Thursday, 14 October 2010

UN Refuses to Answer Mugabe Ambassador Question, Stonewalls on Sudan

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 14 -- Three days ago, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky was asked if the UN could confirm, and comment on, the Sudanese government's interrogation and intimidation of internally displaced people who spoke with members the UN Security Council during their trip to Darfur. Nesirky said, “let's find out” -- but three days later, nothing.

The same for another question asked by Inner City Press at the October 12 noon briefing, about the Sudanese government's beating and arrest of pro secession demonstrators. Nesirky said “I’ll see what we can get you on that” -- but two days later, nothing.

At 8 am on October 14, along with reiterating these and other outstanding questions, Inner City Press posed to Nesirky and his deputy Farhan Haq a few simple, factual questions, asking that they be responded to by the conclusion of Nesirky's October 14 noon briefing.

But five hours later, none of the question have been answered.One was referred to the Secretariat by the UN Mission in Sudan; another concerned public calls on Ban Ki-moon to not accredit the Ambassador sent by Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. Inner City Press asked:

On Zimbabwe, what is the Secretariat's response to the contention that the Ambassador sent by Robert Mugabe should not be accredited, as his appointment did not comply with the process agreed to with the involvement of the UN and Haile Menkerios? Is Mr. Ban going to meet with and, separately, accredit the person Mugabe has sent?”

Nesirky was also asked this question on October 13.

Mr. Ban and Nesirky, answers to simple questions not shown

Is it too much to expect for an office the size of his to be able to provide a response to, or at least acknowledge receipt of, a simple factual question re-posed four hours before his noon briefing? Apparently for now it is. There were also three totally unresponsivee to questions on a topic that Nesirky and Haq - and their boss? -- show most resistance to answering. Watch this site.

Footnote: On October 8 in its “Week End,” Nesirky's office said that there will be no October 15 noon briefing, just as another Friday noon briefing was canceled despite other spokesperson's office staffers being there. Nesirky has said that such cancelations are okay because questions can be asked by email. But then he and his office neglect to answer simple factual questions submitted by email four and more hours before noon. So which is it?

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