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World Cup Opens on Big Screens in UN With Russia Trouncing Saudi 5-0 and Ambassadors in Jerseys

By Matthew Russell Lee, Video, Sweden, 1st

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 – To view the 2018 World Cup TV screens have been set up in the Security Council on the UN's second floor down to the Vienna Cafe in its basement. Periscope video here. There are also screens in the UN Delegates' Lounge, where the first game of Russia versus Saudi Arabia was seen by both countries' Ambassadors and others, including the President of the General Assembly. Video here. Many ambassadors of qualifying countries showed up in their country's jersey, all with the number 10 except for Russia's deputy, who wore 9. Morocco's Ambassador Hilale did not wear a jersey. Photos here and here. It was 2-0 Russia by half time (when Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia walked from the Lounge to the Security Council to chair a meeting about the Saudi led coalition's assault on Hodeida in Yemen), and 5-0 Russia by the end. What will be the result of Uruguay and Egypt, whose team with recurperating Salah did its final training in Chechnya? Watch this site. On June 13 Inner City Press, having first reported that Antonio Guterres will be in Moscow to watch his Portugal play Morocco on June 20, asked Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia if his June 14 photo op would include Council members not qualified for the Cup, like the Netherlands and US. Yes, he said. The Deputy Ambassador of qualifier Sweden, Carl Skau, said he is "not very optimistic" about the Swedish team's chances. Inner City Press Periscope video here. Sweden is in Group F with incoming Security Council member Germany, Mexico and denuclearization hopeful South Korea. We'll have more on this - and on the other Groups. Guterres pre-announced his trip on June 2 and then took some softball questions. Video here. After Inner City Press shot the video on Periscope, which Guterres has banned on his 38th floor of the UN, and put it on YouTube, it was picked up and linked to be pro-Morocco media, here. On June 4, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: it seemed to me that the Secretary-General said on… on Friday that he will be in Moscow on 20 June for the Portugal-Morocco game, and he called it an official visit.  Can you give us some more… when does it begin? When does it end?

Spokesman:  No, it begin around the time of the game, and we'll have a bit more of an official announcement for an official visit closer to official time.

Inner City Press: Are there any other stops on the trail?

Spokesman:  There'll be… everything will be announced in due course." More than a week later, without sending any of it to Inner City Press which had asked, Dujarric at the June 12 noon briefing announced that Guterres will be in Moscow for two nights, with one each in Finland and Norway before that, back to New York on June 22. Asked who Guterres will be rooting for, Dujarric first said "guess" then said the UN is for fair play like in the briefing (room) - the briefing room he evicted Inner City Press from while leaving in other correspondents he'd lent it to. Worse than FIFA?  Guterres and Dujarric neglected to announce Guterres' recent publicly-funded trip to Lisbon where he brainstormed with that country's government, as Inner City Press reported and asked about. This while Guterres refuses Press questions on what's called his reform of the UN development system.

Inner City Press on May 30 sought to ask Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric a question in advance. But Dujarric, who evicted Inner City Press from the UN Press Briefing Room as it pursued the still unresolved story of UN bribery and keeps it restricted, ran off. Video here. So here is the question: why even for this reform has Guterres not prepared the UN's usual “Program Budget Implication” statement? How much will the reform cost? On May 31, Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric who offered an evasive answer and then ran off the podium. From the UN's sanitized transcript: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you about the development system reform.  In talking to some people on the Fifth Committee, they said that it's strange that there's no Program Budget Implication, PBI, filed in connection with this pretty major proposal.  Like, even for the envoy on Myanmar, there had to be a PBI.  How can it be something this big doesn't have a price tag?

Spokesman:  Well, I mean, I think everything was negotiated with the Fifth Committee, and I think they got all the documents they needed." And then he ran off. So Inner City Press went and asked the question to Guterres, repeatedly, who ignored the audible question (but appeared to give a small wave). Video here. This while Guterres accompanied by Dujarric and Alison Smale wined and dined no-question correspondents with pan seered corvina and restricting Inner City Press which alone asks about these budget issues, and corruption. Today's UN is corrupt - and a censor.

On June 1, Inner City Press asked Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: yesterday in the… in the meeting to… on the… on the development system reform, there was a sort of formal statement of the Secretariat that said, quote, "The Secretariat is not in a position to provide a detailed statement of programme budget implications (PBI) prior to the finalization of the implementation plan."  So I wanted to ask what I was trying to ask Stéphane yesterday.  What is the… usually, I mean, at least in my experience, usually the PBI is done before the vote.  Maybe this is… I'm sure States agreed to this, but what is the plan for the Secretariat?  What's the time frame to actually say how much it's going to cost?

Deputy Spokesman:  What's happening now — we're very appreciative of the adoption of the resolution yesterday by the Member States.  We had informed the Member States in a note of our… of the process that we're going through, and what we're going to do now is that we are engaging… as of now, we're engaging with the Fifth Committee to provide more information, and we'll do this so that, as the Secretary-General made clear, we can hit the ground running on 1 January 2019.

Inner City Press:  So that's in this May section, in this… in this current session, that… that this information is going to be provided, the PBI?

Deputy Spokesman:  Like I said, we have started, as of this past day, we're starting our dialogue with the Fifth Committee on this." But the resolution says during THIS General Assembly - and the final Budget Committee session of this GA ends soon...

  The reform, such as it is, is to move authority for the UN's resident coordinator system from the UN Development Program over to Guterres' deputy secretary general Amina J. Mohammed. Guterres had wanted to get regular assessed budget funding for this, but he lost in that attempt. An undefined “hybrid” funding system is yet to be specified, despite a rubber stamp vote being calle on the reform on May 31. How will it be paid for? It is undisclosed, just like Guterres' visit to his home in Portugal on May 28 was undisclosed until Inner City Press asked.

According to what senior Fifth (Budget) Committee sources exclusively tell Inner City Press, Guterres claims he can't estimate the cost or PBI until he finds out what states will voluntarily give him. Then how can this reform be voted on and be claimed to be completed, a rare victory for Guterres? (The sources also tell Inner City Press that Guterres made his appointment of Achim Steiner to replace Helen Clark as head of UNDP contingent on Steiner supporting UNDP's loss of the resident coordinator system to Amina Mohammed.) Dujarric did not want to answer, and if the past is any guide he will pre-select the questions to Guterres from among his allies. Watch this site.


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