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On UN Turf, Eliasson Takes Political Roles from Feltman, Team Ban Wary?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 6, updated -- When the top job in the UN Department of Political Affairs passed from B. Lynn Pascoe to fellow American Jeffrey Feltman, as first reported by Inner City Press, it was thought that the DPA post under Feltman would have at least as much power as it did under Pascoe.

  Feltman, after all, was the US State Department's top man on the Middle East, and Feltman was selected rather than inherited by the Obama administration.

  But another simultaneous change at the UN is cutting into the mandate of DPA and its chief, well placed UN sources tell Inner City Press.

  New Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, unlike his predecessor Asha Rose Migiro, has been given supervisory powers over peace, security and political affairs for Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

  Andrew Gilmore, taking the position formerly held by Nicholas "Fink" Haysom before Ban's Five Year mobility rule chased him to Kabul, reports to Eliasson, as will his deputy Mr. Khan of Pakistan.

  So the DPA post is less powerful, just as Feltman takes it over.

Update: the response, in fairness, is that there is enough work to go around. This is good sportsmanship, akin to an athlete faced with less playing due to a new teammate. With the change in DSGs and mandate, Pascoe got more playing time than Feltman. But playing time is not everything: we'll follow the results.

Meanwhile, the well placed sources say, there is the brewing potential of Ban and "the South Koreans" (as the sources put it) becoming concerned of the powers amassed by Eliasson.

  Monday before writing this story, Inner City Press arrived 15 to 20 minutes early for the media opportunity of Ban's meeting with senior staff and swearing in of the new Acting chief of the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management, about whose recruitment an Inner City Press question from Friday has yet to be answered.

  But despite greeting several Under Secretaries General on their way up, and checking in with UN Security and the liaisons for such media opportunities, attending turned out to be impossible. It is explained that the escort went up 20 minutes before and that was that.

  Later, Eliasson and no fewer than three bodyguards passed through the UN's Vienna Cafe on their way into Conference Room C, which had no sign outside at all. He emerged at 11:35 am, chatting with long time American Assistant Secretary General Bob Orr and US Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemary DiCarlo. And so it goes at the UN.

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