Monday, March 7, 2016

On Yemen, ICP Asks Saudi PR of Cluster Bombs, Why Seized Ship, Open Q and A

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 4 -- The UN Secretariat's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below. 
 In the UN Security Council on the Yemen sanctions resolution adopted on February 24, language was added to try to discourage the Panel of Experts from looking into the act of the Saudi-led Coalition. Concessions were made, of a kind not made for or about other countries under sanctions.
  (Inner City Press had to follow the process from outside the UN, literally, the park on 43rd Street across First Avenue, because only days after Inner City Press asked why the UN was so quiet about false claims of Iranian military equipment in a UN WFP aid ship, Inner City Press was summarily thrown out of the UN for seeking three weeks earlier to cover an event in the UN Press Briefing Room, and Banned, without due process. Petition here.)
  On March 4 in the same UN Press Briefing Room, Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdallah Y.Al-Mouallimi held an unscheduled press conference to announce that OCHA, whose Yemen pick up the pieces campaign Saudi Arabia largely funds, does not think there's a need for a humanitarian access resolution. If true, some will say that OCHA has been bought.
 Inner City Press asked al-Mouallimi why his Yemeni counterpart had claimed to Inner City Press, on the record, that the WFP ship the Saudis seized contained "Iranian military equipment"? 
Al-Mouallimi said, among other things, the ship DID come from Iran... and the equipment wasn't on the manifest and was "hidden." Video here.
Inner City Press asked him about cluster bomb use; he denied it and many media printed that quote, without more. Inner City Press asked him, if opposed to the UN Panel of Experts looking into the impacts of the Saudi Coalition, who should do it? This was not answered, except to again emphasize how tied the PoE is to the underlying, one-sided resolution.
 At the end, Inner City Press asked Mouallimi to encourage the Yemen / Hadi delegation to hold its press session in this same UN Press Briefing Room, and not for Gulf and Western UNCA scribes only, a spoonfed breakfast,  see below. Al-Mouallimi said he would convey the request. We'll see.
 On March 1, back in on a reduced access pass, Inner City Press asked UN OCHA official John Ging about taking "aid" money from Saudi Arabia while it blasts away at Yemen. Video here.
 Ging said these two are "ring fenced," and that the UN doesn't allow Saudi Arabia to put conditions on aid or where it is delivered.

  Inner City Press asked, what about the Saudi threat that aid workers should leave Houthi-controlled areas? Ging said the UN had pushed back.
But quietly, as was the case with the Saudi diversion of the WFP ship. Does money talk?  Apparently yes.