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In Yemen 300,000 Displaced From Hodeidah As UN Guterres Spox Dujarric Lies To Ban Inner City Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, 30/7 CJR, 19/6 Video

UNITED NATIONS GATE, August 1 – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres lavished praised on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 27 accepting a $930 million check from the Saudis and UAE, with not a word of the Saudi led bombing campaign that has killed civilians and caused cholera in Yemen.  On August 1, the day the implicated UK took over presidency of the UN Security Council while denying Press requests under FOIA and for access, NRC said that "residents of Hodeidah city report that despite a lull in ground clashes, the city has become increasingly fortified in recent week. 'People fleeing now are utterly desperate – desperate for somewhere safe to sleep, desperate for something to eat, desperate for a situation that will allow them to go home,' noted Mohamed Abdi, NRC’s Country Director in Yemen. Civilians are able to move to, from and within the city but are navigating tighter security and remain. More than 300,000 people have been displaced from Al Hodeidah governorate since early June. This figure equates to more than 5,500 people each day and more than 40,000 each week. A third of those displaced by recent violence have fled to areas within Hodeidah governorate, while another third have reached Sana’a city (Amanat Al Asimah governorate), about six hours away by road. Together, these governorates account for 25 per cent  of Yemen’s 1.12 million suspected cholera cases, indicating an extremely high risk of another outbreak." The UN has a dismal track record with cholera, for example in Haiti. On July 30 Guterres' sleazy basis for roughing up and banning Inner City Press for 27 days and counting was reported in the Columbia Journalist Review: Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric has gone further, in an article published July 30 by the Columbia Journalism Review. Dujarric - who Inner City Press directed to the CJR reporter to - is quoted that " Lee Periscoped while shouting, 'Fuck you!' repeatedly. (Lee says he was complaining that Dujarrac had given the Al Jazeera crew a private interview, and excluded him.) 'He creates an atmosphere of incivility within our working environment,' Dujarrac says."  This is a lie. Inner City Press on June 19 when Dujarric gave a "private briefing" to Al Jazeera about Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo announcing the US pull out from the UN Human Right Council said in the hall that is was a "sleazefest." After closing the door of the focus booth it has been confined to work in for two years by Dujarric, and long after the Al Jazeera trio including James Bayes and Whitney Hurst were done, said on Periscope, F-You. Periscope video - still online during this 27 day "investigation" - here. So Dujarric is a censor, justifying the beating up and banning of a journalist for something he broadcast in a soundproof booth to his audience. This is disgusting, all the more so because as Inner City Press has reported, Dujarric told an interlocutor on June 20, before the two beat-downs of Inner City Press, that things would be worse for it. Guterres and Dujarric and it seems Smale are.. thugs. Disgusting. On Yemen, the CJR article quotes Inner City Press: "The Saudis buy UK weapons to bomb Yemen—but the UN envoy to Yemen is British." All true.  On July 5, hours before Guterres' (and the UK's and Saudis') envoy Martin Griffiths briefed the UN Security Council, Guterres' UN banned Inner City Press from entering, and it has been banned for 12 days and counting since. Fox News story here ("UN roughs up, ejects, bans reporter from headquarters: Caught on tape"); petition to Guterres here; GAP blogs I and II (“Harassment of US Journalist Intensifies at the UN”).  On July 30 (Inner City Press is still banned from the UN with no end in sight), US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert issued a read-out including that "Secretary Pompeo met today in Washington, DC with Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, who participated in the July 24-26 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.  