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Fight to Chair UN Budget Panel Has UK Lobbying "For Spy," GRULAC Tricks?

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, November 19, updated -- In the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions, a new chairperson is set to be elected on November 21, to replace Collen Kelapile of Botswana, who ran earlier this month to stay on ACABQ but lost, to the Budget Committee delegate of Eritrea and a candidate from Senegal after Benin dropped out.

  Inner City Press, which covered those elections, has been barraged since with competing theories of why Kelapile lost.

  The most devious theory is that the Secretariat, represented by chef de cabinet Susana Malcorra of Argentina, reached out to Kelapile to see if he would use his position to support Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's "mobility" proposal.

  Once rebuffed, the theory goes, Malcorra "got GRULAC," the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, to support Kelapile's ouster, assuming that the vice chair, Carlos Ruiz Massieu of Mexico, an expert on issues ranging from Darfur to the Capital Master Plan, would assume the top stop and be more amenable. (This theory has been denied, we note, but persists.)

  But the United Kingdom is also pushing and lobbying in the ACABQ race, pushing for UK citizen Richard Moon, already a member, to become the chair.

  Multiple sources have exclusively detailed to Inner City Press how UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant is calling his counterparts of the native countries of other ACABQ members, lobbying for this Moon, has been on ACABQ since January 2011.

  Before that, the UK notes, Moon wa  on the "GA's Fifth Committee from 1999 to 2003; and then moved to the ACABQ, leaving at the end of 2004. He has been a member of the Committee on Contributions since 2005."

   Opponents of Richard Moon becoming chair - and they do exist -- have made much of a website listing the UK's overseas spies which lists a "Richard John Moon: dob 1959; 85 Jakarta, 93 Rome, 99 New" York. These do line up with Moon's c.v. on the UK Mission web site.

  In fairness even if true there is a lot of back and forth between diplomatic and intelligence service: witness not only Sir John Sawers but many other switches, in both directions, in the Permanent Five members of the Security Council and beyond.

Update: And we note, in terms of the "spy" list's credibility or lack thereof, the UK Mission spokesperson until November 2010 is listed: "2004 Kabul, 2007 Ankara. 5. Cross, Harriett Victoria Saltonstall."

  Regardless, some have told Inner City Press they find the UK's lobbying inappropriate, either because ACABQ members are supposed to serve in their personal capacities only -- yeah, right -- or because a Permanent Five member of the Security Council should also chair the ACABQ.

  Of course, the American Susan McLurg previously chaired the ACABQ. But perhaps pushback at the P5 is only growing, as reflected by the recent passage of the resolution requiring Ban Ki-moon to be more transparent on how the P5's Special Political Missions are decided on and funded.

  There is a question of principle here: if it is argued that ACABQ members and chairpersons do not represent their countries, how much lobbying by their country to get the position is appropriate? Watch this site.

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