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As Blinken Zooms To UN Questions of SG Candidates Blocked & Cameroon Posed by Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Transcript
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

UN GATE / SDNY, March 26 – With US Secretary of State Antony Blinken headed to the United Nations on March 29, if only virtually, on March 26 Inner City Press asked Department of State Bureau of International Organization Affairs Senior Bureau Official Erica Barks-Ruggles two questions about the UN.

  First, Inner City Press asked why the US Mission has declined, during its now-waning UN Security Council presidency, to circulate to the other member states the at least four names of opponents to Antonio Guterres for the position of UN Secretary General.  

 The Office of the President of the General Assembly Volkan Bozkir - a man who complained that NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio would not meet with him, which Inner City Press linked to Bozkir's previous bigoted statements it has reported on - has repeatedly said he shared the four names with US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. 

  But none have been circulated, despite the fact that the applicable UNGA resolution does not require, as Guterres and his supporters are trying to imply, that only candidates submitted by and beholden to a member state get circulated.

     Erica Barks-Ruggles replied that the Secretary General issue would be on Secretary Blinken's agenda during his virtual visit.

Inner City Press would ask a follow up, but despite being accredited at the IMF, and in-house Press at the SDNY court, the UN under Guterres does not allow Inner City Press in to its briefings, even by WebEx. For that reason, and in full disclosure, it is one of the four. We will have more on this.

   Inner City Press also asked if the Biden Administration sees any UN role in addressing the ongoing mass killings in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon.

 Erica Barks-Ruggles apologized for not having more, noting that the UN Security Council has not taken up Cameroon.

Inner City Press might well have asked the same about Honduras, whose president Juan Orlando Hernandez was just showed up in the SDNY as linked to narco-trafficking.

Here's the transcript:

MS PORTER:  I think it’s safe to move along.  We will go to the line of Matthew Russell Lee.  QUESTION:  Great, thanks a lot.  Thanks for taking the question.  One of the controversies right now in the UN is this – if Antonio Guterres is up for re-election, and the question is whether there will be other candidates.  There are at least four candidates who have provided names and CVs, but they haven’t been circulated to the member-states both by the president of the General Assembly you mentioned and even by the U.S. mission this month, the president of the Security Council.  I wanted to know what’s the administration’s – I mean, does that seem right?  Is that something that the Secretary’s going to discuss?  And what’s the mission’s thinking on not having circulated names during this month? 

And one other thing, it’s something that the UN has – the council has not worked on, but does the administration think that there’s a UN role in dealing with the ongoing kind of mass killings in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon?  The issue has been going on for some years and the Council has had a few AOBs, but never actually met on or done anything on.  Thanks a lot. 

AMBASSADOR BARKS-RUGGLES:  On the secretary-general race, we, of course, as members of the Council and permanent members of the Council, will be very much engaged in this process.  We obviously work closely with the current secretary-general and will look forward to that strong and constructive relationship continuing, and I think that that’s – that will be part of the discussions that Secretary Blinken will have with the secretary-general.  But I’m not going to get into the details of diplomatic discussions.  On Cameroon, I’m sorry.  I don’t have anything for you on that at this point.  It has not been discussed in the Security Council up to this point

We'll have more on this as well. Watch this site.


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