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UN Spokesman Cuts Off Press Q on Ross, Says He'll Speak to Accreditation

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 11 -- After UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous allowed the UN's Western Sahara report to be watered down omitted restrictions impermissibly placed on MINURSO personnel, public doubts have grown if Ban is seeking a replacement for envoy Christopher Ross, of whom Morocco has complained.

  And so on July 11, even as the UN Security Council heard a video briefing from Kofi Annan, Inner City Press left the Council stakeout to run to the UN's noon briefing to ask Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, on camera, to respond to reports in Al Quds Al Arabi that Ban's UN is doing some quiet sounding out of possible replacements for Ross.

  Nesirky began with a number of statements, then took questions from journalists on topics ranging from Egypt (where the UN is going virtually nothing) to the death of refugees from Libya on their way to Italy. He called on one journalist two separate times, with another's question in between. Then he called on Inner City Press.

  Because of question that arose at the previous day's Syria Troop Contributing Countries' meeting, Inner City Press began with that, asking how Ladsous, even before the Security Council met on and decided it, could tell TCCs that the Syria Mission's military component will be reduced by 50%, and why Department of Field Support chief Amira Haq did not attend.

  Nesirky said, as to the 50%, that one must plan in advance, and that DFS is working on other issues like the mutiny in the Congo. (Actually, as Inner City Press reported yesterday, Ms. Haq was seen by the Vienna cafe with Ban's chief of staff Susana Malcorra, until recently the chief of DFS).

  Then Inner City Press tried to ask the question of if Ban stands behind Ross, and for UN response to Al Quds Al Arabi. But Nesirky said, the briefing is over.

   Inner City Press repeated its question, since on this an on camera answer carries most weight. But Nesirky was walking out of the room.  Video here, at end.

   In the hall, Nesirky approached Inner City Press and said, "When I say it's over, it's over."

  Inner City Press pointed out that Nesirsky called on another journalist two separate times, and that an on camera answer on Ross was the reason Inner City Press ran from the Syria stakeout.

  Nesirky called this rude, and then said, "I'm gong to have another word with Stephane Dujarric about this."

Dujarric is the official to whom Voice of America recently complained asking the UN to review Inner City Press' accreditation status -- questioned as content based by the NY Civil Liberties Union.

It is in this context, and atmosphere, that Nesirky is being quoted.

For the record, in the hall, Nesirky added, "The Secretary General has full confidence in Christopher Ross."

  And after publication of the above, this:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]>
Date: Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM
Subject: Your question on Christopher Ross
To: Matthew.Lee [at]
Cc: Martin Nesirky [at]

We simply would like to reiterate what has been said before: the Secretary-General has full confidence in Christopher Ross.

So it goes at the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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