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On W. Sahara, Angola Asks For UNSC To Hear From AU Chissano April 26, ICP Publishes Note

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 -- Inner City Press obtained the UN's Western Sahara report, as approved by Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson on April 18, and exclusively in full text published it on Scribd here, days after the UN threw its journalistic files right out onto First Avenue. Video here and here (Periscope).

  Now Inner City Press has obtained the notice of and concept note for a Security Council Arria formula meeting on Western Sahara, requested by Angola so the Council can hear from the African Union envoy Chissano, to be held on April 26 at 3 pm. Here's the notice; then the concept note:

"Considering the current status quo prevailing in Western Sahara and considering the request made by the African Union's Peace and Security Council on 6 April, the Permanent Mission of Angola is convening an Arria Formula Meeting on Western Sahara to be held on Tuesday 26 April, 2016 at 3:00 in CR7 (Tbc), which will provide an opportunity to H.E. Joaquim Alberto Chissano, former President of Mozambique and Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Western Sahara to brief Members of the Security Council, UN Membership and Observers Mission to UN, on the efforts he's undertaking in the discharge of his mandate.
Concept Note is attached.

Arria Formula Meeting on the Situation in Western Sahara
[15h00/Venue: TBC]

On 28 April 2015, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has adopted Resolution 2218 which “reaffirms its strong support to the efforts of the Secretary-General to implement the Resolutions of the Security Council on Western Sahara and reaffirms its commitment to assist the parties to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of the arrangements consistent with the UNSC Resolution 690 (1991), as well as the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations”.

On 18 April 2016, the Secretary-General issued his Report on the situation concerning Western Sahara (S/2016/355), which among other observations, note the “lack of progress towards a resolution of the dispute over the status of Western Sahara”, a 40-years conflict. This report also refers to the “increased risks for the stability and security of all countries of this region” and the “tragic humanitarian situation that has lasted for far too long”.

On 06 April 2016, the situation in Western Sahara has been discussed by the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), the main partner of the UN Security Council in matters related to peace and security in the African continent.

The AUPSC has noted with deep concern the lack of progress in the resolution of this dispute, has reiterated its commitment to continue to work towards the early resolution of the conflict in Western Sahara on the basis of international legality and called on the UNSC to fully assume its responsibility on the matter.

Against this background, the Permanent Missions of Angola is convening an Arria Formula meeting which will provide the opportunity to H.E. Joaquim Chissano, former President of the Republic of Mozambique and Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to Western Sahara to brief Members of the Security Council on the efforts he is undertaking in the discharge

The Arria Formula meeting will aim at:

- Promoting the dialogue, support and cooperation between the Members of the United Nations Security Council and the African Union, which has consistently been called for in various Security Council documents, including, among others Resolution including Resolution 1625, and Presidential Statement S/PRST/2013/12;

- Promoting transparency on the discussion of the dispute on the status of Western Sahara;

- Promoting a discussion on the maintenance of international peace and security in Africa, in particular in that volatile region;

- Providing to the United Nations Member States an opportunity to interact informally with the Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission."

 On April 21, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the report, if Ban has a mediator between himself and Morocco, and about fraud. Video here, from the UN transcript.

  In the report, Ban Ki-moon recommends a 12-month extension of the mandate of the MINURSO mission (Paragraph 96). He says wanly in Paragraph 2 that "nothing I had said or done had been meant to take sides, express hostility to the Kingdom of Morocco, or signal any change in the approach of the United Nations to the Western Sahara issue."

The section on "Financial Aspects" does not address the fraud Inner City Press exposed with memos including from Kim Boduc to Herve Ladsous, below.

On April 19, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Ban's report, on which he refused to comment. UN transcript here:

Inner City Press: on this Western Sahara report.  The copy that I got had, you know, approved by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson as of 18 April.  And I wanted to know, is that the highest… is there… did Ban Ki-moon also sign a copy…?

Spokesman:  I'm not going to speak to the veracity of documents that you post online.  I can't attest to where they came from, but, obviously, I think anyone who looks at the report, it is the Secretary-General's report, and they go… they all go out with his approval.

Inner City PRess:  Can you comment on the fact that the financial aspect, Section 8…?

