weapons with them, ousted Inner City Press from the UN during an event at which Guterres gave a speech. Video here, story here, new petition petition petition hThere was Morocco diplomat angle, here. Then on July 3, a more violent ouster from covering the UN Budget Committee, and a ban since, made permanent by Guterres' "Global Communicator" Alison Smale on August 17 without any due process. On September 17, a US read out with Morocco's foreign minister included Iran by name - but not Western Sahara: "Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met today with Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita.  They discussed opportunities to expand our strong economic and security cooperation, including shared efforts to end Iran’s support for terrorism and counter its malign influence in the region. Secretary Pompeo and Foreign Minister Bourita agreed to hold the next session of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue in Washington next year.  They also discussed other regional and international issues." Some wonder, on all of the above, where is John Bolton? Back on August 1 for UK Ambassador (and incoming UNSC President) Karen Pierce's "press" conference from which Inner City Press was banned, it submitted this question to the UK Mission: "on the agenda there's Western Sahara on the afternoon of Wednesday 8 August. Last month Sweden said at the beginning of the month that it would be seeking agreed Press Elements from every consultation. Will the UK be seeking Press Elements from this Western Sahara consultation? And if not, why not?  if it could be read out and Amb Pierce answer it on camera it would be appreciated." But the question was not read out at the Press-less press conference at which the UK called on many state media. Nor was it answered when submitted a second time. At the UN Delegates Entrance gate on August 8 the Morocco delegation refused to answer Inner City Press' questions; inside the UN Guterres and his Alison Smale give multiple offices to Morroco state media, some of whom double as UN staff. In this context, here is Polisario's August 8 statement: "Today, Personal Envoy for Western Sahara Mr. Horst Köhler briefed the UN Security Council on his recent visit to the region and the next steps he intends to take. Taking note of the briefing, the Frente POLISARIO reiterates its commitment to cooperate fully with the Personal Envoy in the framework of the UN political process, and stands ready to engage in the negotiation process, as called for by the Security Council. The Frente POLISARIO is encouraged by the Personal Envoy’s efforts since he assumed office and urges the UN and in particular the Security Council members to fulfill their responsibility in line with the principles and purposes of the UN Charter and in full respect for the inalienable right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination and independence. “The Frente POLISARIO remains encouraged by, and supportive of, the efforts of Personal Envoy Köhler to relaunch the long-stalled UN peace process,” said Sidi Omar, the Frente POLISARIO’s representative at the United Nations. “The people of Western Sahara, who still endure the horrors of the Moroccan occupation of their land, have waited patiently for too long to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination and independence. The Frente POLISARIO stands ready and willing to come to the negotiating table to achieve a just, peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict of Western Sahara, which ensures the inalienable rights of our people.”"  In May 19 Guterres  issued a runic statement on Western Sahara, citing Kohler: "The Secretary-General is closely following the developments in Western Sahara. In accordance with Security Council Resolution 2414 (2018) adopted on 27 April 2018, and in order to maintain an environment conducive to the resumption of dialogue under the auspices of his Personal Envoy Horst Köhler, the Secretary-General calls for maximum restraint. No action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo." Is this a reference to Tifariti? Guterres also claims to be following many other situations closely, even amid targeted killings the UN does and says nothing about. We'll have more on this.  After the April 25 vote on extending MINURSO's mandate was postponed, it was re-set for April 27 at 3 pm. And Inner City Press published the draft in blue, with six month extension, here on Scribd. When the vote was taken, not only Ethiopia and Russia abstained, but China too. Afterward Inner City Press asked Morocco's Ambassador Omar Hilale about the abstentions - he said they will be forgotten - and about Paragraphs 69 and 52 of the UN report, on harassent of human rights defenders and restrictions on MINURSO. Hilale said to ask the UN for Morocco's response. He then held up flyers of a tank, a modified pick up truck and an automatic weapons, saying that Algeria buys these rather than feeding people. Inner City Press asked him about the Rif in Morocco - he acknowledged that more could be done, spoke of discipline on some ministers. Finally Inner City Press asked him about resources, fish and phosphate. He answered, this round, only about fish, saying that the EU is re-writing its agreement to explicitly including Western Sahara. Human rights indeed. At the stakeout there were, multiple Morocco state media given full access, unlike Inner City Press, and UN DPI's Hua Jiang who is responsible, along with Alison Smale, for this lawless disparity. Inner City Press pursued it, alone, to the UN Security Council stakeout on April 26 where staff said it'd be Monday, then to the UN basement where the Council's President Peru told it, Maybe before. Only a six month extension, to be revisited in October. All that pressure for this. Amid escalating spin in the run-up to the slated extension the MINURSO mission - with the R for Referendum still not carried out - on April 18, after Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric entertained questions from multiple of the Moroccan state media the UN gives office space and full access to, Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: Morocco seems to be claiming that both Bir Lehlou and Tifariti are… where the UN has team sites are located within the buffer zone.  Frente Polisario says that's entirely false.  Obviously, this is a dispute about where these meetings take place.  What I wanted to know, it should be pretty straightforward for the UN to say, given how long it's had a mission there, are these two sites, Bir Lehlou and Tifariti, are they within the buffer zone or, as stated otherwise, are they not in the buffer zone?