On Yemen, they affirmed the importance of continued support for the efforts of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and emphasized the need for all parties to show restraint to avoid further escalation of hostilities." All parties. The UK becomes president of the UN Security Council on August 1; watch this site. On July 20, NRC on Hodeidah said that "airstrikes, mortar fire, missiles and shelling continue to kill, injure and threaten the safety of civilian populations, particularly in At Tuhayat and Zabid districts. NRC’s staff inside Hodeidah city have described it as a “ghost town”, where the bulk of shops and restaurants have been closed by proprietors fleeing the city. Through the course of the week, residents of Hodeidah city heard low-flying jets and heavy airstrikes on the outskirts of the city. The price of women’s sanitary items has risen by more than 15% since May, creating major challenges for women in already challenging circumstances, many of whom are without access to clean water. Ali Al Hajori, in Hajjah, said that 'conditions here are becoming worse. People aren’t only arriving from Hodeidah now, but from areas in the north too. They come in the heat and dust with everything they can carry, but it usually isn’t enough for them to survive beyond a few days. We are stretching the aid we have to reach as many people as possible but it will never compensate for what they lose by leaving their homes.' Isaac Ooko,NRC’s Area Manager in Hodeidah said that 'people are living in pathetic conditions, not fit for humans and completely untenable for those who are most vulnerable. I am incredibly proud of our teams for fronting up each day to make it possible for people to live with dignity in a situation that otherwise strips it from them. What might appear to be a pause to the outside world, doesn’t feel the same for those of us seeing what it means for people here.' Yemen’s Protection Cluster reported severe damage to the main water tanks in Al Tuhayet district earlier this month, leaving close to 100,000 people without safe water and at heightened risk of communicable diseases.
NRC’s staff in Hodeidah are continuing to carry out our usual cholera prevention programs, focused on ensuring people have access to safe water and hygiene material." The UN has a shameful record with cholera, having killed over 10,000 people in Haiti with the cholera UN Peacekeeping brought, with not a penny in restitution.
On July 13, unable to go to the UN's noon briefing as it had been been unable to attend Guterres' July 12 press conference at which not a single Yemen question was asked, Inner City Press wrote to Guterres' spokesmen: "
Saudi King Salman has ‘pre-exonerated’ all troops fighting in Yemen from any accountability issues they may face over their conduct in the war, in which thousands of civilians have been killed and wounded. A statement announcing the early pardon, released by Saudi Arabia's state news agency SPA, said the pardon extends to “all military men across the armed forces” taking part in Operation Restoring Hope.” Given that the SG accepted Saudi's $930 Million check, what is his comment?" There was no answer for four days. On July 17, Guterres' deputy spokesman Farhan Haq e-mailed Inner City Press that "Regarding your earlier question on Yemen, we have the following: We are aware of the reported royal decree by King Salman. The United Nations does not endorse amnesties for genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or gross violations of human rights. The Secretary-General has consistently reminded all parties to the conflict of their obligation to adhere to international humanitarian law, including taking steps to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. We emphasize once again that a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra-Yemeni dialogue is the only way to end the conflict and address the ongoing humanitarian crisis." So what about that $930 million check? And the ongoing ban of Inner City Press? We'll have more on this. On June 26 as Guterres proposed to Security Council to continue to list the Saudi and now Emirati led Coalition as "good" child killers, Guterres' spokesman said this classification is for parties who "engage." Inner City Press asked if the $930 million check was part of the engagement and Dujarric archly said No. On June 29, NRC  NRC staffer, Lolah Alkahtani, in Sana’a: "I am worried that this war will kill my family in Hodeidah, and that it will destroy our house which my father built after spending all his life saving for it. The word worried doesn’t even describe a bit of how we feel.”