Spokesman:  No.

Inner City Press:  …paragraphs… oh, you won't.

  Typical. This article, included in the UN's "press clips," cites Inner City Press, which the UN explicitly bans from its press clips.

 Just before the UN's eviction, Inner City Press asked the UN about it showing the draft in advance to Morocco (the UN replied that this was "consultation"); the eviction and cut in access for Inner City Press was ordered with out due process by Spain's highest UN official, Cristina Gallach.  She Banned Inner City Press even from a UN Security Council meeting on Western Sahara, video here. Her orders must be reversed.

  This comes as the UN dodges Inner City Press' questions about Morocco and fraud reducing its UN dues payments. On April 14 Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about MINURSO documents leaked to it showing fraud in the hotels the UN uses, and is used by, in Western Sahara. UN staff leave their I.D.'s at the hotel, meals never served are charged for and taken out of Morocco's dues to the UN.

Inner City Press published a second, even more detailed leaked document, here, even as the UN prepared to oust its files on April 16, right out onto First Avenue. Video here and here (Periscope).

  This second document zeroed in on the Sahara Line Hotel and the Hotels Parador - Al Massira. What was the Moroccan government's role in this? Amazingly, a Moroccan board member of UNCA, which has pushed for Inner City Press' eviction, asked to be given advance copies of the next documents.

 Well, no. In front of the UN Security Council on the morning of April 15, after Reuters' Michelle Nichols twice cut off Inner City Press' question to Moroccan Ambassador Omar Hilale, finaly he answered and denied that Morocco ever received a memo about this fraud from the UN. Audio here.

 But here is the memo, from the UN's Kim Bolduc to Morocco's Minister on MINURSO Hamid Barez, here.

 And here is the memo from Bolduc to Atule Khare and Herve Ladsous, which put this fourth Frenchman in a row agop UN Peacekeeping on notie of this fraud more than a year ago. As on the rapes in Central African Republic, what did Ladsous DO, now that we know when he knew?

Here's what Dujarric said about these documents, Video here, UN Transcript here

Inner City Press:  I have to ask you this.  There was briefing about Western Sahara held this morning in the Delegates' Lounge.  But, as you may know, with this reduced pass, I cannot enter there.  So, I wanted to know, what… these claims that, in fact, one can cover the UN in exactly the same way with this pass, can you respond to the idea that I can't… on an issue that I actually cover…

Spokesman:  I don't know about the briefing.  As I said, if there is an issue and somebody needs to walk you over there, I'm sure somebody from MALU [Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit] will be able to walk you over there.

Inner City Press:  To the Delegates' Lounge in the main area as they were doing…

Spokesman:  Yes, I'm sure you can ask them, and they will try to help you.

Inner City Press:  Will they remain there listening?

Spokesman:  Of course they will not remain there and listen.

  But they do....

 On April 18, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephe Dujarric, UN transcript here:

Inner City Press:  On Western Sahara and this issue of… I’d asked you and I’d asked Farhan [Haq] about the documents that have emerged of the UN’s knowledge of fraud at the hotels used by the mission.  Omar Hilale had said that there was never a written request from the UN to clarify that, and I’ve seen a document that purports to be a UN — Kim Bolduc to the minister in charge from Morocco.  So what… can you say what is the UN’s position… what is the status of that inquiry that began more than a year ago between the UN and Morocco about fraud in the mission?

Spokesman:  I don’t have any updates than what Farhan may have given you.  What is clear is that if we’ve written… I can only speak for letters that we sent.  I can’t speak for those to whom the letter is addressed.  Thank you…

Inner City Press:  But she did write to Hamid Perez [transcription error], you can confirm that Kim Bolduc wrote to Hamid Perez more than a year ago.  [inaudible]

Spokesman:  I can only talk about what letters we sent.

Exclusive: UN Memo to Morocco About Hotel Fraud, Hilale Denied to ICP Morocco Received by Matthew Russell Lee

  At the April 15 UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq about it, video here.

Something is wrong here. And despite or because of it, Inner City Press faced eviction order by Spain's highest UN official, Cristina Gallach.

