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UN Tells ICP Chambers Can Serve Ban and Chris Christie, Ethics Office Told?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 11 -- The UN Charter is clear: a person cannot serve both the UN and their own government. But does that also mean “local government”? Or, as the UN today told Inner City Press, it is fine to serve both Ban Ki-moon and Chris Christie?

At the August 11 noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: on Ray Chambers. He was recently named to a panel by Chris Christie of New Jersey and the article reporting that said that he’s a former UN official. But, the website says that he’s the current, you know, adviser to the Secretary-General on…

Spokesman Dujarric: I’m not aware of any changes to Mr. Chambers.

Inner City Press: Can he do both? Can he serve the State of New Jersey and the UN at the same time?

Spokesman Dujarric: Let me check what his exact status is.

Five hours later, Dujarric has still not answered. So Inner City Press asked (on this) in writing:

On Ray Chambers and his new New Jersey post, here is a citation [calling Chambers a "former" UN official - misleading?]

Again: can he do both, UN and NJ? Any ethics office ruling?

And any answer on the UNDP audit I sent you?

Finally: does SG's “press availability” at noon tomorrow mean no noon briefing? Is so, why? As you know, there are questions about the full range of the UN system and missions. Please explain.

Dujarric said, no UN noon briefing on August 12 -- the Free UN Coalition for Access objects -- and on Chambers, he then replied:

On Ray Chambers, he remains the UN SG’s Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals and for Malaria. His post is on a $1 a year. We see no conflict with his serving on New Jersey-focused commission.”

Is that consistent with the UN charter? And why not answer on if the UN Ethics Office was asked? Recently Dujarric's office refused to say if the UN Ethics Office was asked about Ban accepting free private jet travel to the Middle East paid for by Qatar, with its own interests in the region.

In the past, Ban's spokesperson's office dodged Inner City Press questions about then UN envoy on the Sahel Romano Prodi simultaneously running for office in Italy (more recently he called Egypt's Sisi about Libya and was identified, still, as a UN official).

But can Chambers serve Ban Ki-moon and Chris Christie at the same time?

Ban's previous “good offices” envoy on Cyprus Alexander Downer was vying for political roles and then Australian Ambassadorship(s) while serving the UN, and working for consultancy Bespoke Approach. Now Inner City Press is told the UN is being lobbied to name as Downer's successor a former UN (and US) official, B. Lynn Pascoe. We'll have more on this.


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