Spokesman:  I don't have any new language on Western Sahara, so I'll get back you to." And the next day, April 19, he came to the briefing and said "I can say that neither Bir Lahlou nor Tifariti fall within the buffer strip." Asked and answered.

Inner City Press has exclusively published the marked up new Security Council draft resolution, here on Scribd and attached here on Patreon. Now just before the Security Council vote comes a detailed report on the export of phosphorus from Morocco occupied Western Sahara. From the report: "A remarkable development of 2017 is the arrest in South Africa of a vessel carrying phosphate rock from Western Sahara to a New Zealand based importer, and the South African High Court placing rightful ownership of the cargo in the exiled government of Western Sahara. The effect on the trade has been noticeable. Three previously long-term importers seemingly stopped buying after this incident, and the transit
routes were shifted to abandon stop-overs in Panama and South Africa." The full WSRW report is here.
As published by Inner City Press, the UN Security Council draft
proposed that the Council “Expresses concern regarding the Polisario Front’s announcement of the planned relocation of administrative functions to Bir Lahlou, and calls for the Polisario Front to refrain from any such destabilizing actions." Was this really announced? On April 24, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Western Sahara, there's a draft that Inner City Press published it, and the draft, which I know you're not going to respond to, but there's a reason I'm asking you this.  One of the paragraphs in the draft, 2 ter, quote, “expresses concern regarding Polisario Front's announcement of the planned relocation of administrative functions to Bir Lehlou”.  And I wanted to ask you whether… given that… that, you know, MINURSO [United Nations Mission in Western Sahara] is there, are you aware… has there been a… a… a… an announced planned relocation?  What's your position on that?

Spokesman:  I think the…

Inner City Press:  I'm not asking about the draft.  I'm asking about the facts.

Spokesman:  No, I think the… whoever… whatever parties decides to change… relocate whatever they would want to relocate is up to them to announce.

Inner City Press: Right, but they… don't they… so, you're not aware of them telling MINURSO…

Spokesman:  I'm saying it's up to them to announce.  What is your other question?" And that's how the UN avoids questions. 
Today's UN gives office space and full access to multiple Moroccan state media, including moonlighters as UN staff, while evicting an restricting underdogs.
On April 4 after Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita met Guterres -- who gave no read out, as has become his norm -- Morocco arranged a press conference, not in the UN Press Briefing Room but elsewhere. In it, Bourita reportedly threatened military action, and said Guterres spoke to the King by phone (again, no read-out) and to the President of the Security Council. Arranging this was the Moroccan Mission to the UN, which in its last public UNTV stakeout in the UN, last April video here, used the platform to criticize the Press for asking too many questions. Expect more.
On April 5 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: a readou of the meeting that the Secretary-General had with the Foreign Minister of Morocco. There are these quotes from the Foreign Minister of Morocco after the meeting saying that all options are on the table; Morocco is considering taking up its responsibility to act if the UN doesn't.  Is it true that the Moroccan Foreign Minister threatened military action in the meeting? And what was the Secretary-General's response?

Spokesman:  Listen I'm challenged enough to speak for the Secretary-General, so I will not speak for any other parties.  The Secretary-General and the Foreign Minister discussed issues of mutual concern.  Including, obviously, the situation in the Western Sahara.