From: Tal Mekel <mekel [at]>
Date: Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 6:47 PM
Subject: Office
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

Dear Mr. Lee,

Further to the letter to you from Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, on 30 March 2016, we note that you did not remove your belongings from the office by the 6 April deadline as required.

As you have still not removed your belongings, we wish to inform you that your belongings will be packaged on Saturday 16 April 2016 at 10:00 a.m.

After carefully packaging them up, your belongings will be forwarded to Bronx NY headquarters address for Inner City Press that you had listed in your media accreditation application. If you wish us to forward your packaged belongings to another address instead, please let us know as soon as possible.

We request your presence during the packing. Please contact the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit (MALU) to make the necessary arrangements. If you are not present, the packing and forwarding will still take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday 16 April 2016.

Best, Tal

Tal Mekel
Acting Chief
Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit
United Nations - S-250
New York, NY 10017

Tel: 1-212-963-1504
Fax: 1-212-963-4642

We'll have more on all this. Watch this site.

  Dujarric said he would respond to the documents. But the first one has been online for more than 12 hours. Stonefaced, walking out as questions are asked, Ban's UN of Dujarric and Gallach proceeds toward the search and ouster of Inner City Press' journalistic files.  Dujarric said if shown the document he would comment. We've put a document online here

MINURSO Report Leaked to ICP on Fraud in Hotels Used in Western Sahara by Matthew Russell Lee

All this happens as Ban's Under Secretary General for "Public Information" Cristina Gallach of Spain moves to evict Inner City Press from the UN on April 16 - a Saturday, with the building empty. Ban Ki-moon, his Chief of Staff, Gallach and others have received a formal letter against it.

  Already Gallach's unilateral reduction in Inner City Press' accreditation has resulted in it being banned from two Security Council meetings on Western Sahara. On April 14 it was unable to attend a briefing on Western Sahara held in the Delegates Lounge, to which its pass no longer gives it access.

  Dujarric claimed that Inner City Press could be taken there with an "escort" who would not remain, as minder; this has not been Inner City Press' experience. We'll have more on this.

 Inner City Press on the evening of April 6 learned from multiple sources that there would be a UN Security Council session about Western Sahara, at the request of Venezuela and Uruguay, on April 7; it published the news at 6 am on April 7. At 10 am, Inner City Press asked French Ambassador Francois Delattre, Periscope video here, French Mission transcript here:

Inner City Press: On Western Sahara what´s the [Any Other] Business?

Amb Delattre: Following that there will be an AOB on Western Sahara, it will be an opportunity for the Secretariat -I believe it will be Herve Ladsous - to brief us about the progress and the state of affairs and the perspectives of the dialogue.

(Inner City Press question if UN official Jeff Feltman, and not Ladsous, is leading talks with Morocco, and Delattre's answer of Yes, was not transcribed - but something is better than nothing.)

  Even some of those close to Ban tell Inner City Press that Ban cares only a bit, or only belatedly, for the Saharawis, only that he was "personally insulted" by Morocco's protests and wants to retaliate, as his UN did on Inner City Press on February 19 and now. (There has been a letter to Ban from the Government Accountability Project, here, and petition with 1,280 signatures, here; Courthouse News Service April 6 coverage here; OIOS audit here.)

The UN's head of Political Affairs, past and seemingly future US State Department figure Jeffrey Feltman, is said to head up the UN Secretariat's “dialogue” with those who ousted MINURSO. This as for example Sudan on April 6 echoed those arguments for ouster, after UN DPKO boss Ladsous' droning speech about Darfur.

 How long before the echo reaches South Sudan, no matter how much UNMISS and UN agencies try to ingratiate themselves to Salva Kiir? Or DR Congo, same with Joseph Kabila?

  While Banned from the Security Council stakeout but not yet from the UN Press Briefing Room, at least not during the increasingly thuggish noon briefings, Inner City Press on April 1 asked Ban's Dujarric about Western Sahara and then censorship, and Dujarric just walked out, saying, "I'm done."

  On March 31, Inner City Press asked Morocco's Ambassador Hilale if you would show the proof he was alluding to, to a group of invited Moroccan and French journalists (Inner City Press was not invited, but present) and Hilale said no, saying he would show Dujarric.

