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For UN Counter-Terrorism, ICP's Told, Russian Boss, Deputy & Team from Egypt, Sinai Video UNanswered

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, April 26 – Sergey Kislyak was slated for the new United Nations counter-terrorism Under Secretary General position, sources told Inner City Press as it published on February 15 - but then it became "unlikely." Given his higher profile now, the UN would be putting itself and others in the spotlight with such an appointment. Now on April 26, Inner City Press can report from sources that while the top job is "still slated for Russia," as one source put it," the "deputy / ASG and team will be from Egypt." While Egypt certainly has experience with terrorism, what about practices such as those depicted in the Sinai video Inner City Press asked the UN about on April 26? From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: the video from Egypt of the army apparently executing people captured in the Sinai, and I’m wondering, in the time since Friday, does the UN have any more reaction to the video?  And did you feel the same thing, that it shouldn’t have been released, given that it shows the death of individuals?  And is what is shown a crime?

Spokesman Dujarric:  We have… I have no further information on that video.  As a matter of principle, as I think that videos showing killings of people should be handled delicately.  I think what we’re talking about here is the death of two staff members in the Congo who were on work for this Organization, mandated by the Security Council, and we very much hope that the investigation will be carried out thoroughly.  And when I have something else to tell you on Egypt, I will share it with you.

  Nothing in the two days since; today's UN refuses to answer Press questions about its "reforms," from Resident Coordinators to gender to this. And the UN is still trying to put and keep Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom, whose long ago correspondent Sanaa Youssef rarely comes in and never asks questions, in Inner City Press' long time office, and restrict Inner City Press to minders. Inner City Press' sources tell it that for the top CT post after Kislyak there is another candidate, also Russian: Andrey Kurdskikh. The sudden death of Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, and the likely retirement of Russia's long-time representative in the UN Secretariat Dmitry Titov, will necessitate other moves, involving a current spokesperson. We'll have more on this.

  At the UN there has been talk since the beginning of the year about the new Under Secretary General for Counter-Terrorism position, but UN spokesman Farhan Haq on February 15 refused to answer the most basic question from Inner City Press about it. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: the Under-Secretary-General for counter-terrorism — many people are speaking about the position — is it something that needs, like the SRSG [Special Representative of the Secretary-General] on migration, any kind of approval by ACABQ [Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions], or is it fully funded and ready to go?  What's the status of USG counter-terrorism?

Deputy Spokesman  Haq:  I would actually have to see where we are with that right now.

  When Haq left the UN for the day at 4:30 pm, he had not answered Inner City Press' questions. On March 3, the UN's lead, also holdover, spokesman Stephane Dujarric left the briefing podium as Inner City Press began asking a question, saying he would answer "tomorrow" - meaning Saturday, adding "I'm lazy." This is today's UN.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has extended the contract of Obama-nominee Jeffrey Feltman, as Inner City Press first reported on January 27 (leading the UN Spokesman to call it "despicable.")  It seems the US Mission is comfortable - some add, for now.

 Also on February 13 Guterres has put atop UN Peacekeeping its fifth Frenchman in a row, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, whom Inner City Press named as one of three Francois Hollande nominees on February 8.

   Meanwhile news wire Reuters, whose Stephen J. Adler vows to cover Washington aggressively, has done little but retype the UN's press release, here and here. Reuters did not mention that France has controlled UN Peacekeeping for 20 years, despite sexual abuse and negligent sanitation scandals, much less that Feltman was Obama's nominee.

  This is not mentioned by AFP either; a Google News search 10 hours after the UN's announcement didn't even find a Voice of America story on Feltman. Why is the UN so UNaccountable? We'll have more on this.

  Hollande is soon to leave power; Obama has already left. Do these choices signify the claimed meritocracy? Are they smart for the UN? Has there been enough House-cleaning? Seems not.

 There was a female candidate for UN Peacekeeping, also French, Sylvie Bermann. While the UN may claim, as it did in the case of Salam Fayyad, that they consulted with the US about Feltman, Inner City Press predicts Feltman's extension, like Fayyad, will bring conflict. News, too. Watch this site.

   Antonio Guterres was chosen as the UN's new Secretary General in a closed-door process that was paradoxically praised as transparent. Forty two days into his tenure, he is on a 12-day trip to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, accompanied and led by his predecessor's (and Hillary Clinton's) Gulf political adviser Jeffrey Feltman. His holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric is spinning UN-friendly scribes with quotes about how Guterres was ostensibly misled by US Ambassador Nikki Haley. This is not propitious. 

  Who is traveling with Guterres? Unlike many countries, it has not been announced or disclosed. But Inner City Press, which Dujarric and the UN's Cristina Gallach evicted from the UN (and restrict it still) understands from sources it includes not only Dujarric and Feltman but also Feltman's "plant" Katrin Hett. When Inner City Press asked about her position, Dujarric called the question "despicable." Who is running this show?

  When Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, in his first meeting with Guterres in the last nine days, effusively greeted Feltman, it should have set off alarms. But it didn't. What was the role of the UAE, along with Feltman, in telling Guterres to appoint Salam Fayyad to the Libya envoy post previously occupied by Bernardino Leon, bought by the UAE? Questions, questions.

 It is reminiscent of one of Ban Ki-moon's trips to Egypt, when Mubarak asked him why there were no Arabs in the UN delegation. No, Ban said, we have an Egyptian - as a security guard. This story long circulated among the Arab heads of state the inept Ban met with. We want Guterres to be different - for the good of the UN. Watch this site.


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