 NRC staffer, Saleem Al-Shamiri, in Sana’a, said "My family in Hodeidah city think any moment a bomb will explode, or clashes will reach their homes. I have felt this situation myself in 2011, and understand the fear and panic they feel now. While the past days have been quiet, family and friends I have spoken to tell me that people don’t dare leave their houses. Only a few grocery shops are open, and many people going hungry. I sent some money to my family so they can buy food, as most people don’t have anything left in their houses. I’m concerned that they won’t be able to find food or clean water to survive while the offensive drags on.”

NRC continued: The fighting in Hodeidah continues but is on a relative pause while the UN envoy is allowed further time to mediate between the parties to the conflict in an attempt to restart peace negotiations.
The situation in the wider Hodeidah area is volatile, and fighting continues in Hodeidah’s southern districts.  Airstrikes have been ongoing around the city although they have slowed this week.
People inside Hodeidah city tell NRC staff that the situation continues to be calm, with only a few clashes reported during the night. Some roads within the city are reportedly closed or partially blocked by defensive entrenchments. 
People inside the city tell NRC that most shops, especially in the southern side of the city, remain closed as shopkeepers are too scared to open them. Electricity is still unavailable in many areas and water remains scarce. Most people do not leave their houses unless it’s urgent. Many don’t have adequate food in their homes and are at the brink of going hungry.
Money exchange shops are reported to remain mostly closed. This is a serious concern in Yemen, where people have been struggling with an increasing lack of cash liquidity in the past few years of the conflict. Without access to cash, and with reportedly rising prices of basic goods, civilians who could otherwise survive may be left without food and other necessities."
Last week, Dujarric spoonfed sound bytes to Al Jazeera and is working with them to try to further restrict Inner City Press, here - Inner City Press was in fact ousted on June 22, video here, story here. On June 26, MSF's Caroline Seguin gave the following account: "SELC-backed forces are currently fighting Ansar Allah troops for Hodeidah airport, located a few kilometers south of the city center. It is very difficult to assess the situation, as we don’t have MSF staff inside Hodeidah yet. But [Yemeni] medical staff we work with have reported airstrikes and shelling inside the city, and people have started stockpiling food and fuel. Ansar Allah forces have been very active in Hodeidah, digging trenches and building barricades, [and] deploying troops near civilian areas such as residential zones, hospitals, and hotels, which is very worrying. Hodeidah’s water system has been affected by these excavations, and water shortages are being reported by residents. Electricity has been out for years, and people are using generators when they can afford them.
It is difficult to estimate how many people fled the city so far. Inside Hodeidah, population movements have been observed from the south of the city to the north. Some displaced families have moved further to neighboring Dhamar and Ibb governorates, and to the capital Sana’a, where they can rent houses or stay with relatives. Since the war began in March 2015, the average price of fuel has more than doubled, so fleeing the city can cost families a lot of money."
The UN says Griffiths will meet with propped up "president' Hadi on June 27, in Aden. Inner City Press on May 29 asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the Saudi led Coalition's and UAE's moves on Hodeida. On June 20 after UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash delivered the final threat (the UAE Diplomatic Academy has former UN envoy to Libya Bernardino Leon) and after Dujarric announced the withdrawal by the UN of its international staff from Hodeidah, the assault began. Now on June 21, from the UN's British envoy Martin Griffiths, this: "I will continue my consultations with all parties to avoid further military escalation in Hudaydah, which I fear would have severe political and humanitarian consequences. My priority now is to avoid a military confrontation in Hudaydah and to swiftly return to political negotiations. I am encouraged by the constructive engagement of the Ansar Allah leadership in Sana’a and I look forward to my upcoming meetings with President Hadi and the Government of Yemen. I am confident that we can reach an agreement to avert any escalation of violence in Hudaydah. While in Sana’a, I also briefed the Security Council on 18 June and announced my intention to relaunch political negotiations in the coming weeks. I reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to reach a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen. I welcome the commitment and willingness of the parties to engage in a UN facilitated intra-Yemeni political process."  On June 18 before Griffiths briefed the Security Council, on the way in, UK Ambassador Karen Pierce said that Griffiths is working closing with the Coalition - that is, though assaulting Hodeidah. But why then would the Houthis trust him? Inner City Press was previously informed, from high in the UN Department of Political Affairs, that Saudi Arabia and the UK chose Griffiths and Guterres went along. More recently Guterres has mock dressed up as a FIFA World Cup referee and Inner City Press' livestream Periscope account was suspended by Twitter for showing UN reacting to the World Cup and a screen installed by the Russian Mission to the UN. But the above, though Inner City Press was unable to Periscope it, is what Pierce said. After the meting, after push back at censorship and with Inner City Press' Periscope restored, it asked Russia's deputy ambassador who is calling the shots on Hodeidah: the UAE? Saudi? Yemen national army? Mercenaries? Periscope here. He said that wasn't discussed in the consultations. How not?  Watch this site. The assault is proceeding. There was a UN Security Council meeting about it at noon on June 14, behind closed doors, at the request of the UK. Afterward Inner City Press asked President of the Council for June Nebenzia what the UAE or Saudi Arabia had responded, to the UN or its envoy. Nebenzia said envoy Martin Griffiths works behind the scenes. But for whom? On the way in, UK Ambassador Karen Pierce said the meeting was closed so that the Council could hear about the military situation on the ground, from the UN. Inner City Press audibly asked, from who? But there was no answer, and the question was not included in the UK transcript, below. So in the June 14 UN noon briefing Inner City Press asked, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: At the stakeout, the UK Ambassador, Karen Pierce, said that… that the meeting… the consultation on Hodeidah is closed because the UN is going to be providing detailed information about the actual situation on the ground.  So, I wanted to know, can you say who… who from the UN is going to be providing that briefing?  And is it… can you tell us, you know, as much as you can publicly about what's happening there?

