By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, September 25 -- When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Sudan on Tuesday evening, it was not with President Omar al Bashir, whose been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide. But a member of Ban's team, UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, had met with Bashir only in July.
Representing Sudan on Tuesday night was foreign minister Ali Karti. Beyond Ladsous, Ban had with him his chief of staff Susana Malcorra, Department of Field Support chief Ameerah Haq, his Special Adviser on Africa, his deputy chief of of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, his adviser on sexual violence and conflict, and Haile Menkerios.
It was a big UN team -- though not as big as the UN team that, twenty minutes earlier, met with Israel's minister for international affairs. For example, the Department of Public Information was at the Israel meeting, but not Sudan.
But where was Bashir? He has complained that the US has not come through with a visa. Some take Ban meeting with foreign minister Karti as signifying that Bashir is not coming, on the theory that a country -- at least if not one of the Security Council's Permanent Five members, with whom Ban is lunching on Wednesday -- could not get more than one meeting with Ban.
But would Bashir even ask to meet with Ban? And if he did, would Ban (as Ladsous did) hold the meeting?
It is still possible, according to UN documents, that we will find out. The September 25 UN Journal, in the section called "Forthcoming Meetings," has the General Assembly speakers' list for September 26, including as the second speaker in the afternoon
"2. Address by His Excellency Omer Hassan A. Al-bashir, President of the Republic of the Sudan."
That's in a UN document -- like Ban's chemical weapons report on Syria, it HAS to be true, right? Even "overwhelming." Watch this site.