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After Cyprus Talks, Guterres Spoke Only 3 1/2 Minutes, Failure As on Cameroon, Spin

By Matthew Russell Lee, Photos here

UNITED NATIONS, July 7 – Before UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' first fly-by the Cyprus talks in Crans Montana in Switzerland, Inner City Press repeatedly asked Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric who long Guterres would stay at the talks, and where he would be from July 1 to July 5 -- without answer. After Guterres, after one day at the UN Headquarters, went back the talks failed, the UN said, but Inner City Press evicted and still restricted under Guterres was unable to download the video. And so this, on point, from The Guardian: "The UN chief, who began the role in January by announcing a 'surge of diplomacy for peace,' appeared tired and downcast as he announced the collapse of the talks to a handful of journalists at an impromptu news conference that lasted only three and a half minutes." That's today's UN: little headway on preventative diplomacy, from its Cameroon cover-up to this, absurdly short "press conferences," disinterested correspondents partying with those they're supposed to watchdog. On the evening of July 6 inside the UN in New York, before Guterres' admission, media other than Inner City Press came also to see if Guterres' spokesman Dujarric was in -- he'd left with bicycle helmet. This was seen as significant, worth covering, that there would be no more "news" for the evening. Then the failure, the censorship, amid ghoulish-in-context partying. The UN said, "The Conference on Cyprus ended in the early hours of Friday 7 July, 2017, after days of intensive negotiations. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, appeared before the press at 2:20 am to express his disappointment that the intensive diplomatic efforts over the last eight days in the Swiss resort town of Crans Montana had not yielded an agreement for the future of the Mediterranean island.  He said that he was  "deeply sorry" to inform the media that "despite the very strong commitment of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, the guarantor power, the European Union and the United Nations Cyprus team, the Conference on Cyprus was concluded without an agreement being reached.”  In response to a question, the Secretary-General said that it was still possible that "other initiatives" could yield results for the long-standing conflict between the communities, and that the United Nations continues to be available to facilitate the process. He also thanked the Swiss government for its generosity and commitment to the Conference.  FOOTAGE AND SOUND OF THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL'S STATEMENT ARE AVAILABLE" - but not to evicted and restricted Inner City Press, as Guterres' deputy partied with those responsible. Inner City Press on July 6 asked UK Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, from the UK transcript: Inner City Press: On Cyprus, the Secretary-General’s back at the talks. I’m wondering, what’s your understanding of where they stand? Turkey seemed to say ‘if it’s not done, this is the last time’. What’s your understanding of this?
I very much welcome the energy and input that the Secretary-General personally has made to the Cyprus talks. He was there on Friday-Saturday; he’s there again today as you say. He is straining every muscle to get these talks over the line. This is a historic opportunity. There is still some distance between the parties; we’re doing everything that we can as a guarantor in Cyprus as well.

