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On W Sahara, ICP Asks UN Why Guterres Ignores AI on Rights, Spox Declines to Explain

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 20 – In the run-up to next week's UN Security Council two-step on Western Sahara, a consultation followed two days later by a vote, numerous diplomats have asked Inner City Press why Secretary General Antonio Guterres is "so pro Moroccan," as one of them put it. The perception is become widespread. The answers proffered include Guterres' time as Prime Minister of Portugal, with references to prior Moroccan King Hassan II and Abdellatif Youssoufi. On April 20, Inner City Press asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Amnesty International urging the inclusion of human rights monitoring in the mandate of the MINURSO mission, and why Guterres ignored it as he apparently ignores several other human rights issues. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: Amnesty International, you may have heard of, has issued a de… a call saying that the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara, MINURSO, should have a human rights monitoring function.  And I… I've seen a copy.  I'm not sure if you can say what the status of the Secretary-General's report is.  Is it now officially…?

Spokesman:  Yeah, the report…  I would refer you…

Inner City Press: I want to make sure…

Spokesman:  I would refer you to the report.

Inner City Press:  Since it… is it fair to say that he's not recommending a human rights monitoring function? If so, how… how… why not?

Spokesman:  I think it's fair to say that the report speaks for itself.

Inner City Press:  Right.  So he's not recommending it?

Spokesman:  You do the analysis...

 OK. And then there's this: Moroccan trolls, using Dujarric's (and the now-gone Gallach's) eviction of Inner City Press for covering corruption like this, that Inner City Press "was sacked out from the #UN because he was caught filming a closed meeting." No, Inner City Press said openly it would film, and did, a meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room by a group that took dues money from now indicted Ng Lap Seng's bribery conduit. The Moroccan state "media" at the UN don't even ask questions. Troll on.  On April 19 as Guterres held a rare Q&A session, about Africa, his holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric had pre-selected questions, many of them not about Africa at all. The UN Department of Public Information under Guterres has threatened Inner City Press after a frivolous complaint from the Moroccan mission about photos taken according to the rules at the UN Security Council stakeout, while DPI has given multiple "Resident Correspondent" badges to Moroccan state media, some moonlighting for the UN itself, while restricting the UNderdog Press. Meanwhile, Inner City Press has learned, the UN's decoloniziation (C-24) committee is preparing to visit the Tindouf refugee camp. We'll have more on this. While Guterres breezed by the issue of Western Sahara on Friday, April 7 as Morocco tried to get the Press which covers it further restricted, Inner City Press was leaked the email below, from the UN's Kim Bolduc, amid reports of Germany's Horst Kohler as new Personal Envoy. While Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric refused to comment on either, here (contrary to his Q&A last week about "Sex in the City, here), now Inner City Press has put on Scribd the full text of Guterres' first MINURSO report such as it is, here. But when Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about both on April 10, he wouldn't answer either question. Video here. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press: on Western Sahara, you'd said to wait for the report, but I guess I just want to say, this Kim Bolduc e-mail, which Inner City Press published, was directed to, like, many, many people in UNHCR.  So, 5I'm wondering what then, it talks about a code cable for Jean-Pierre Lacroix to go forward and… and… and, you know, re… bring all 17 people back.  So, I'm sort of wondering, like, is it that you know it, but she shouldn't have written that first?  Is it…?

Spokesman:  She's the master of her e-mails.  She's obviously communicating what she needs to communicate with her… with her staff, and the Secretary-General's position will be made very public and updated once the report comes out in the next day or so.

[Also: Question:  Follow-up.  There were some reports also last week that the Polisario have threatened to shoot the MINURSO peacekeepers if they try to conduct ceasefire patrols in the areas under their control.  What's the Secretary-General think about that and the integrity of the peacekeeping mission itself?

Spokesman:  Well, it's incumbent on all the parties involved to respect the, respect UN personnel in the area, whether uniformed or, or not, in the way they go about their work on a mandate of the Security Council.

Correspondent:  I'm sorry.  Just a quick follow-up.  The Polisario also reported that you have prevented the MINURSO from patrolling the El-Guerguerat area after the Moroccan forces have withdrawn from it…

Spokesman:  I think it is important that all the parties ensure that MINURSO has full freedom of movement.  Masood-ji.

Correspondent:  Thank you, Stéphane-ji. ]

Inner City Press:  Will he, by that time, confirm or deny that he's nominating Mr. Horst Kobler as… or Köhler…?

Spokesman:  As you know, whenever we have a nomination for a high-level person, there's a lot of the rumours prior.  The Security Council will have to be consulted, and once all that is done, we will announce it officially and, no doubt, you will have the information before it is announced officially.

Inner City Press:  Just finally, on both this and on South Sudan, is it possible to get Mr. Jean-Pierre Lacroix to do a stakeout or some type of Q&A…?

Spokesman:  I'm sure Mr Lacroix will be delighted to come meet you as soon as it is possible for him.  Good day.

Inner City Press:  Can I ask a Burundi question?

Spokesman:  No.  We're done.  Thank you.

   This is today's UN.


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