Deputy Spokesman:  The briefing, as… as I was going into this, the intention was for it to have the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ursula Mueller, brief the Security Council on the humanitarian conditions in Hodeidah.  At the top of the briefing, I did point out what our Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, is saying about the situation there and about the work that we're undertaking to help the estimated 600,000 civilians in the city.  There's a press release from her with more details.

Inner City Press:  I guess… my question is just, because Karen Pierce referred specifically to military information, she said the meeting had to be closed because they want to know the stat… the military status of the assault on Hodeidah.  And so I guess I'm wondering, does Ms. Mueller… who's… who's providing from the UN system… who's providing that information?  Is it through OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)?  Is there some…?

Deputy Spokesman:  I believe that… regarding political developments that Martin Griffiths will also be calling in to that briefing.

Inner City Press: Right, but she kept using the word “military”.  That's why… I'm just trying to figure out if there's some… is it the national staff that are in Hodeidah that would provide this information?

Deputy Spokesman:  There… obviously, the details that are going on in closed consultations are by definition details to which I'm not privy, so I wouldn't be able to express those." So the UN's knowledge is withheld from the UN spokespeople? On June 15, Haq repeatedly said, the UN is on holiday; state media like Egypt's Akhbar al Yom could come in to work but Inner City Press cannot. This is today's UN. 
From the UK's June 14 transcript, omitting Inner City Press' question, here's from Pierce's opening statement: "We wanted it closed because we'd like to have quite a lot of detail from the UN about what's actually happening on the ground. As there is a military operation ongoing, we think we'll get more of that detail if it's closed. I think that's perfectly reasonable. We hope also to hear something about Houthi dispositions because some of what we hear suggests there may have been mining of the harbour by the Houthis. So we're very interested in that. Beyond that, I'd like to echo what the Foreign Secretary said in London yesterday. Now the military operation is underway we look to all parties to act in accordance with international humanitarian law, protection of civilians. But I also want to recall that the coalition is acting in Yemen at the request of the legitimate Yemeni government and this request was made after the Houthis came into force in 2014. So I think that's an important point.... We've seen some very helpful statements from the UAE about their respect for international humanitarian law but also their willingness to work with the UN." On June 13 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, on Yemen who the UN thinks is calling the shots.  The various calls that were made to not begin the assault which began last night, many people are saying the UAE [United Arab Emirates] as opp… not as opposed to but along with Saudi Arabia, but that the UAE is very central to it.  And so, I guess I… and they made the threat.  The Foreign Minister of the UAE said, 48 hours and we're going in.  Did the Secretary-General or Mart… or… or Mr. Martin Griffiths… at what level have they reached out to the UAE to…?

Spokesman:  They've reached to… they've been speaking to various parties to those who have influence on the parties, but I'm not going to get into details about that.

Inner City Press:  And I'm asking in part because former UN envoy to Libya, Bernardino León, with some fanfare, went to be… is a… I don't know if he's the head of, but he's a major figure in the UAE Diplomatic Academy…?

Spokesman:  I recall.

Inner City Press: Yeah, exactly.  So, I guess I'm wondering… obviously, he's no longer with the UN, but I would assume he's someone that UN people know… this seems like a diplomatic gambit to make a threat…

Spokesman:  I'm not aware that Mr. León has had any contact with anyone at the UN.