Inner City Press:   No, but, I mean, I guess if he's a conflict-prevention guy and…  and…  and the person that he meets with comes out of the meeting saying, I threaten to take military action…

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General's focus continues to be on prevention of conflict, and that's why he meets regularly with representatives of Member States.

Inner City Press: But I'm saying, with the Polisario Front, their representative at the UN, now recently deceased, with whom on the other side as a conflict-prevention man is Mr. Guterres speaking?

Spokesman:  "As you know, the death of the Polisario representative was very sudden, coming in the last two or three days.  I don't know if they have appointed someone to replace him."

And now Guterres leaves town for another six days. Inner City Press also asked the Dutch military adviser, video here. Back on March 21 when Horst Kohler left the Security Council at 4:40 pm Inner City Press asked him, Was there any discussion of natural resources (exploitation) and the European Court of Justice decision? There was no direct answer. Periscope video here. But Team Kohler took a detour and visited with Moroccan Ambassador Omar Hilale, holding court in the second floor hall where Inner City Press due to censorship, unlike Moroccan state media, cannot go. Now Hilale, on the day presidency of the Security Council passes from the Netherlands to Peru, has written threatening military action, using Latin ("casus belli"). Now on April 2, the Polisario Front has sent a three page latter to the Security Council, denying Hilale's allegations and calling them a smokescreen. Letter, in three photos, here. Even before Inner City Press at 1 pm on April 2 asked the President of the Security Council Gustavo Meza-Cuadra of Peru about the letter - he confirmed receipt - UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN's MINURSO "has "not observed any movement of military elements in the northeast territory.  MINURSO continues to monitor the situation closely." On April 3, one of the Morocco state media to which the UN gives office space and full access while evicting and restricting Inner City Press "asked" Dujarric about some media saying the UN was daring to disagree with Hilale, was even siding with Polisario. Dujarric said of course not, and when Inner City Press asked if anything had changed from his statement the day before, Dujarric said he expected to have something later on April 3. Periscope video here. When? In what format? Watch this site. Does the timing of Hilale's letter, not noted along with the (written) medium by Al Jazeera, spring from the situation on the ground or a plan of April lobbying? All this while Secretary General Guterres, who notably sides with the over-dog in places ranging from Cameroon to Yemen, was on a four day unannounced (but belatedly confirmed to Inner City Press) four day weekend at his real home in Lisbon, missing in action (MIA). On March 21 the two Morocco state media didn't ask anything during the UNTV stakeout. The UN gives them full access, one of them doubling as a UN staff members. This is how the UN works, or doesn't. Some tell Inner City Press at least Kohler is holding meetings, with French Le Drian (opposing any human rights component in the MINURSO mandate), Sweden and the African Union. This last made Morocco mad. The Moroccan mission has lobbied the UN Department of Public Information, now run by Alison Smale, against Inner City Press, frivolously; still, Inner City Press remains restricted in its movements in the UN while covering meetings on the second floor when often Morocco's Ambassador Omar Hilale is buzzing around lobbying. Hilale has a habit of counting how many questions Inner City Press asks. Inner City Press has three times asked the UN for an update on the work of Antonio Guterres' personal envoy Horst Kohler, who has no presence at UNHQ in New York, only in Germany. On March 12, Inner City Press asked for his and Guterres' view on the holding of the Crans Montana Forum in Dakhla, transcript here: Inner City Press: on Mr. Horst Köhler's work on Western Sahara, and I did want to ask, since having not gotten one, a specific question, which is that I think this Crans-Montana forum is kicking off, and I've seen a lot of back-and-forth on it.  And, as you may know, the African Union specifically called in one of its resolutions for it not to be held in this disputed territory and for countries not to go.  And I'm wondering, if we can't get an update, can we get Mr. Hans [Horst] Köhler's view on this forum being held at this time and this place? Spokesman:  Mr. Köhler, as you know, has been meeting with the parties.  He met… I think his last round of meetings was in Lisbon, where he met with the representatives of Morocco.  As for the holding of this event, we have no particular comment, and I'm not aware of any UN participation in it. Inner City Press: I'll go back and look at previous -- Spokesman:  Well, I know what happened previously. Inner City Press: I'm sure you do."  On March 5 Inner City Press asked again, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: you'd said, on Western Sahara, that you were trying to get something from Mr. [Horst] Köhler.  There was reportedly a meeting between him and the Moroccan side in Lisbon.  Is that the case?  