  Video here; this was picked up word for word, without identifying the question(er), by the Cyprus Mail, here. Inner City Press on July 1 and July 2 again asked both Dujarric and his deputy Farhan Haq, who on the morning of July 2 (after Guterres already left Switzerland) replied, "We will issue a note on the SG's travels once we have something ready." Inner City Press' question had been, "Where is the Secretary General?" It's a simple question that the administrations in Washington, New York's City Hall and elsewhere know they would have to answer. But today's UN is so unaccountable, is so not held accountable, that Dujarric twice dodged the question and has now himself disappeared, not unlike the Cyprus talks (UN) common document, not answering. Now the UN has yet to release Guterres' July 3 remarks on climate, hours after wire services reported them; the UN has online only Guterres' canned remarks to the Tehran conference on  Sand and Dust Storms. Dust in the wind. Now "Following a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday, Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said the incident was 'very serious' and that 'every possible effort is being made to recover the stolen equipment'" - that is, a large quantity of grenades and arms "missing" from Tancos. Earlier on July 3 the UN belatedly announced, referring to a Tidewater event which the Portuguese media already linked to Guterres, that "The Secretary-General is in Lisbon, Portugal, today.
On Monday he will deliver the keynote address at the Tidewater conference, which for decades has been a forum for strategic discussions among ministers and heads of major bilateral and multilateral aid agencies.  This year's session is focused on shaping a development architecture fit for the 2030 Agenda. On the sidelines of the event, he is also scheduled to meet with the Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria, and the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Suma Chakrabarti. The Secretary-General will also meet today with the Foreign Minister of Portugal, Augusto Santos Silva.
The Secretary-General will be back in New York on Tuesday evening." Was that so hard? Wasn't it known in advance? Why so defensive? And why not answer the other questions? Inner City Press asked, "1) Where is the Secretary General? 2) When is his reform “retreat” with member states? Some delegates say July 15, others July 22-23; it should be public. 3) Of the two new sexual exploitation and abuse complaints on the website, please explain why the one in Haiti is being investigated by OIOS, while the most recently listed one in CAR is not." No answer at all on Haiti / UN sexual abuse, or Guterres' reforms. Dujarris is supposed to be Guterres' spokesman, not Aleem Siddique. Where is the Secretary General of the United Nations? As Inner City Press reported on June 30, many member states are mystified by the slow pace and even scheduling of Guterres' supposed reform plan. As to We the Peoples and the Press, censorship continues. In an otherwise empty UN on the evening of June 4, Cyprus talks or attempts to talk ended at 11 pm, with Secretary General Antonio Guterres announcing in the third person that talks would continue "in June," then taking no questions. Nor did those he met with take questions, including Inner City Press' audible question about hydrocarbons. Guterres headed to the Cyprus talks in Switzerland on June 29-30, to only be back in New York on July 5. Now it's reported that Guterres left the talks in Switzerland on July 1 - but no word from the UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, whom Inner City Press twice asked where Guterres would be between July 1 and July 5. If Trump or De Blasio did this, there would be an outcry. Inner City Press emailed the obvious question to Dujarric - while noting that he and his (tag) team refused to answer any of Inner City Press' nine questions, including on Morocco's Rif, Cameroon and UN corruption, from June 12-13. We'll have more on this. On June 30, Inner City Press asked
Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the delay in reform, and where Guterres will be from July 1 to 5. From the UN transcript: Inner City Press: what was said going to be the reform, the reform of the development system of the UN, I thought it was going to be done in June.  But I'm finding it's now 30 June.  So, has a written proposal been made?

Spokesman:  The Secretary-General will brief the Member States on Wednesday in the morning.  He will brief ECOSOC [Economic and Social Council] and outline his vision for the reform of the UN's development system.  And that will be a public meeting.

Inner City Press:  You'd said yesterday that, you know, wait for him to get to Switzerland before saying what his next moves are. What are his next moves between now and Wednesday?

Spokesman:  Right now, he's focusing on the discussions in Crans-Montana.  So I don't want to preempt when he will leave the discussions as they're still ongoing.

  On July 1, Dujarric issued a statement that "last night, a clear understanding emerged of the essential elements of a package that might lead to a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus. The Conference on Cyprus continues at the political level this morning. The Secretary-General remains fully engaged in these efforts to deliver a comprehensive settlement to the people of Cyprus." Full engaged from where? On June 29, Inner City Press asked Dujarric UN transcript here: Inner City Press: the Secretary-General at the Cyprus talks, are they going on over the weekend?  How many days does he plan to participate in them?

Spokesman:  Let’s get him there, and then we can talk about when he leaves.

Inner City Press:  Will we talk about it?

Spokesman:  Go ahead.  Next question?