Inner City Press: Okay.  And I guess, given… given that… that… the… the statement by UNICEF about the impact on children in… in Hodeidah — and this was a statement made before the assault began — and given the… the… the children and armed conflict mandate, would you say that this is inconsistent with having listed the Coalition, or does it cause a rethinking of listing the Coalition as one that takes children's safety seriously?

Spokesman:  The safety and the violence… the safety of children, the violence caused upon children, is one of great concern to the Secretary-General that has been going on in Yemen.  There is a process under which the report of… the Secretary-General's report on children and armed conflict is being produced.  It should be coming out soon-ish.  That report will look back at 2017, and you'll be free to make your own analysis." Inner City Press put the same question about reaching out to the UAE to Sweden's deputy ambassador Carl Skau, video here; he said the key is to support Griffiths (who is in Amman).
Military vehicles moved on Hodeida firing and bombs were dropped. Saudi TV said the "liberation of the port of Hodeida is a milestone in our struggle to regain Yemen from the militias.” Houthi-run Al Masirah said they hit a Saudi coalition ship near Hodeida with two land-to-sea missiles. "The targeted ship was carrying troops prepared for a landing on the coast of Hodeida." Guterres was silent. But at 7 am on June 13, ICRC put out a statement including from Robert Mardini, their regional director for the Near and Middle East that "lifelines to the outside world must be maintained, including the Hodeida port and the Sana'a airport. Real people, real families, will suffer if no food is getting in, and we are concerned that ongoing military operations continue to hamper the arrival of essential goods.... The ICRC – working in line with international humanitarian law - urges all parties to the conflict to respect civilian life by taking every possible measure to protect civilians, and to allow safe passage for those who want to escape the fighting. All persons captured in relation to the ongoing hostilities must be treated humanely, and the ICRC should be given access to detention facilities holding them."  The Council meets on June 13 at 10 am - about Central Africa including Cameroon. The General Assembly meets at 3 pm about Gaza. Watch this site. Earlier on June 12, the Norwegian Refugee Council reports that "fighting along Yemen’s west coast is closing-in on the port city of Hodeida. The city is tense, amid media reports of airstrikes inside the city, most notably in the Al-Doraihimi District and the Southern part of Hodeida governorate.  NRC has not evacuated our staff in Hodeida, but we continue to monitor the situation extremely closely." NRC Country Director in Yemen Mohamed Abdi said: "The UK government has warned aid agencies that it has received information from Coalition forces the city will be attacked in the coming days. Any attack will have catastrophic consequences for civilians – risking hundreds of thousands of lives. We call on all parties to the conflict to refrain from any further military activities in and around Hodeida city. We urge the US, UK and France – as those country that can influence the Coalition - to immediately issue a clear and unequivocal warning against an attack on Hodeida city or port." As to the UK, Inner City Press has also since 2017 been pursuing from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office information about Yemen under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In February 2018, after 170 days, FCO denied Inner City Press' request in full. Inner City Press immediately sought an internal review and FCO. Now that has resulted in the release of some superficial documents about Yemen, here, including for example "7. The UN Special Envoy has said the next round of peace talks are not likely to start before the end of March. [REDACTED] The next phase of preparations needs to focus on reinforcing efforts of the Military De-escalation and
Coordination Committee. Meanwhile, HMG is continuing to work closely with the UN, US and World Bank on the socio-economic confidence building measures.
8. Military activity continues with isolated clashes throughout the country. [REDACTED] Since December there has been significant military movement around Sana’a [REDACTED] there are reports of Houthi/Saleh forces moving from Taiz to reinforce positions in Sana’a. [REDACTED] Houthi/Saleh forces
continue to target Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles with accuracy." The rest is, for example,
about interest in women in the failing peace process, and the denial of all other records.
The "internal review" denial letter states, "The disclosure of information detailing our relationship with the Yemen and Cameroon governments could potentially damage the bilateral relationship between the UK and Yemen and Cameroon. This would reduce the UK government's ability to protect and promote UK interests through its relations with Yemen and Cameroon which would not be in the public interest. For these reasons we consider that, the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing it." Yes, the UK promotes its interests. We will be pursuing this - watch this site. On June 11, even as Doctors Without Borders MSF said that "this morning's attack on an MSF cholera treatment center by the Saudi and Emirati-led coalition (SELC) shows complete disrespect for medical facilities and patients," Guterres took three pre-picked questions and claimed there is a "lull" in fight in Yemen. Do they not have the Internet on his 38th floor of the UN? Or is this the effect of The Check, like some say of the Golden Statue? Inner City Press, not called on and with the noon briefing canceled by Dujarric, audibly asked Guterres about the bombing of the MSF clinic. Periscope video here. Nothing. On Sunday June 10 the UN Security Council has scheduled a closed door meeting on Yemen for June 11 at 11 am. Inner City Press asked the Presidency of the Council for June who requested it and who will do the briefing. The response was that both the UN Department of Political Affairs and OCHA will brief and that the UK requested it. On the UK Mission's twitter feed, nothing. And the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office denied in full Inner City Press's Freedom of Information Act request about Yemen. Two hours before the UNSC briefing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued this statement: "The United States is closely following developments in Hudaydah, Yemen.  I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.  We expect all parties to honor their commitments to work with the UN Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen on this issue, support a political process to resolve this conflict, ensure humanitarian access to the Yemeni people, and map a stable political future for Yemen." We'll have more on this. On June 7, Inner City Press asked Dujarric again, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: in terms of Yemen, just in terms of Martin Griffiths and his plan, it seems like the… the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has called on the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the… a bomb that fell right next to its facility in Sana’a on 5 June.  And I'm just wondering, one, is Mr. Griffiths or whoever here in the Secretariat is looking at this, are they satisfied with the way in which the Saudi-led coalition has investigated and acted on its bombs?  And what's the status of the children and armed conflict report, which I know last year they were upgraded in terms of  their attempts to minimize civilian casualties.  And it looks like NRC is saying these steps are not having any impact.