And what was-- Spokesman:  That's my understanding. I'm trying to get some more details." That's what he said last time. On February 27 the Court of Justice of the European Union "held that, taking accountof the fact that the territory of Western Sahara does not form part of the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco, the waters adjacent to the territory of Western Sahara are not part of the Moroccan fishing zone referred to in the Fisheries Agreement. Lastly, the Court examines the territorial scope of the Protocol to the Fisheries Agreement. Although that Protocol does not contain any specific provisions on that subject, the Court states that several of its provisions use the expression 'Moroccan fishing zone.' That expression is the same as that to be found in the Fisheries Agreement, which defines it as 'waters falling within the sovereignty or jurisdiction of the Kingdom of Morocco.' The Court concludes that the 'Moroccan fishing zone' under the Protocol does not include the waters adjacent to the territory of Western Sahara." But at a human rights event at the European Union's office in New York City last week, in an hour long session of bragging, this EU over-reach did not come up, and no questions on it were permitted (Inner City Press had to run back to the UN to meet the 7 pm censorship deadline imposed by UN Global Communicator Alison Smale. This curfew does not apply to the many Morocco state media she and Antonio Guterres give full access and work space to.)  And the UN of Smale and Guterres, when Inner City Press asked on February 27, wouldn't say anything about UN representative Kohler or the EU decision. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: on what you just said of no comment on the EU Court of Justice decision that the… that the waters off Western Sahara don't… can't be agreed to by Morocco.  I wanted… could you… when you said you have no comment on it, is there some way to seek whether this… the personal representative, Mr. Horst Köhler…? Spokesman:  I have no particular comment on it.  As soon… if and when we do have a comment, I will share that comment. Inner City Press: And relatedly, what I wanted to ask is, I've heard that unlike his predecessors, for Mr. Köhler, there's no New York presence of that office or mandate.  It's all in Germany.  Is that the case?  Is there some way… how would one go about seeking a comment from this Special Envoy and… and… can you have any update on his work? Spokesman:  "Through us or through DPA [Department of Political Affairs].  Yes, I'm waiting for an update, because I think there are some meetings going on.  Masood-ji?" Yeah.  In the earlier decision from the EU Court of Justice: "In his Opinion today, Advocate General Melchior Wathelet proposes that the Court should answer that it has jurisdiction to assess the legality of international agreements concluded by the EU, that an association such as WSC is entitled to challenge the legality of the Fisheries Agreement and that the Fisheries Agreement is invalid because it applies to the territory and waters of Western Sahara." It's here, in eight languages. On January 11, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about it, video here, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I'd asked you about this… and I guess on Tuesday, apparently, you confirmed that the Secretary-General did write a letter to the Frente Polisario, the part that you read out was on Guerguerat. In the interim, the EU Court of Justice Advocate General has issued a… a ruling yesterday that the EU Morocco Fisheries Agreement is illegal for a variety of grounds, including the… you know, that it violates international law.  Some people in Moroccan state media said that there was no letter; now there is a letter.  Can you say, were the… was the concept of natural resources, now highlighted once again by the EU Court of Justice, part of this letter or not? And would you just release the letter to prevent this kind of…? Spokesman:  No, I won't… the letter was a private letter.  I just wanted to confirm that it had been sent, and I'll leave it at that. Inner City Press: So, really, it's not… so…  Does the Secretary-General or Mr. Köhler have any comment on this EU decision… in terms of natural resources…? Spokesman:  "Not this a point [?] Obviously, we're focusing on Mr. Köhler and his ability to do his work.On Western Sahara after a long delay, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres named Horst Köhler as his Personal Envoy, replacing Christopher Ross. Inner City Press was exclusively told by UN Department of Political Affairs staff that the delay was attributable to Kohler's demand to have his own personal staff put on UN contracts - a demand that Guterres gave into, allowing Kohler to put long-time German staff in P-5 and P-3 UN positions. On November 20, the UN implicitly confirmed what Inner City Press has first reported: Kohler did not visit Layoune, the seat of MINURSO.   On January 8, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, transcript here: Inner City Press:
