UN's Ban Meets With Obama, No
Pesky UN Press, Myanmar Convergence Described
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
March 10 -- As school
children pointed at the White House and threw bread to pigeons and
black limousine and 20-passenger bus swept by at 5:25 on Tuesday
carrying UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his press-less entourage
meeting with President Barack Obama. An Inner City Press source
the White House described it as scripted and untransparent. He was
team had not tried and gotten any UN correspondents in.
It's a pool,
he said, predicting two questions to Obama, two question to Ban. Some
through the fence asked this reporter about the black bus waiting in
driveway. The name Ban Ki-moon did not ring a bell with them. One
Kofi Annan. The birds grabbed the bread and flew.
The White House source mentioned a sample point of
convergence. Ban paid
tribute to Burma's General Than Shwe, he said. And now U.S. gas and oil
companies have lobbied the Administration to change course on Myanmar,
away from sanctions and toward economic integration. They want to make
despite the dictatorship. They pitch it to Obama as an alternative for
oil for the Middle East and Venezuela. The ground cover is to call it a
hand despite Than Shwe's still iron gripping fist, a change we can make you believe
UN's Ban's van in front of White House, no
Q&A, (c) M. Lee, ICP
At 6:25 p.m., as shown above, the entourage pulled
out, heading to Constitution Avenue, to a
dinner with the UN Foundation. In the van, apparently after no
question, was Ban's Spokesperson and media "liaison" team. An hour and
a half later, Ban's press officer,
which had not asked to get a single UN correspondent into the White
pool, issued a bland summary that could have been written before the
change, why not, and Sudan,
Iraq and Haiti,
from which Ban had just
transparency and procurement, were not listed on agenda.
Pakistan and Afghanistan were mentioned, along with North Korea.
No mention of
Republic of Congo, much less of Sri
Lanka, where the U.S. has discussed
military moves with Colombo.
9 p.m., the U.S. put out a transcript, in which Obama did not
mention Pakistan, with no Q&A at all included.
The pool report, from
the pool described as full and set, that asked now questions at all,
this summary, including the presence of Hilary Clinton, Susan Rice and
From: Carol Lee
To: Finkenbinder, Benjamin N.; Singh, Priya
Sent: Tue Mar 10 19:04:32 2009
Subject: Pool report #3
Pool was led into the Oval Office
around 6:25 p.m., and was in there for about 8 minutes for POTUS and UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks.
POTUS said major topic of
discussion was Darfur. Ki-moon called 2009 a “make or break year.” Full
transcript to come, and some details below.
Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Lynn Pascoe and
for Political Affairs were present while pool was in the Oval Office,
off to the side as POTUS and Ki-moon spoke.
POTUS and Ban Ki-moon were seated
in chairs next to each other in front of the fireplace. They spoke for
POTUS, sitting with his
legs crossed, spoke first:
“Hey guys. Sorry to make you work
this late,” POTUS said as pool entered the Oval Office
“Let me just say I am very
grateful for the secretary general
“I think the United Nations can
be an extraordinarily constructive, important partner in bringing about
and stability to people around the world,” POTUS said.
“We had a wide-ranging conversation”
covering “a host of international issues.”
He said some of them included:
* Economic crisis: how it’s
affecting developing countries but very poor countries around the world
* Afghanistan: How we can “ramp
up and better coordinate” activities in Afghanistan, and the Afghan
*Darfur: “One of the things I
think we spent the most time talking about was the issue of Darfur,”
said. POTUS said he pressed upon secretary general how important it is
a unified international message on the crisis. “The United States wants
as actively as possible to try to resolve the immediate humanitarian
to start putting us on the path for long-term peace and stability in
Sudan,” POTUS said..
* Climate change: how they can
work together on climate change.
Ban Ki-moon spoke next for a few
He said it is “a very good sign”
for the United Nations that “we are meeting at such an early stage in
“I think the year 2009 is a make
or break year” for crises on many fronts for the United Nations for the
States and the international community as a whole.
Climate change “is a priority for
the United Nations,” he said.
To save our planet: “This is an
issue of our era. I count on your strong commitment and leadership.”
Citing Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Sudan, Iraq, nuclear non-proliferation, North Korea, he said the UN
relying on the United States’ leadership and commitment.
“The United Nations stands ready
to work together with you Mr. President to make this make-or-break year
into a make-it-work” year, full of optimism, which elicited a smile
Sent: Tue Mar 10 20:42:01 2009
Subject: Pool report #4
Some others at POTUS and Ban Ki-moon meeting:
From the White
From the UN:
Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operation Alain Le Roy
Ki-moon will take his road show Wednesday to the House on Capitol
Hill. Watch this site.
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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