   No, this is the question. "When Actually Employed" envoy Espen Barth Eide was present but did not take questions on June 4.  Now on June 9, the spokesman for Guterres (now on a week long Central Asian junket) has issued this: "The Special Adviser is preparing this document based on conversations with all the conference participants. It will be prepared before the conference, in order to help guide the discussions on security and guarantees" and  "In line with the statement issued following the meeting of the Secretary-General with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mustafa Akinci, and the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, in New York on 4 June, and following consultations with all participants, the Conference on Cyprus will reconvene in Geneva on 28 June 2017. The Conference on Cyprus will reconvene at the political level under the auspices of the Secretary-General, with the participation of Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akinci, as well as Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer." On June 5, with one hour's notice, Eide was the guest at a truncated UN noon briefing. Inner City Press asked Eide about the hydrocarbons issue, and how many days he works and gets paid. He said twenty day a week, correcting that to money, and said that hydrocarbons barely came up in the meeting. At least he answered the question - later on June 5 when Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Dujarric how many days Yemen envoy IOCA works, and if he will disclose for Burundi envoy Michel Kafando, Dujarric cut the question off - despite the fact that When Actually Employed envoy disclosed less - while indulging Moroccan state media three rounds of questions. On Sunday while Inner City Press arrived at 6:30, and was in the conference room well before 7, even the photo started more than 10 minutes late. Downstairs, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades said he wasn't "here for a blame game." Video here. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said that one side was imposing pre-conditions. Video here. Upstairs, in came UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who'd remained silent for 18 hours on the London Bridge attacks, accompanied by his equally UNresponsive spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Jeffrey Feltman and Katrin Hett and Espen Barth Eide. There was the three-way handshake, Alamy Live News photos here; Periscope video here. To the side, a dinner setting was on a table facing out toward First Avenue. A stakeout afterward was scheduled. Would the latter include Eide? After the UN's envoy on Cyprus, whom UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said was full time, said he has no current plans to return to Cyprus, Inner City Press on May 31 asked Dujarric: Inner City Press:  I wanted to ask you about Cyprus. I'm sure you've seen the President of Cyprus has said that Mr. [Espen Barth] Eide was out of line in speaking about hydrocarbons as exploration as a risk, and then mostly I wanted to ask you about this quote by the… the… by the spokes, Aleem Siddique, saying that Mr. Eide has no pl… no current plans to return to the island.  So I just wanted to know, where do things stand from the Secretary-General's point of view on this… this thing that was thought to be coming to a conclusion?  And also just about Mr. Eide, is he "when actually employed?"  When he says he's not going back, is he still working on the case?  Where does he work [inaudible] work?

Spokesman:  Mr. Eide continues in his role.  I'm not going to comment on whatever comments were made on the hydrocarbons.

Inner City Press:  Is he a full-time envoy?

Spokesman:  Yeah, he is, as far as I know.  If he's not, I'll correct… the record will be corrected, but I believe he is.

 Update: now in the UN transcript there's this: "[He later added that Mr. Eide is on a “when actually employed” contract.]" Added to who? Perhaps Dujarric announced it over his public address system piped into the office the UN gives to (Dujarric) friendly journalists. But Dujarric evicted Inner City Press from the UN Press Briefing Room and from Inner City Press' long time times office S-303 (see paragraphs 9-10, here); he keeps Inner City Press restricted. He did not email this correction to Inner City Press. On June 1 Inner City Press asked him, UN transcript here: I'd asked you yesterday about Espen Barth Eide, and I did see your correct… your amplification that he's "when actually employed".  So, I wanted to know, in these cases where there are envoys that are "when actually employed"… and this is… it's not… is it possible to know, just in the last… without getting into the specifics of his diplomacy, in… in the course of the last 365 days, how many days has he… has he… and I'm saying it because it's public money, so I… I know there's a balance.  Can you get that number?

Spokesman:  I… we can see.  I don't know if it's tabulated at the end of the year or when they're tabulated if there's…

Inner City Press:  However it's tabulated.

Spokesman:  Yeah.  All right.

  Seven hours later, nothing. The UN is corrupt. After Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades met with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on March 22, Inner City Press asked him about a meeting later in the day, with ExxonMobil. Anastasiades said it was on topics related to the contracts to be signed on April 5. Video here. An hour later, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Farhan Haq about Cyprus. From the UN transcript:

Inner City Press:  On UNFICYP [United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus], I wanted to ask… it's been said from here that there… I guess UNFICYP or people here at Headquarters are looking at two issues:  one, the Chief Financial Officer becoming a Cypriot citizen, seemingly in violation of the status of for… status of mission agreement; and also the… the… the filmed stealing of watches by UNFICYP personnel.  Particularly, on the latter, where it seems like it's on video, what's actually been done since this video emerged?

Deputy Spokesman:  You've heard what we've had to say about both of those questions.  I don't have anything further to say at this point.  Once there's an update, we'll provide it.

Question:  Is there a timeline?

Deputy Spokesman:  Once we're done with the process, we'll let you know.  And if that's it...

  Haq never sent any update to Inner City Press, which got confirmation of the meeting from the schedule of UNTV. Perhaps Haq "squawked" the answer to Inner City Press' questions to the in-house audio system that works only for those with office, from which Haq, his boss Stephane Dujarric and Cristina Gallach got Inner City Press evicted for seeking to cover the corruption of Ban Ki-moon, Ng Lap Sang and his fundees. This is today's UN.