you'd read out the Guerguerat comment.  There's also… there's a press report of a… of a letter from António Guterres to the Polisario, received by them on Saturday, that has quite a different… at least their description of it is quite different, saying that it involves… it's about natural resources, and it agrees that, you know, various steps are needed.  Did he write such a letter? And if so, do you have any… Spokesman:  I don't have any confirmation that such a letter was sent." Twenty four hours later, instead of emailing Inner City Press his belated answer, he waited and read it out at the next noon briefing. It will be in the day's transcript. This is the same Dujarric who threw Inner City Press out of the UN Press Briefing Room as it pursued the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case. Now Dujarric is stonewalling on Guterres' inaction on the Patrick Ho and Cheikh Gadio UN bribery case. Today's UN is corrupt.O
n January 5 Guterres, after an 11 day vacation followed by four days with nothing on his UN schedule ("all appointment internal") has issued a statement purporting deep concern. Here it is, full text: "The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about recent increased tensions in the vicinity of Guerguerat in the Buffer Strip in southern Western Sahara between the Moroccan berm and the Mauritanian border. The Secretary-General underlines that the withdrawal of Frente Polisario elements from Guerguerat in April 2017, together with the earlier withdrawal of Moroccan elements from the area, was critical to creating an environment conducive to the resumption of dialogue under the auspices of his Personal Envoy Horst Kohler. The Secretary-General calls on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid escalating tensions. Regular civilian and commercial traffic should not be obstructed and no action should be taken, which may constitute a change to the status quo of the Buffer Strip." We'll have more on this. During the November 22 consultations, Inner City Press asked the UN spokesman for the third time why the UN Department of Public Information has denied access to the building to Western Sahara media. Spokesman Farhan Haq, while trying to cut off Inner City Press' question, confirmed this is the UN's policy. But it is just a statement on DPI's website, to which for example the Free UN Coalition for Access has never agreed. After the consultations, Horst Kohler and his factotum emerged, saying only, I am encouraged, then rushed down the hall with a UN Security officer assigned to him, unlike other UN envoys, due to his past position in Germany. This is waste.  Later Italy's Ambassador Cardi summarized the meeting; Inner City Press asked if Kohler explained his failure to go to El-Ayoun / Laayoune. Apparently not. Moroccan state media tried to get more on "encouragement;" this is their privilege, unlike media of Western Sahara. In this context, this: "Ahead of the UN Security Council’s 22 November meeting on Western Sahara, the Frente POLISARIO reiterates its support to the mission of the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Mr. Horst Köhler, and urges Council members to provide necessary contributions to the relaunch of the UN peace process. The Frente POLISARIO expects the Security Council to uphold its responsibility towards the people of Western Sahara and to ensure full respect to their inalienable right to self-determination and independence. The Council has the duty to guarantee that its own resolutions are respected and fully implemented. In this regard, UNSC Resolution 2351(2017) has requested the Personal Envoy to provide an update on progress towards a lasting and just solution to the conflict of Western Sahara, as a question of decolonization, within six months of his appointment. This update – to be held next February – should comprise a concrete framework for the path forward that would culminate in urgent time-bound, face-to-face negotiations between the Frente POLISARIO and Morocco.  In the interim, it is more than necessary that the Council addresses ongoing issues in order to create more favorable conditions for the new negotiating process. Morocco continues to reject the return to Western Sahara of the AU observers that were illegally expelled by Morocco in March 2016.   There has still been no ‘technical mission’ to the Guerguerat region of Western Sahara to examine the very serious problems created by Morocco’s unilateral violation of the terms of the ceasefire, as called for in UNSC Resolution 2351 (2017). Likewise, Morocco’s ongoing, widespread human rights abuses and plunder of natural resources in the occupied Territory of Western Sahara suggest a culture of impunity that is not conducive to a constructive and lasting peace process."
On November 7, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric if Kohler was already blocked, why the UN is blocking Western Sahara media accreditation while giving offices to Moroccan state media, and of the King's speech. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: you may have seen the speech by the King of Morocco in which he said that there will be no solution to Western Sahara that's not fully in accord with Morocco's sovereignty, which basically means… it's not really clear what is really being negotiated given that statement.  I wanted to know, is there any response by either Mr. [Horst] Köhler or by the Secretariat? And, on Mr. Köhler's recent visit to the region, was he restricted of traveling anywhere that he wanted within Western Sahara? Because I've heard that he has, and I wanted to just ask you… Spokesman:  I'm not aware of… Inner City Press:  Did he visit MINURSO [United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara]? Spokesman:  I'm not aware of these, of whatever restrictions.  