Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Western Sahara, UN Triple Stonewalls on Letter on Oct 7 Vote, Only 25 Back

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up to Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS, October 3 -- The UN of Ban Ki-moon, which gave in to Morocco's demand to pull out 83 members of its MINURSO mission in Western Sahara and has yet to get most of the returned, is now proposing to given in further, sources exclusively told Inner City Press on September 8.

On September 22, when Inner City Press asked Morocco's foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar about MINURSO it was told it is already “fully functional."

But when Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq how many of the 83 expelled staff are back, the answer was only 25. UN transcript below.

On September 28, Inner City Press asked the UN's lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Christopher Ross will travel tot he region, if Ban will meeting on the topic in the region before the climate change meeting in Morocco, and what's the plan to get the peacekeepers back. He referred vaguely to an "upward" direction.

The POLISARIO Front has written to Ban to complain that Morocco intends to include Western Sahara in its legislative elections on October 7. Inner City Press tweeted the letter, from the 38th floor, here. Ban is asked to "intervene immediately." But on September 28 Ban gave a speech apparently not listed on his schedule, on at October 7 he will be traveling.

When Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Dujarric about the letter on September 29, Dujarric said he hadn't seen it but "could" follow up - but didn't, by the end of the day. Vine video.

So Inner City Press had to ask again, on October 3 -- still nothing on the letter, but there are still only 25 of the 83 returned. From the October 3 transcript: 

Inner City Press:  I asked last week a couple of times about this letter that was distributed in the Fourth Committee from the… from the Polisario Front to the Secretary-General, dated 26 September, and I just wanted… twice… I guess Stéphane [Dujarric] said he hadn't seen it, but I just want to make sure, if it's being given out in the Committee, did it, in fact, reach the Secretariat about this… upcoming legislative elections on 7 October?  And also, I'd asked him and may have asked you before, just to be… maybe you'd said 25 is the number.  Is it still the number of only 25 of the 83 have been returned?

Deputy Spokesman:  Yeah, that's where we stand.  We continue to discuss, like I said, different ways of making sure that the functions of the mission are restored, but as I pointed out last week, we're not at full functionality.

Question:  Sure, and what about this letter?  Is there some problem with… was it not received?  Because I asked him twice.  It was handed out.  It says… it asks the Secretary-General to get involved in the inclusion of Western Sahara in the Moroccan legislative elections on 7 October.  So since we're now 3 October, I'm just wondering, not if he'll do it, but at least, has he gotten the letter, or will he do something?

Deputy Spokesman:  I'll check whether we have it and what sort of response there is. 

  Seven hours later -- nothing.