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Ban Got Syria's Protest, France's Jarba-Fest Going Forward Was His Answer

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 30 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a read out of his meeting with Saudi-sponsored Syria rebel boss Ahmad al Jarba on Saturday, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky about Syria's urgent letter of four days previous.

  In that letter, a copy of which Inner City Press provided to Nesirky, Syria said that France's September 26 session with Jarba in the UN's ECOSOC Chamber violated the UN Charter.

  Nesirky replied that "the Secretary-General met with Mr. al-Jarba at his Residence this evening with a small number of the Secretary-General's senior advisers. The Spokesperson is not aware of any letter so far from the Syrian Mission on the topic you mention."

  Inner City Press sent follow up questions that Nesirky did not answer that day, or the next. So on Monday Inner City Press asked Nesirky about the letter, about why Ban's meeting with Jarba was not even in the UN Media Alert, and about France's September 26 Jarba-fest in ECOSOC.

  Nesirky said the meeting was put together quickly and was in Ban's residence. But, we note, when Ban met in his -- well, the UN's -- residence with his Syria chemical weapons envoy Ake Sellstrom, he made sure to have UN Photo there, to flash the front page of Sellstrom's report.

Then Nesirky said that yes, Ban HAD received Syria's letter, and that the French meeting going forward was the response.

Inner City Press asked if that means that any member state can now hold such a meeting inside the UN, declaring a rebel in (or out) of another state to be the sole legitimate representative of the other state's people.

Nesirky didn't answer that. But that's the question. Some say it's more and more clear who Ban Ki-moon works for, he doesn't even try to hide it anymore.

At the same noon briefing, Nesirky confirmed that while his office solicited expression of interest from journalists to cover the UN Security Council's trip to Africa's Great Lakes region, France was allowed to hand-pick which journalists would go.

Then Nesirky cut off and did not allow Inner City Press' follow up question on the legitimacy of this, saying others didn't want to hear about Inner City Press' travel plans. (He later refused without explanation to take an Inner City Press question about the Democratic Republic of the Congo.)

  When Ban's partner and Alliance the UN Correspondents Association held a faux "UN briefing" by Jarba in July, Nesirky refused to answer how that complied with UN rules, or the basis on which the UN gives UNCA a big clubhouse to hold such meetings (which included a Sri Lanka goverment film denying war crimes.)

  No substantive answers -- but a threat by Ban's Department of Public Information to suspend or withdraw the accreditation of Inner City Press for daring to hang the sign of the new and alternative Free UN Coalition for Access @FUNCA_info on the door of its shared office, when Ban's UNCA has five signs.

There's more to say, but this is Ban's UN. Watch this site.


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