Obviously, on these trips, itineraries are negotiated.  I'm not going to react to the King's… the King's speech.  There is a mandate from the Security Council for the Personal Envoy as well as the… as well as MINURSO, and we will follow that mandate and continue our work. Inner City Press: And you'd said earlier… I'd asked you about this case of the Western Sahara journalist, who's now been twice denied accreditation.  You said you'd look into whether this is under the policy of needing to be from a Member State of the General Assembly.  Were you able to check that out? Spokesman:  I don't recall, but I'll check again." Seven hours later, again nothing.
On October 11, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  in the Fourth Committee, the Ambassador of Morocco, Omar Hilale, said two things.  He said that Mr. Horst Köhler is going to the region next week.  So, he put a date on it.  And he also said that the idea of a referendum is dead.  That's… that's what he's quoted as saying.  And, since that's the name of the mission, Referendum in Western Sahara, does the UN have any, does the UN believe that the referendum is dead? Spokesman:  "On a potential visit by the new special personal envoy, as soon as we have something to confirm, we will do so.  As far as… I'm not going to comment on the Ambassador's statement.  The mission there has a mandate given to it by the Security Council, and its work is to implement that mandate.  Thank you." Dujarric never did announce anything about Kohler's travel, even after it began. So on October 17 Inner City Press asked him, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: this note to correspondents [on Myanmar] is long.  Can we get a similar one for, for example, Mr. [Horst] Köhler's visits to Morocco, Tindouf and elsewhere? Spokesman:  Mr. Köhler is currently in Rabat.  We hope to have more at the conclusion of the visit." On October 19, Inner City Press asking Duajrric about the attendance, at Kohler's meeting with Morocco's King, of  "Kohler's special advisor David Schwake" - how was he hired? Dujarric said the positions were advertised; Inner City Press noted that Schwake was Germany's ambassador to South Sudan, for example. Was he just brought in? Is he seconded? Dujarric has not answered. Yet. On September 17, the UN issued this: "The Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Horst Koehler, took up his functions on 8 September in New York, where he held meetings and consultations until 16 September. Mr. Koehler met with the Secretary-General and senior United Nations officials, representatives of the parties and neighbors, Member States and the African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security. The Secretary-General welcomed the intention of his Personal Envoy to travel to the region. He stressed the importance of the visit to help re-launch the political process in a new spirit and dynamic, in accordance with Security Council resolution 2351 (2017). Mr. Koehler looks forward to travelling to the region and engaging with the parties in a spirit of trust and compromise. " Inner City Press twice asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric the simple question of if Kohler will be in New York for UN General Assembly high level week. Dujarric has not answered; he invited Moroccan state media to his "background" briefing on September 15 but not Inner City Press, which asks him questions every day. We'll have more on this.
 On August 4, Inner City Press asked the UN why there is STILL not UN Envoy on Western Sahara, UN transcript here: and below. On August 15, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric again, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the position of a Personal Envoy on Western Sahara.... well, you know how long it's been. Spokesman:  I do know how long it's been. Inner City Press: Can you give some idea? Is the problem consultations?  Is the problem with widely reported Mr. [Horst] Köhler and the size of the office, the location of the office?  What is the problem? Spokesman:  "You know, a lot of things happen below the water line.  When the personal envoy is ready to emerge from above the water line, we will make the announcement." After the briefing, Dujarric walked out chatting with Moroccan media (Magreb Arab Press) which comes in and ask questions much less than Inner City Press but which Dujarric and the UN Secretariat did not evict, and so have full access. On August 16, after Guterres declined to answer Inner City Press' question choosing instead five others pre-picked, his Office announced: "Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Horst Köhler, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara. The new Personal Envoy succeeds Christopher Ross of the United States who completed his assignment on 30 April 2017.  The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Ross’ tireless efforts and dedication to facilitate negotiations between the parties in order to achieve a just, durable and mutually acceptable political solution, which would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara." We'll have more on this. From August 4: Inner City Press:  this Western Sahara envoy question, it's getting stranger and stranger.  