Spokesman:  Well, the report should be out soon.  The report will be looking at the year of 2017.  Right?  But it will be sent to the Council probably not… next couple weeks, not too long from now.  We have been continuously concerned with the civilian death toll, the attacks on civilians, the attack on civilian infrastructure.  And we have repeatedly called on the coalition and other parties to fully investigate those incidents."
Back on June 1 Inner City Press asked UN Security Council President for June Vassily Nebenzia, who said that seizing Hodeida would not accomplish much and that he hoped UN envoy Martin Griffiths would be in Sana'a soon to speak with the Houthis. On June 2 Martin Griffiths landed, perhaps as the velvet glove of the Saudi and UAE military offensive. Shouldn't the UN be providing more transparency, rather than a Secretary General who refuses to answer even budget questions and still restricts the Press? 
On June 5, Inner City Press asked Jonathan Allen the deputy ambassador of the UK, penholder on Yemen, about requests to help seize Hodeida. UN video here. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: As the penholder on Yemen, what do you make of these requests to the US to help with taking over the port of Hodeida. What’s the status of your view of what’s happening on the ground? Amb Allen: "I’ve seen those reports as well. We support everything Martin Griffiths is trying to do to bring about a political solution in Yemen. That’s vital. He will be talking to the parties and he’ll be bringing forward proposals in due course so we wait to see what he has to say about that." And what happens until then? Is Griffiths essentially trying to talk the Houthis into giving up Hodeida? On May 29 in response to Inner City Press' question, Dujarric said, "We are extremely concerned about the situation around Hodeida [and have] already started to take precautionary measures in terms of ramping up assistance and redefining contingency plans in case there is further escalation.Increased fighting would unleash even more internally displaced people." (Agence France Presse AFP wrote it up as if the UN had said it unilateral, a proactive statement - but it was a response to the Press. If the UN was so concerned, why didn't it say anything until asked?)
Inner City Press on May 7 asked the Deputy UN Ambassador of the UK, penholder on Yemen and arms seller to Saudi Arabia, a Yemen question on which they were, they said, to revert, see Periscope video here and below. But in three days, there had been no response from the UN Mission of the UK, which this year denied in full Inner City Press' request about Yemen and Cameroon under the UK Freedom of Information Act. So on May 10 Inner City Press asked again, video here. And soon this comment, from a Spokesperson for the UK Mission: “The UK is closely following the situation on the Yemeni island of Socotra. We continue to engage all parties to reinforce Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the need for de-escalation. The Yemeni people have already suffered immeasurably as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Yemen cannot afford further divisions. We call on all parties to the conflict to support the UN-led political process." A day earlier on May 9, the US State Department issued this: "The United States is closely following the situation on the Yemeni island of Socotra and engaging with all parties to reinforce Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the need for de-escalation and dialogue.  Political dialogue is necessary for the Republic of Yemen Government to rightfully ensure the safety and security of its residents on Socotra and throughout the rest of the country.  The Socotra archipelago has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.  The Yemeni people, along with their unique cultural and natural heritage, have already suffered immeasurably as a result of the ongoing conflict in Yemen.  Yemen cannot afford further divisions.  The United States calls on all parties to the conflict to focus on and embrace the UN-led political process, with the unified aim of a safe, secure, and prosperous Yemen." At to the UN, the occasion for the check giving was Guterres accepting a $930 million check for the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan. But that's not the only buying going on. Former UN Yemen envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed reportedly went to the United Arab Emirates seeking a paid job like Bernardino Leon got there, negotiated while still with the UN. The UAE is also said to be looking for a place or landing for UN counter-terrorism official Jahangir Khan. Would this be ethical? Inner City Press asked that on April 25, see below - and on May 3 asked about the UAE's deployment on Socotra Island. UN transcript here and below. And while the UN and envoy Martin Griffiths have had nothing to say, now even Hadi is complaining. “The government is considering sending a letter to the United Nations demanding the dismissal of the Emiratis from the Yemeni intervention,” a Hadi official said, adding that "the UAE has occupied the airport and seaport of Socotra island, despite the Yemeni government's presence there. What the UAE is doing in Socotra is an act of aggression." And the UN and its envoy remain silent. On May 7 Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador Allen about it and he said he was not aware, his spokesman would revert. Here's what Inner City Press asked the UN on May 3: Inner City Press: on Yemen, and it's a specific question, the UAE (United Nations Arab Emirates) has deployed some 100 soldiers to Socotra Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  And the residents there — it's part of Yemen.  It's not part of the UAE — have been protesting it.  And I'm wondering whether it's something that Mr. Martin Griffiths is aware of and whether he thinks it's a… complies with… even with international law or is a useful step to have the UAE making a military deployment on Yemen Socotra Island.

