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On Ross, Ban Rebuffs Morocco As He Didn't Sierra Leone, Feltman to Iran

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 25, updated -- After Morocco called for the UN's envoy on Western Sahara Christopher Ross to be relieved of his duties, Ross was sidelined for a time, canceling what had been planned travels and consultations in the regions.

  But Ross was at the UN this past week, relaxed and affable. And today the UN has summarized Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's telephone call to King Mohammed VI of Morocco:

"With regard to the Western Sahara issue, the Secretary-General stated that the United Nations does not intend to modify the terms of its mediation, whose purpose is to promote the achievement of a mutually acceptable political solution to this conflict. He reaffirmed that his Personal Envoy and his new Special Representative will fulfill their respective mandates." 

(Full read-out here; Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky on August 27 told Inner City Press "the read out is all we have" in response to being asked if the two has discussed Mali.)

  Given that Ban Ki-moon allowed Sierra Leone to oust Ban's envoy to that country, Michael von der Schulenburg, some have been surprised.

  One UN insider has asked Inner City Press, perhaps rhetorically, "What has changed? It's Feltman," referring to new Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

  The source also noted that the US Ambassador to Morocco had come out publicly in favor of Ross continuing.

  Feltman, buzzing modestly around the North Lawn, would presumably disavoy this impact on Western Sahara policy and "Ban standing up," as well as the US policy connection.

  Inner city Press understands that Feltman will accompany Ban Ki-moon on his upcoming trip to Iran for the Non-Aligned Movement meetings. Watch this site.

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