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On W Sahara, Kohler Puts German Staff in UN Posts P5 & P3, UN Won't Says If At UNGA

By Matthew Russell Lee, exclusive, Video here, song

UNITED NATIONS, September 16 – On Western Sahara after a long delay, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres a month ago named Horst Köhler as his Personal Envoy, replacing Christopher Ross. Now Inner City Press has exclusively be told by UN Department of Political Affairs staff that the delay was attributable to Kohler's demand to have his own personal staff put on UN contracts - a demand that Guterres gave into, allowing Kohler to put long-time German staff in P-5 and P-3 UN positions. The staff complain that Kohler does not speak the language or have the knowledge. Why, they ask, did Guterres appoint him? Inner City Press has twice asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric the simple question of if Kohler will be in New York for UN General Assembly high level week. Dujarric has not answered; he invited Moroccan state media to his "background" briefing on September 15 but not Inner City Press, which asks him questions every day. We'll have more on this. On August 4, Inner City Press asked the UN why there is STILL not UN Envoy on Western Sahara, UN transcript here: and below. On August 15, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Dujarric again, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the position of a Personal Envoy on Western Sahara.... well, you know how long it's been. Spokesman:  I do know how long it's been. Inner City Press: Can you give some idea? Is the problem consultations?  Is the problem with widely reported Mr. [Horst] Köhler and the size of the office, the location of the office?  What is the problem? Spokesman:  "You know, a lot of things happen below the water line.  When the personal envoy is ready to emerge from above the water line, we will make the announcement." After the briefing, Dujarric walked out chatting with Moroccan media (Magreb Arab Press) which comes in and ask questions much less than Inner City Press but which Dujarric and the UN Secretariat did not evict, and so have full access. On August 16, after Guterres declined to answer Inner City Press' question choosing instead five others pre-picked, his Office announced: "Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Horst Köhler, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara. The new Personal Envoy succeeds Christopher Ross of the United States who completed his assignment on 30 April 2017.  The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Ross’ tireless efforts and dedication to facilitate negotiations between the parties in order to achieve a just, durable and mutually acceptable political solution, which would provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara." We'll have more on this. From August 4: Inner City Press:  this Western Sahara envoy question, it's getting stranger and stranger.  How long has it been since there's been an envoy?  And what is the, I guess, at this point, what is the holdup? Spokesman:  "I'm not going to comment on your characterization.  When we have a Personal Envoy to announce, we will announce one."  Likewise when Inner City Press asked about Morocco's alleged torture of the Gdeim Iziki defendants, asking both before and after the victim, the UN had no comment at all. Now they have receipt a letter that "it has become clear that the Moroccan authorities do not respect international law and persist in their grave violations of human rights in Western Sahara, under the responsibility of the United Nations, in view of the decolonization of the territory and the exercise by its people of their inalienable right to self-determination and freedom. The Moroccan authorities have never had the intention of enabling Saharawi political prisoners to have a fair trial because they were arrested mainly because of their political views and public defense of the Saharawi people's right to self-determination. The recent judgments represent a serious development in Morocco's notorious record of human rights violations in occupied Western Sahara." Maybe the UN will deny receiving this letter too, while leaving the envoy on Western Sahara position vacant for weeks and months without ever explaining it. This is conflict prevention? On July 18 Inner City Press asked UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Western Sahara, I think the Frente Polisario sent a communication to [the Department of Political Affairs] and [the Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) about they've captured, they say, 19 people coming over the berm from Morocco and put them in… there's photographs.  It's been… it's in El País.  And I'm just wondering, given the… the… the… what happened in Guerguerat, is the UN… what's the UN comment on it?  Will you confirm that you've received the communication?  And what does the UN intend to do about it? Deputy Spokesman:  I'll check whether we've received any communication from them." Six hours later, after Haq closed the office, there was still nothing. On July 19 Haq walked out as Inner City Press. So on July 20, along with Rif, Inner City Press asked again, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: In the ongoing protests in the Rif Region of Morocco, there's a large protest today by which the Government has responded to by blocking roads, trying to block entry by sea, slowing down the Internet.  And so, I just wanted to know… I know this has come up and at one point, Stéphane [Dujarric] said that there may be something coming down.  Given that, in fact, the protests are growing and the oppression and the number of people locked up has grown, has the Department of Public… excuse me, Political Affairs or the Secretariat taken any note of this? Deputy Spokesman:  Certainly, we take note of this and I'll check with them about any response. Inner City Press: I tried to ask yesterday as you left.  I had asked you two days ago I think, whether… whether you had confirmed receipt by [the Department of Political Affairs] and [the Department of Peacekeeping Operations] of a communication by Frente Polisario about this… these arrests now reported in three countries' media of people coming over the berm into Western Sahara, where you have a peacekeeping mission.  Have you received that?  And what's the…? Deputy Spokesman:  We're aware of this.  The thing about that is that the [United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara] (MINURSO), does not have any sort of civilian law enforcement role.  We don't have any mandate to have access to these individuals, and they have not had access to them." When Inner City Press on July 17 asked UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq about complaints of the use of torture in the Gdeim Izik cases set for decision tomorrow, this UN spokesman said they UN had nothing to say. Watch this site. Despite South African and European court decisions, Morocco's OCP and its subsidiary Phosboucraa said they consider the South Africa's decision to impound illegally exploited phosphate from Western Sahara to be "political piracy committed under judicial cover... They therefore reserve their right to pursue and protect their property rights for this cargo using all means permitted by international law." So, like Ban Ki-moon's indicted brother Ban Ki-Sang who used the UN's name to try to sell real estate in Viet Nam, they are thumbing their noses at the court - while Morocco's King continues to abuse those in the Rif region. By refusing to defend, they concede. Where now will New Zealand's Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients source their phosphate? Back on April 9 Inner City Press reported UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' proposal of Horst Kohler of Germany to replace Christopher Ross as the UN's Western Sahara envoy. Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, when Inner City Press, repeatedly refused comment. Now the reason for delay can be reported: UN sources tell Inner City Press that Kohler demanded a large staff, some long time associates, to be put on the UN payroll, leading to delay. On June 21 Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq...


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