 Inner City Press also asked Hilale if those from MINURSO in Las Palmas should stay; Hilale replied, "For us, it's over." Video here.

On April 6, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq about Sudan's ambassador also flashing a smart phone, and if Ban or his spokesman Dujarric had followed up on Hillale's offer. From the UN transcript.

On April 1, Inner City Press asked Dujarric, UN transcript here.
 Inner City Press asked Duajrric on March 31, before his April 1 walk-out, UN transcript.

Back on March 28, UN transcript here  I have a question of how the stakeout on Western Sahara on the 24th was run.  I can ask now or at the end, whichever you prefer.

Spokesman:  Let’s ask later. [See & UN retaliation.]

Meanwhile Ban's head of Communications Cristina Gallach had Inner City Press Banned from covering the UN Security Council meeting on Western Sahara on March 21, and in a Kafka-esque show required a UN minder for Inner City Press on March 24, then misrepresented it to Western Sahara supporters in New Zealand, see below.

  When to respond to Morocco's ouster of the MINURSO mission from Western Sahara the UN Security Council met at 8:30 am on March 21, Inner City Press arrived to cover the meeting, as it has Council meetings on the topic each April and October.

 But this time, it was unable to access the Security Council stakeout in order to speak with diplomats for its reporting. Video here. Any reporter with a Resident Correspondent pass, as Inner City Press had for eight years, could go to the stakeout. But not Inner City Press, not anymore.

   The reason Inner City Press was Banned from stakeout out the Western Sahara meeting was UN Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach's February 19 letter telling it, on two hours notice, to leave the UN after ten years of coverage. Letter here. Gallach never once spoke to Inner City Press before issuing the order.

   The results of Gallach's order, which remains in place, is systemic exclusion from covering and staking out events ranging from Sri Lanka counter-terrorism to the process for selecting Ban Ki-moon's successor, from UN Security Council reform to an event about slavery, the UN's memorial to which has funded since indicted and pleaded guilty to bribery at the UN.

   After the March 24 UN Security Council consultations on Western Sahara, just after the reading out o the Council's “Press Elements,” things hit a new low. UN Department of Public Information staff, working for Gallach, told Inner City Press it had to leave the Security Council stakeout even as other pro-Morocco journalists were conducting interviews with diplomats.

   After Inner City Press stated this was censorship attributable to Gallach, her staff's “solution” was even more Kafka-esque: Inner City Press would require an escort, or minder, as it conducted interviews. Obviously, diplomats desiring to speak on background about Ban's performance on Western Sahara would not do so in the presence of a minder working for Ban's Secretariat.

   What has led to this censorship or Banning of the Press at the UN, on Western Sahara, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Burundi and other topics?

  While Gallach's February 19 letter is vague, in the “incident” she alludes to Inner City Press sought to report on an event, nowhere listed as closed, held in the UN Press Briefing Room on January 29.

It was a meeting of the UN Correspondents Association, and Inner City Press wanted to cover it to see if the group's having under Giampaolo Pioli taken money from thhe South South News of now indicted Ng Lap Seng's and Vivian Wang's (and Frank Lorenzo, who has pleaded guilty) would be discussed. UNCA's Pioli demanded that UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric ask Inner City Press to leave.

 When despite no showing that it was a “Closed Meeting” a single UN Security officer told Inner City Press that Dujarric wanted Inner City Press to leave, it did.

   But the disagreement about the right to exclude the press from the UN Press Briefing Room was used by Gallach -- and it seems UNCA “leaders” including Giampaolo Pioli and at least two news services which now operate anonymous troll social media accounts -- to three weeks later, on two hours notice and with no due process, order Inner City Press out.

   Because the UNCA trolls, which are followed by and echo Gallach, repetitively tell anyone they can that Inner City Press is not restricted in any way in covering the UN -- which is a lie -- Inner City Press notes not only the obvious - that Gallach is Spain's highest UN official - but also the following:

After the March 24 Western Sahara meeting of the UN Security Council, Gallach tweeted to a questioner from New Zealand who asked, “why did you remove the accreditation of Inner City Press?” Gallach replied, photo here, that “I did not! ICP is fully accredited! Can report from UN.?His privilege to use office was taken out, due to misbehavior.” Photo of Gallach's tweet here.

