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In UN, Reviews of Feltman Run from “Hopeless” Even to “Too Young for Ban”

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 26, updated – That two of the states mentioned in UN official Jeffrey Feltman's briefing Tuesday were critical of him is not surprising. But the negative reviews extend further.

  Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari told Inner City Press “it's a hopeless case,” saying Feltman praised the opposition's al-Khatib for offering to talk, but not the Assad government.

  Palestine, too, said UN envoy Robert Serry better captures the “pulse on the ground,” while Feltman reflects “the pulse of a dead body,” meaning UN Headquarters or the Security Council.

  Perhaps that is how Feltman perceives his job: to dash the hopes of the Palestinians and be critical of Assad's Syria. And both of these positions are popular at least with some Council members.

  But a Security Council member on February 25 told Inner City Press there is increasing frustration among Council members that “Feltman doesn't understand his role -- he is supposed to implement things the Council decides.”

  The example given was about Mali, on which Feltman and his Department of Political Affairs are perceived to have lost out to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations of Herve Ladsous, or France.

  More systematically, a senior UN official told Inner City Press last week that Feltman “has less power than Pascoe,” his predecessor atop DPA, had. Inner City Press has already written about how Jan Eliasson coming in as Deputy Secretary General cut into the power and role of DPA. (Feltman responded to Inner City Press, generously, that the more, the merrier.) But it's beyond that.

  The senior UN official, close to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, told Inner City Press that Ban “respects older people. Pascoe had gray hair. Feltman is and looks younger. Ban doesn't take him as seriously.”

  If so, that might be on Ban.

  Anyway, this we can't prove. But the less than positive reviews, not only from the states Feltman reports on, but from inside the Security Council, are not a good sign.

   We've said it before: one answer might be for Feltman to speak more, answer more, explain himself. Why not? He did well at his one press conference, not only answering on Mali but on less central UN topics such as Madgascar. Why not speak more? Seriously? Watch this site.

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