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As Ban Meets SADC on DRC, Shouts at Photo-Op, Doors Closed, Access Fight

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 22 -- It was the last photo-op of the first day of the UN's General Debate week, between Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the presidents of Malawi and Namibia, representing the Southern African Development Community.

  Since SADC essentially runs the UN's Intervention Brigade in the Eastern Congo, Inner City Press decided to cover it. For a minute of photos at the 6:30 pm meeting, media was told to assemble at 6 o'clock. There was a metal detector and a pat-down, and a dog to sniff the camera. Then up to the 37th floor.

  Inner City Press filmed and took a photo of the river, then of the Empire State Building up by Ban's conference room. The media were ushered in to wait. In came Edmond Mulet of UN Peacekeeping -- and so it seemed, yes, it would be about the Brigade. There was Taye-Brook Zerihoun of Political Affairs, and Ban's chief of staff Susanna Malcorra.

  And then, with cameras rolling, there was shouting from just outside the room. It was unmistakably Ban Ki-moon, shouting "He's coming to the UN!" and more. Video here.

  Quickly Malcorra and a UN Security guard ran and closed the door. Another door was closed. People stared at the floor.

  Finally the delegations and Ban came in, and smiled for the camera. Later this read out was released:

Readout of the Secretary-Generalís joint meeting with H.E. Mrs. Joyce Hilda Mtila Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi, and H.E. Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia

The Secretary-General met with H.E. Mrs. Joyce Banda, President of the Republic of Malawi and current chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) together with H.E. Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia. He welcomed SADCís important contribution to the pursuit of peace and stability in the Great Lakes region and its strong support both to the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, and to the Uganda Talks between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Government and the M23.

He also expressed appreciation for SADCís constructive role in Madagascar and underlined the readiness of the United Nations to work with SADC in this regard. 22 September 2013

  Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson's office a question about Madagascar that was never answered. Now on the Security Council's trip to the Eastern Congo, while that Office provided notice of media seats first to a sub-set who pay the UN Correspondents Association, then only after protest by the Free UN Coalition for Access to the rest, it's said France chooses who goes. This is Ban's UN. Watch this site.


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