  This is false. On March 21, Inner City Press was unable to reach the stakeout of the UN Security Council on Western Sahara as it had been able, until Gallach's decision of February 19. And on March 25, the moment Security Council president Gaspar Martins finished reading out the elements to the press - and Inner City Press but not the swearing UNCA boss Pioli asked him a question -- UN DPI staff told Inner City Press to leave the stakeout, even as diplomats remain.

  Inner City Press said that to report on the meeting, it need to speak to the diplomats, many of whom has in the past spoken with in on background. But now with its Gallach-reduced pass, DPI staff said Inner City Press required an “escort” or minder to remain on the second floor.

  What diplomat desiring to speak on background about Ban Ki-moon's questionable performance on Western Sahara would do so in view of a minder from Ban's Secretariat? It is FALSE that Inner City Press is fully accredited. And it is significant that, well before March 25, Gallach has been multiply informed of the impact of the restrictions she imposed without due process. As to Western Sahara, for example, the impacts -and intent? - are clear.

  Furthermore, the “misbehavior” repeatedly citing by Gallach illusory. UNCA should have have been trying to hold a “closed” meeting in the UN Press Briefing Room - even Francois Hollande could not do that - and the event was nowhere listed as closed. Inner City Press live tweeted and live streamed it openly, from the booth in the back to avoid the heckling of Pioli's gang.

  Dispositively, on March 23 UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq did nothing when two non interpreters were in the interpretation booth during the noon briefing. There is no clear rule, at least none that is enforced.

  But compared to this disagreement, isn't coming to the UN Security Council stakeout to loudly call another reporter “an asshole” misbehavior?UNCA chief Giampaolo Pioli, who lobbied Gallach to throw Inner City Press out, came to the UN Security Council stakeout on Western Sahara and loudly and repeatedly called Inner City Press “an asshole.” Audio here. Gallach's February 19 letter citing some rule about civility. Will she enforce it on Pioli?

 Gallach's ruling must be reversed. Watch this site.

The day after the UN Security Council issued mere Elements to the Press on Morocco's ouster of much of the UN's MINURSO mission, Moroccan media stole a photograph taken by Inner City Press and false said it was Ambassador Omar Hilale flashing the victory sign on the way into a lunch with Ban Ki-moon, here.

  In fact, Inner City Press took and tweeted  the photo as Hilale and his team gathered in the Turkish Lounge outside the Security Council during one of this week's closed door consultations, on March 21. Notably, the Moroccan publication not only uses the Inner City Press photo without credit - it claims credit itself.

  At this same UN Security Council on March 24 UN Correspondents Association boss Giampaolo Pioli repeatedly and loudly told Inner City Press "You are an asshole." Sample audio here. Since then another sample pro-Moroccan troll has snarked, "Maybe you are;" @InnerCityPress replied that Hilale for example never said it. We'll have more on this.

Why didn't UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon go to El Aaiun in Western Sahara, even to visit the headquarters of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara?  And why on March 21 did Ban say, "We had a good meeting in the Security Council today" when his deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq told Inner City Press it was fine it was excluded between there were no Secretariat staff involved? Who is Ban's "we"?

Strangely, while Ban's Secretariat saying it is strongly opposing Morocco's note verbale its civilian staff leave "the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco," on March 23 to Reuters and AFP it was an anonymous UN official who made the argument.

On March 24, Inner City Press asked Ban's Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq about this incongruity: why ostensibly speak truth to (Moroccan) power... anonymously?

 Instead of explaining, Haq said to Inner City Press, For a journalist you seem to have a problem with officials speaking to the media. Well, no: why only to pro-Ladsous scribes, and anonymously? Inner City Press asked if Herve Ladsous as head of UN Peacekeeping will finally hold a press conference, which it seems he hasn't since September 11, 2015 when on camera he linked peacekeeper rapes to "R&R." Haq did not respond.

 (On Reuters and AFP and anonimity, it's ironic: both were linked to anti-Press anonymous troll society media accounts, here; now it seems Voice of America has joined them.)