How long has it been since there's been an envoy?  And what is the, I guess, at this point, what is the holdup? Spokesman:  "I'm not going to comment on your characterization.  When we have a Personal Envoy to announce, we will announce one."  Likewise when Inner City Press asked about Morocco's alleged torture of the Gdeim Iziki defendants, asking both before and after the victim, the UN had no comment at all. Now they have receipt a letter that "it has become clear that the Moroccan authorities do not respect international law and persist in their grave violations of human rights in Western Sahara, under the responsibility of the United Nations, in view of the decolonization of the territory and the exercise by its people of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom. The Moroccan authorities have never had the intention of enabling Saharawi political prisoners to have a fair trial because they were arrested mainly because of their political views and public defense of the Saharawi people's right to self-determination. The recent judgments represent a serious development in Morocco's notorious record of human rights violations in occupied Western Sahara." Maybe the UN will deny receiving this letter too, while leaving the envoy on Western Sahara position vacant for weeks and months without ever explaining it. This is conflict prevention? On July 18 Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Western Sahara, I think the Frente Polisario sent a communication to [the Department of Political Affairs] and [the Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) about they've captured, they say, 19 people coming over the berm from Morocco and put them in… there's photographs.  It's been… it's in El País.  And I'm just wondering, given the… the… the… what happened in Guerguerat, is the UN… what's the UN comment on it?  Will you confirm that you've received the communication?  And what does the UN intend to do about it? Deputy Spokesman:  I'll check whether we've received any communication from them." Six hours later, after Haq closed the office, there was still nothing. On July 19 Haq walked out as Inner City Press. So on July 20, along with Rif, Inner City Press asked again, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: In the ongoing protests in the Rif Region of Morocco, there's a large protest today by which the Government has responded to by blocking roads, trying to block entry by sea, slowing down the Internet.  And so, I just wanted to know… I know this has come up and at one point, Stéphane [Dujarric] said that there may be something coming down.  Given that, in fact, the protests are growing and the oppression and the number of people locked up has grown, has the Department of Public… excuse me, Political Affairs or the Secretariat taken any note of this? Deputy Spokesman:  Certainly, we take note of this and I'll check with them about any response. Inner City Press: I tried to ask yesterday as you left.  I had asked you two days ago I think, whether… whether you had confirmed receipt by [the Department of Political Affairs] and [the Department of Peacekeeping Operations] of a communication by Frente Polisario about this… these arrests now reported in three countries' media of people coming over the berm into Western Sahara, where you have a peacekeeping mission.  Have you received that?  And what's the…? Deputy Spokesman:  We're aware of this.  The thing about that is that the [United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara] (MINURSO), does not have any sort of civilian law enforcement role.  We don't have any mandate to have access to these individuals, and they have not had access to them." When Inner City Press on July 17 asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about complaints of the use of torture in the Gdeim Izik cases set for decision tomorrow, this UN spokesman said they UN had nothing to say. Watch this site. Despite South African and European court decisions, Morocco's OCP and its subsidiary Phosboucraa said they consider the South Africa's decision to impound illegally exploited phosphate from Western Sahara to be "political piracy committed under judicial cover... They therefore reserve their right to pursue and protect their property rights for this cargo using all means permitted by international law." So, like Ban Ki-moon's indicted brother Ban Ki-Sang who used the UN's name to try to sell real estate in Viet Nam, they are thumbing their noses at the court - while Morocco's King continues to abuse those in the Rif region. By refusing to defend, they concede. Where now will New Zealand's Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients source their phosphate? Back on April 9 Inner City Press reported UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' proposal of Horst Kohler of Germany to replace Christopher Ross as the UN's Western Sahara envoy. Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when Inner City Press, repeatedly refused comment. Now the reason for delay can be reported: UN sources tell Inner City Press that Kohler demanded a large staff, some long time associates, to be put on the UN payroll, leading to delay. On June 21 Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq...


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