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As Ban & Kim Head to Sahel, Softball Questions Ignore Tuareg, Rape, Dams

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 1, updated -- With World Bank president Jim Kim appearing by video from Washington, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday morning announced his and Kim's upcoming trip to the Sahel: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.

  Ban's spokesperson Martin Nesirky then chose four questions. The first, in a politicized process that has become more indefensible by the day, went to the UN Correspondents Association.

 This is a group which, beyond trying to get investigative media thrown out of the UN, in July held a faux "UN briefing" for Saudi-sponsored Syria rebel boss Ahmad al Jarba.

  Two of the three other questions were also given to UNCA Executive Committee members: a softball and one not even about the Sahel. The only non-UNCA question turned out to be about money laundering and corruption.

  Directly on Mali and the UN Peacekeeping mission MINUSMA which Ban bragged about, he should have been asked about the allegations of gang rape against MINUSMA, and its troops leaving their posts in Northern Mali after not being paid.

No one asked if Ban will travel to Gao or Northern Mali, or if the World Bank's money will benefit the Tuaregs.

  Even on the Great Lakes trip both Ban and Kim bragged of, no one asked about opposition to dam projects, or about why the International Monetary Fund still has not revived the program it suspended with the DRC due to murky mining contracts. This is how this UN is working - or not. Watch this site.

Update: only after Ban left did Nesirky take questions on the trip from members of the Free UN Coalition for Access, @FUNCA_info. To Inner City Press on the rape charges, Nesirky said it is mostly up to the Troop Contributing Country: Chad, which Kim and Ban will also visit. No answer on if they'll go to Gao, or how ensure World Bank funds reach Northern Mali. We'll have more on the trip.


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