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UN's Sha Planned Dining Solo with China General, Says Award Was Surprise

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 -- For four days, Inner City Press has asked the UN about Under Secretary General Sha Zukang having given a “World Harmony Foundation” award to retired Chinese general Chi Haotian in Shanghai on in late October, just before Mr. Sha stood with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the closing of the Shanghai Expo.

  Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press that Sha was “not on leave” and that the online photograph of the award was the first the UN knew of Sha's involvement. On November 1, 2 and 3 Nesirky has repeated that some UN statement might be coming -- without saying anything more.

  On November 4, Inner City Press was able to ask Sha Zukang directly about the award and the controversy. Sha told Inner City Press that “the general came to know I was in Shanghai” and he invited Sha to dinner.

   Sha canceled his other plans. “When I was with disarmament we were together, many years ago,” Sha said of Chi Haotian. “I thought it was he and me only. Than I saw the group.”

Inner City Press has previously covered the World Harmony Foundation trying to parlay its $110,000 contribution to the 2009 UN Day concert into photos with Ban Ki-moon.

 After Inner City Press ran several exposes, the photo session was canceled. But still Under Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari appeared for photos with the group, made up of businessmen and led by Frank Liu, in the Millennium Hotel across First Avenue from UN Headquarters.

  Here, the result was a photo of Under Secretary General Sha, general Chi Haotian and WHF's Frank Liu.

UN's Sha, the General & Frank Liu: no solo dinner shown

 “I didn't know what the award was,” Sha told Inner City Press on November 4. “That is what happened. I don't want to issue any clarification.”

Given the controversy, one would assume that Ban Ki-moon's office has asked Sha for an explanation, which is the above. What will happen next? Watch this site.

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In UN Council, Pascoe on Yemen, W.Sahara & Hariri Tribunal, Non-Members Excluded

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 4 -- “The horizon is broad,” UN Department of Political Affairs chief Lynn Pascoe told Inner City Press as he left the Security Council on Thursday morning. Inside behind closed doors, his briefing to the Security Council's 15 members was supposed to have not been limited to countries on the Council's agenda.

  One such country sent a diplomat, who was surprised to be barred from the meeting. “I thought it would be public,” he told Inner City Press. Another member of the Council dismissively called it an “exercise,” but noted that the Council “ is not a gymnasium.”

  The UK, whose innovation this was, declined through its Permanent Representative to list which countries had been discussed. Others present told Inner City Press that Yemen was mentioned, in the context of the Group of Friends which during the UN General Debate held a meeting, albeit across the street from the UN.

  Whether the recent posting of bombs made it more likely Yemen will be post on the Council's agenda is not known. Yemen still leads the Group of 77 and China, so any loss of control or sovereignty is unlikely.

Another delegation told Inner City Press that Western Sahara was discussed in a less formal way that usual. Did France speak? No, the delegate recounted, [Ambassador] Araud just smiled.

Pascoe & Russia's Churkin, closed door exercises not shown

Pascoe emerged with Assistant Secretaries General Zerihoun and Tarasco, who rushed in late. So, Africa and the Middle East. Where were D-2s like Tamrat Samuel on Asia and Horst Heittmann on the Middle East? The scuttlebutt on the latter is that his transfer from Security Council Affairs was meant to keep the Middle East seat under “non-Arab” control, while another DPA staffer aims for the post Heittmann vacated.

Pascoe, according to a source, urged the Council to go forward with a session on November 5 about Lebanon, specifically the Hariri Tribunal. On November 1, Inner City Press was told that the Tribunal would be discussed on Friday as Any Other Business.

  But on Thursday Ambassador after Ambassador told the Press to “ask Sir Lyall Grant” of the UK. Lebanon's Ambassador said he did not want to steal Lyall Grant's thunder, and would only speak about scheduling or the program of work when Lebanon regains the Presidency in September.

The UN Security Council is so full of secrets, one wonder how it functions. Does it? Watch this site.

Watch this site, follow on Twitter @InnerCityPress.

 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.

* * *

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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