 As the UN Security Council had another round of closed door consultations about MINURSO on March 23, Inner City Press' sources tell it that a mild draft Press Statement is being "shot down" by Egypt, for the Arab Group or League - with France once again able to hide its imminent veto on the issue.

 As to Spain, whose foreign ministry has yet to answer - and in full disclosure whose highest UN official Cristina Gallach ordered Inner City Press out of the UN on two hours' notice and it still trying to seize its office, restrict its ability even to cover the Security Council on Western Sahara, video here -- sources says it is "blackmailed."

 What does that mean? Morocco can turn on migration, act on the small territories, has many Spanish companies on its territory and at sea. "Unless a larger power tells Spain to be decisive on this, Spain will just drivft," was the verdict. We await the ministry's comment.

Cristina Gallach, with Qatar's ex-PR, Spain sign, credit UN Photo/Evan Schneider

  UN DPKO boss Herve Ladsous went into the Security Council on the afternoon of March 23 without a word or answer. On his way out at 4:30 pm, Inner City Press asked him, Any progress on MINURSO? No answer. Any response to the Tony Banbury op-ed? One in his entourage laughed. Would retaliation follow? For Inner City Press, it already has. Watch this site.

On March 21, having had difficulty getting an answer from Spain's Mission to the UN particularly after Cristina Gallach, the highest Spanish official in the UN system, ousted Inner City Press from its office and the UN without due process -- and from the Western Sahara meeting, Periscope here -- sent this to Spain's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson:

From: Matthew Russell Lee [at]
Date: Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 9:15 AM
Subject: Press Q on Spain's position on Morocco ordering out 83 UN/AU staff from MINURSO, and UN doing it, on deadline, thanks
To: cecilia.yuste [at]

Hello -

This is a Press request to know Spain's position on Morocco ordering 83 UN (and AU) staff to leave “the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco,” as they referred to Western Sahara - and, separately, to UNSG Ban Ki-moon and/or DPKO chief Herve Ladsous deciding to in fact evacuate these staff to Las Palmas.

We have not heard Spain's position from the Mission here - there are other issues - and so put this question to you, on deadline. Please acknowledge receipt and provide substantive response asap.

Thank you in advance,

Matthew Russell Lee,  Inner City Press
Office at UN: Room S-303, UN HQ, NY NY 10017 (??)
Cell: 718-716-3540 [&]
Email Matthew.Lee [at] and this and @FUNCA_info

Periscope live broadcasts:

Feb 26, 2016 Business Insider


GAP to US Mission, Feb 26, 2016:

Video of protest in Jaffna, Sri Lanka (in Tamil)

Sri Lanka Sunday Times, March 20, 2016

   But still no answers at all - other than a continued push for eviction of Inner City Press, despite or because of what is in the OIOS audit Inner City Press has published.

As the 8:30 am meeting took place, Inner City Press once it got about the retaliatory Ban imposed by UN official Cristina Gallach heard from its sources that this photograph of troops and missiles - note the flag(s) - was circulating among the highest UN officials including DPKO chief Herve Ladsous, and that Morocco was moving to oust even MINURSO military personnel from Dakhla. There were still no other media present at 9:30 am.

  Inner City Press arrived at the UN at 8:20 am and as passing through the now required (by UN censorship and retaliation) metal detectors saw a convoy diplomats from the Morocco mission going in.

 But up at the Security Council, the door for "non-resident correspondents" was locked; Inner City Press' current pass downgraded in retaliation by the UN doesn't work on the turnstiles and there was no guard present.

 Inner City Press set up in the hall, but from there was unable to put questions -- as it has  right to -- to the Permanent Representatives going in.

  Seen, through glass, were the Perm Reps of France and Spain chatting amiably; PRs of New Zealand and Ukraine and Russia; American Deputy David Pressman.

  At the noon briefing, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq, Vine here (video still not provided)

 Later on March 21, along with telling Ban (again) that his Under Secretary General for "Communications" Cristina Gallach and Security had thrown Inner City Press out of its office and the UN as a whole on February 19, Inner City Press asked Ban what he was doing on Western Sahara.

 Ban said, "We had a good meeting in the Security Council today." Audio embedded here.

But didn't Haq say it was fine to Ban Inner City Press because there were no Secretariat staff involved? Beyond who is Ban's we, does the justification for censorship stand up?