Deputy Spokesman:  "We haven't made any comment on this.  I'll see whether there's any particular position that Mr. Griffiths is taking.  But his work, as you know, is focused primarily on making sure that the parties to the Yemen peace process get back to the table." Six hours later, nothing from Haq or Griffiths. On April 25 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: There are published reports that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is seeking to create an offer position to Mr. Jehangir Khan, a current UN official, in the same way that Bernardino León moved from being the UN envoy in Libya to working for the diplomatic one.  It's said that they're seeking a counter-terrorism post for him.  It's also said that Mr. Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed recently visited the UAE and sought a UAE-funded position.  I don't know… can you distinguish… one, would it be against UN rules for a current UN official to be seeking a job…

Spokesman:  First of all, on Mr. Jehangir Kahn, as far as I understand, those reports are false.  Second…

Inner City Press:  Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Spokesman:  …On Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, he no longer works with the United Nations, so I have no way to verify what his whereabouts are.  And I know that he discharged his role as Special Envoy with complete impartiality and only keeping the interests of the United Nations at the centre of his work.

Inner City Press:  Are there any kind of what's called anti-revolving-door provisions?  Meaning, would the Secretary-General view it as normal and fine if a recent UN official went to work, you could say it's hypothetical, but since it happened in the case Bernardino León, what are the current rules and best practices for UN officials when they leave a UN post?

Spokesman:  I think everyone expects people to use their best judgment.  Evelyn?"

 We'll have more on this.


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