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At UN, Split on Who Represents Post-Coup Guinea Bissau, Lusophone, ECOWAS & Host

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 20 -- While a new post-coup Ambassador of Guinea Bissau is already in New York, Portugal's Permanent Representative Cabral on Thursday told Inner City Press that 'the old guy' is still the country's diplomat at the UN, since Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has not accepted the credentials of any successor.

  At Thursday's noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky if Ban would during the General Debate be meeting with post-coup "interim" president Manuel Serifo Nhanadjo, or accepting the credentials of his new ambassador.

  Nesirky said that is up to the UN's Credentials Committee, which as named this week by new President of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremic is composed of Angola (likely to support 'the old guy,' like fellow CPLP Lusophone member Portugal), China, Peru, Russia, Seychelles, Sweden, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago and the United States.

  The US, several diplomats told Inner City Press, essentially joined the ECOWAS countries of West Africa in recognizing the coup by granting a G-1 visa to the new post-coup Ambassador. Inner City Press put the question to a US Mission spokesman on Thursday morning, and will publish the respond upon receipt.

  In the interim, so to speak, Inner City Press asked Nesirky if Ban's Department of Political Affairs might meet with post-coup officials of Guinea Bissau.

  Nesirky said generally that yes, the UN Secretariat meets with a range of people who are not necessarily elected. He said he would check into the specifics of Guinea Bissau, in the context of Ban's upcoming more than 100 bilateral meetings in the next week. We'll be covering some of those, for sure.

From the UN's September 20, 2012 transcript:

Inner City Press: Guinea-Bissau, early this year, had what was pretty much everyone says was a coup d'état, but there are some countries that now recognize the interim leaders as the de facto authorities and there are some, particularly in the CPLP, Brazil, Angola, Portugal, that are not recognizing the current Government. Is the Secretary-General going to meet with interim President Manuel Serifo Nhamadjo? I understand there is a new Perm[anent] Rep[resentative] representing them that is in the country, but has not yet presented his credentials; is the UN… do they recognize this Government and will they be meeting with them?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, first of all, recognition is a matter for Member States; recognition or non-recognition is a matter for Member States. And credentials for Permanent Representatives would be a matter for the Credentials Committee, so I think we would need to see where that goes. I am not familiar right now with where things stand on that particular question of credentials, so I would need to check. But it would be a matter for them.

Inner City Press: I appreciate that, but the current sort of de facto Government, if they came to New York for the general debate, would their meeting with DPA [Department of Political Affairs], could that be possible without any ruling by the Credentials Committee?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, more broadly speaking, and I am not saying that it would apply specifically in this case, but more broadly speaking, the Secretary-General and other UN officials will meet with a wide range of individuals and representatives, and not necessarily from elected Governments, Heads of State, ministers, but other officials and individuals, too, depending on the subject matter. And I think you will be familiar with cases where that has happened in the past, for very good reasons, because these are topics and matters of international concern. But I am speaking broadly here, in general, and not on that specific case. I’d need to check, as I think you are aware; in any given general debate period, the Secretary-General will have dozens, in fact beyond one hundred and something bilateral meetings. I don’t have them all to hand or in my head, unfortunately. I wish I could do that.

Inner City Press: That’s why I thought I’d ask this one now, before it all starts.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Okay, all right, all right.

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