Beyond having physically thrown Inner City Press out of the UN, twice, does Ban's UN not want the media on its announcement list to cover such a meeting?

Inner City Press had heard of the Monday 8:30 am meeting from sources in the region on Sunday evening.

  Why did Ban (or the head of UN Peacekeeping, Frenchman Herve Ladsous) give in? If, in the most positive light, it was for staff safety -- which was ignored for example in Sri Lanka -- why has Ban not come out and said that? This is a new low.

  On March 16, Inner City Press asked the US State Department about Western Sahara and then (from the State Department briefing room) published this, emailed to Inner City Press from Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner:

"The United States continues to support the UN-led process designed to bring about a peaceful, sustainable, and mutually-agreed solution to the conflict in the Western Sahara, one in which the human rights of all individuals are respected.
We support the work of the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for the Western Sahara and the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum on Western Sahara (MINURSO).
We encourage all of the parties to remain fully and actively engaged in pushing the process toward an effective resolution."

  But on March 19, a strongly rumored UN Security Council meeting about Western Sahara did not happen, at least by 3 pm.

It seems friends of Morocco - read, France - argued that the meeting was not needed. But what of Morocco's "note verbale" telling 84 people to leave "the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco"?

 That's the rub - under international law, Western Sahara is NOT "the territory of the Kingdom of Morocco." So how can 84 people be ordered out this way?

 Contrary to the analogies UN and DPKO spokesman Stephane Dujarric used, Eritrea kicking out UNMEE for not enforcing its legal right to Badme, or Chad kicking out MINURCAT, Morocco is not the host country of MINURSO.  So the note verbale, which in any event should have been sent to the Security Council, is not effective.

 But what is the role of Herve Ladsous, the fourth Frenchman in a row atop UN Peacekeeping, in this - and in the ouster of Inner City Press on February 19, ostensibly by his fellow Frenchman Stephane Dujarric and Cristina Gallach, the highest official of Spain in UN System? We'll have more on this.

Meanwhile two tweets from the account of the acting spokesperson for the US Mission to the UN got a lot of play, on both sides of the issue, click here to view.

  On March 18 Inner City Press asked Kirby, again, about the Government Accountability Project's letter to the US Mission to the UN about UN retaliation against the Press. Kirby said, "I’m also happy to refer you to our mission up in New York City." Later his office put in writing, "On the question on the Government Accountability Project letter, we’d refer you to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations."

But Inner City Press has already asked three at the US Mission about the GAP letter.

After the Security Council met on March 18 about Western Sahara, the Council's President for March, Ambassador Gaspar Martins of Angola, said the members had agreed to work both bilaterally and as  Council. Which is it? Left solo, France reflexively defends Morocco.
 Sounds bilateral... Watch this site.

On March 14, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about an upcoming meeting it had heard from other sources about. From the UN transcript.

  On March 7, Inner City Press asked Dujarric if Ban had even tried to get to MINURSO's headquarters in El Aaiun -- Dujarric didn't answer that -- and if Ban hadn't in his comment distributed on March 6 given Morocco a veto over the referendum promises even in the name of the MINURSO mission.

Back on March 2, Inner City Press asked Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq why Ban is not going, while wanly claiming he has the right to do. UN transcript here.

Ban was supposed to go in November 2015 but he canceled it, thinking he could get more political - read, South Korea electoral -- play by going to North Korea. But then North Korea turned him down.

  On February 25, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about issues including Western Sahara, after three days reporting on the UN from outside after Ban's head of Communications Cristina Gallach threw Inner City Press out without due process: petition here; weird pro Morocco spin on the ouster, here.

  Ahead of Ban's March 1 stop in Spain there was pick up of the fact that Gallach is Spain's highest UN official, and that she ousted the Press from the UN.

In defense of Ban and Gallach, anonymous troll account has taken to tweeting, now at Spanish journalists, that Gallach is fine and didn't throw Inner City Press out of the UN on two hours notice without once speaking to it. But those are the facts. Among the new troll account's followers are Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric and four UNCA board members, plus Reuters bureau chief Louis Charbonneau, who has a history with this, see here.


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