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UN's Feltman Says Sanogo No Longer Has Monopoly in Mali, But What of Policy?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, February 8 – Since first reporting back on March 28, 2012 that Jeffrey Feltman, then of the US State Department, would get the UN's top political job, Inner City Press has kept requesting that Feltman hold an on the record press conference.

  On Friday, Feltman finally did. Most of the questions concerned Mali. Feltman said that France's Operation Serval has sidelined some of those bent on military interference.

   Inner City Press asked how this relates to the ongoing involvement in the military of coup leader Captain Amadou Sanogo. Video here, from Minute 39:23.

   Feltman said it's clear the military need to stay out of politics. He acknowledged that coup leader Sanogo, who "symbolizes... military interference," is still in the mix in Bamako, but argued that he does not have the “monopoly on power” he had or might otherwise have had due to the "new engagement inside the country."

   But other UN officials such as Ivan Simonovic have spoken of the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence policy in Mali – so would working with a coup leader comply with this UN policy? This, Feltman did not answer.

  After France began bombing, and Inner City Press publicly asked if Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had as required by Operative Paragraph 11 of Resolution 2085 “confirmed the satisfaction of the Security Council” with the military plans (the so-called "Algerian element"). No, was the answer.

   Feltman to his credit, as he jogged from briefing the Security Council back to his office, through the UN garage, told Inner City Press that the “confirmation of satisfaction” would take the form of a publicly available report.

   On Friday Inner City Press on behalf of the new Free UN Coalition for Access thanked Feltman for finally holding a press conference, but urged him to speak to the media more often when he comes to brief the Security Council. Video here, from Minute 39:23. We'll see. Watch this site.

Footnote:  Days after the UN refused Inner City Press' request for a read-out of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's February 4 meet with Madagascar's Andrei Rajoelina (click here for photo op video), Inner City Press asked Feltman what the UN thought of Rajoelina moving the presidential election back, seemingly into July, and perhaps running to hold the prime minister spot until re-running for president in 2018. Video here from Minute 40:16.

  Feltman replied that it's “important that any change in the current arrangement be done by consensus...We in the UN have stated we want to see elections take place on time. There was a generally accepted order for those election to take place, that's the way to go, unless there is a clear consensus to change that." Video here, from Minute 42:43.

  So is that what Ban Ki-moon told Rajoelina in the meeting? Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner City Press there would be no read-out, and not to read into that. How not? Watch this site.

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