Amid delay of the UN's Cyprus talks, Inner City Press on February 21 asked about the delay and the case of the "Chief Financial Officer of UNFICYP [United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus who] has been recently granted citizenship of Cyprus.... is there any policy on host countries of peacekeeping missions giving citizenship to internationals that are based there?"

   UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq replied, "I'm not aware of someone from UNFICYP taking Cypriot nationality, but I'll check on that." There is more, below. And on February 28, about another incident, Inner City Press asked the UN, transcript here and below. A week later, having been provided no update on the UN's "investigation" of clear video of its personnel stealing watches, Inner City Press asked again. From the UN's March 7 transcript:

Inner City Press; on Cyprus, you’ve said that there are two things… you or Stéphane [Dujarric] had said there are two things being investigated by the UN system, one being the chief financial officer having become a citizen of Cyprus in contravention, some say, of the Status of Forces Agreement and also the stealing of watches, the films… apparent stealing of watches by UNFICYP (United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus) peacekeepers.  So I wanted to know, since it… apparently, the only way to get it is to ask again, what is the status of those two investigations, particularly the filming of peacekeepers taking watches out of a watch store?  Has anything actually occurred since then?

Deputy Spokesman:  No.  I mean, the mission’s investigating the veracity of the allegations, and it will take prompt and appropriate action if UNFICYP personnel have been found to have committed any wrongdoing.  But that is… that investigation is proceeding.  Regarding the other case, the competent UN offices are reviewing it to confirm its compatibility with applicable UN rules.

Inner City Press: another question on Cyprus.  I know that you'd said that the [Husein Moussa] thing is somehow being reviewed.  There's now a story and a video of UNFICYP [United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus] peacekeepers stealing a watch on the Turkish Cypriot side.  And they named the individuals and that the article says that there is a legal proceeding, which I assume has to be a UN… since they are UN peacekeepers.  Are you aware of this incident?

Spokesman:  Yeah, no, the Mission is very much aware of the report.  They've launched an investigation to look at the veracity of the allegations.  And, obviously, should this be found to be true, they will take prompt action against any personnel to have found [to have committed] wrongdoing.  We would expect UN personnel, whether it's Headquarters or in the field, to act with the highest level of standards and conduct.

Inner City Press. There seems to be a spate of allegations currently about the Mission.  Do you think the Mission is either worse run than other missions or… Why is this all happening now?

Spokesman:  No. We have no… I have no doubt about the excellent administration of the mission.  As to whether or not it's an orchestrated campaign or why it's happening now, that's really not for me to analyze. 

  Really. On Febuary 26, five days after UN lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric on February 24 ran out of the UN Press Briefing Room as Inner City Press asked about UN Peacekeeping (and the lack of UN due process for journalists) and declined written questions after that, we have this exclusive report.

  The CFO of UNFICYP is named Husein Moussa. Complaints about his have been lodged against him since at latest May 2016 in e-mails and attachments UN Under Secretary Generals Atul Khare, Jeffrey Feltman and Herve Ladsous, among others. Inner City Press is exclusively publishing the contents of a May 6, 2016 email leaked to it, here, and a series of attachments about Husein's Moussa's lack of academic verification, here, including in Annex 3 a 2014 "follow on the academic verification for Mr. Moussa... not yet cleared."

  Beyond violating the Status of Forces Agreement between the UN and Cyprus by obtaining Cypriot citizenship, Moussa is charged in the May 2016 email with using UN vehicles after-hours and a variety of other irregularities: "Husein Moussa, the Chief Finance and Budget Officer, continuously and freely used the UN owned vehicle throughout his assignment to UNFICYP, i.e., since 2002." (So much for Ban Ki-moon's supposed mobility policy.)

  Also that "Husein Moussa had mentioned to a friend of his that the information about his university degree he had provided in his PHP was not true... If the brushing of this case under the carpets continues, I will refer the details to the international media for another UN scandal they will publish with great pleasure."

  Now that this has happened, and the UN's two holdover spokesmen have refused to provide basic answers and even run out of the briefing room and ignore written questions, it has become an issue in the Cyprus talks, one of the few possibly fruitful UN diplomatic efforts in the past decade. Corruption and scapegoating makes today's UN even less able to be fit for purpose.

   Then no answers, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric running out of the briefing room amid Inner City Press questions and refusing its written questions since, while continuing the restrictions on Inner City Press' journalistic access at the UN imposed in early 2016. UNfailing.


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