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As USUN Regrets Iran Selection, Kornblau to JPMChase, Pelton Heads North

By Matthew Russell Lee, Partial exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, July 12, updated -- As at the UN the Arms Trade Treaty talks grind on, now half behind closed doors, the US Mission to the UN late Thursday e-mailed out the statement of its Ambassador Donald Mahley pledging

"to achieve the consensus on an effective arms treaty in order, as Secretary Clinton clearly stated, 'to ensure that all countries can be held to standards that will actually improve the global situation by denying arms to those who would abuse them.'"

  Inner City Press asked lead US Mission spokesman Mark Kornblau a couple of questions, including on Sudan [see below] and to please "state the US position on ammunition being covered by an Arms Trade Treaty."

  Kornblau and then the Mission to their credit quickly responded, with a previous statement by another US representative to the talks, Tom Countryman, which had not previously be e-mailed to the Press, that "the United States has made clear that ammunition should not be included within the scope of the ATT." Countryman concluded, as cited by NGOs, that

"we will continue to listen to any proposals for including ammunition. Our criteria in evaluating such proposals are simple – they must be realistic and limited in the burdens they impose, and they must be effective in achieving the goals and objectives of the ATT. In the absence of such a proposal and a compelling case for its benefits, the United States remains steadfast in its opposition to including ammunition in the ATT. "

  In a statement issued by Kornblau after 5 pm on Thursday, the US expressed its opposition that

"Iran's role as one of fourteen Vice Presidents at the Arms Trade Treaty Conference - while purely ceremonial - is nonetheless outrageous. Iran was selected to run on a closed slate of candidates put forward by the Asia Group, of which the United States is not a member...While, as a practical matter, the Vice President designation at the Arms Trade Treaty Conference has no impact whatsoever on the substance of the conference or our ability to advance and protect U.S. interests and values, it still makes a mockery of the Conference's purposes and undermines the credibility of the United Nations."

  Inner City Press has likewise asked for the US position on making the next head of the UN Budget Committee Sri Lanka and its Permanent Representative, listed in Ban Ki-moon's Panel of Experts report as involved in luring rebel leaders to surrender, who were then killed -- so far without answer.

  But we had and have news of Kornblau, which we wanted to confirm before now exclusively publishing. Ambassador Susan Rice, in a generous USUN EVERYONE e-mail on July 10, announced that

From: Ambassador Rice (USUN)
Subject: Staffing Announcement
Sent: Jul 10, 2012 3:02 PM

Dear Colleagues,

I am sorry to have to inform you that July 20 will be Mark Kornblau's last day at USUN. I am deeply indebted to Mark for the exceptional job he has done as my Director of Communications and Spokesperson since early 2009. Mark is a true professional, and I will sorely miss his wise counsel, sound judgment, deft touch and wry wit. I hope you will join in me in wishing him all the best in his next endeavor as Managing Director of Corporate Communications at JP Morgan Chase & Co. It’s a tremendous opportunity for him at a time of great challenge for the industry.

I am pleased to announce that Erin Pelton will succeed Mark as my Director of Communications and Spokesperson. Erin currently serves as Director of Communications and Assistant Press Secretary at the National Security Council, where she handles the Middle East, Latin America, and the nonproliferation portfolios, among others. Prior to her tenure at the White House, Erin spent six years at the State Department, both in Washington and overseas in Mexico and Saudi Arabia, most recently serving as a spokesperson in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Erin also worked for America Abroad Media, where she developed programs on international affairs for radio and television. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Latin American Studies from Drake University, and a Master’s Degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. Please join we in welcoming Erin and wishing Mark a fond farewell.

   We'll have more on this, including as applicable JPMorgan Chase's relations not only with the media but also the FERC about claims it manipulated energy prices in California and the Midwest.

   Explaining the pending Syria resolution is one thing, and hiking electricity prices during a heat wave is another. Ah, US, and USUN...

Update: On Inner City Press' question if the US opposes Sudan's bid to be a member of the Human Rights Council, as / from a U.S. official the following came in:

"We are obviously very much opposed, but this is not a done deal, and we urge members of the AU to do the right thing and stop an ICC-indicted war criminal from taking a seat on the Human Rights Council."

   On Sri Lanka's and Palitha Kohona's bid to head the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee, we hope to have more -- watch this site.

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Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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