Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Yemen, While UN Envoy IOCA Is Presented As Soldiering On, He's Trying To Keep Job, Like Gallach

By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow Up / Exclusive

UNITED NATIONS,  November 27 -- While in Yemen the Houthis and ex-President Saleh's GNC both announced agreement to a ceasefire, in Riyahd exiled president Hadi indicated he did not agree. The UN on November 16 admitted to Inner City Press that Hadi did not even meet with UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
Now Al Arabiya without mentioning the envoy's exclusion and failures presents him as soldiering along as more and more Yemeni are killed: “Ould Cheikh voiced the importance of preparing for a new round of talks, adding that he will head on Sunday to Riyadh... He also said he’s willing to visit Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Aden if it’s required to do so.”
  But Hadi refused to meet with Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. That is not mentioned - nor this, an Inner City Press exclusive:
  While John Kerry was desparately trying to work out a deal to defend his and President Obama's “legacies,” where was Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed? Inner City Press' sources, outraged, say that the envoy was on his way to meet with incoming UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres with his focus on keeping his position in the next administration. “This is a new low,” one of them tells Inner City Press.
    This is a trend, failed Ban Ki-moon officials trying to keep their positions under Guterres. The same Al Arabiya provided this “platform” to Ban's head of Communication and censorship, Cristina Gallach, video here at Minute 10.  
Gallach pontificates to this Gulf media to which she gives a large office in the UN about how “difficult” it will be under Trump, and blaming not only “fake news” but also “social media” for the “difficult” and “very controversial” roles they played in the US election. This is an attempt by Gallach -- surrounded by corruption and mismanagement scandals -- to keep her UN position under incoming Secretary General Guterres.
 Tellingly, while outgoing Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople have told Inner City Press it is the practice for USGs like Gallach to tender their resignations at the end of their appointer's term, Gallach says only that she has given a “report” to Guterres and taken instruction on how he'd like the job down. Pro-tip to Guterres: end UN censorship, and Gallach's tenure. Busca una otra.
On November 21 with the brief "cessation" of hostilities not only fragile but off, by most accounts, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Matthew Rycroft of the UK, UN Security Council penholder on Yemen, about the ceasefire. Video here; from the UK transcript: 
Inner City Press: The Yemen ceasefire, what’s the status?

Amb Rycroft: The status of the Yemen ceasefire is that it is fragile, at best, and it needs to be made sustainable and permanent, and the UK will continue to support efforts of others to that end, including through the use - if necessary - of our draft Security Council resolution. 
  Inner City Press first published the UK draft resolution, as credited by Associated Press, via SalonDaily Mail (UK)Fox News
Later on November 21, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: 
Inner City Press: What about the status of this Yemen cessation of hostilities or ceasefire that was announced by… by the Envoy?  Seems like the Saudi side has said that they will not… didn't really necessarily comply in 48 hours.  Maybe you have information about that, but will not be carrying it forward after 48 hours.  Is there a similar statement by the Envoy?

Spokesman:  I mean, what's, from our point of view, the 48 hour Cessation of Hostilities has expired without a renewal.  Both sides to the conflict reported violations, including airstrikes and ground clashes, during the Cessation of Hostilities.  The armed conflict, unfortunately, has clearly resumed. The main obstacle to the provision of humanitarian assistance in Yemen are bureaucratic impediments imposed by all sides and insufficient funding, not the ongoing hostilities. Despite the challenges, a growing humanitarian effort is underway.  Humanitarian workers are responding to the humanitarian needs of Yemenis, with about 4.6 million people receiving aid last month, wherever they are.

ICP Question:  In terms of the political process, if it was Secretary Kerry that spoke with the Houthis last time and the Envoy didn't speak to, to President Hadi, where's the UN… I mean, that was confirmed from right where you're standing.  And many people said it's because Hadi refused to meet with him, but in any case, he didn't meet with him. Where does it stand in terms of the UN's role in trying to… to get the sides talking…?

Spokesman:  The UN continues its effort to get all sides talking.  Obviously, there is always a role in these, in these mediation efforts for countries that may not be directly involved but have influence on one side or another to help us and use that influence in a constructive way.  And it's something we welcome, and it doesn't lessen in any way the role of the UN as a Special Envoy in trying to get the parties to the table.

ICP Question:  And just one last thing on… I guess relatedly, since Jan Eliasson said that the UN's working closely with Saudi Arabia on, I guess, trying to get President Hadi, over whom they have some influence, back to the table, can you… it came up last week, and it wasn't really clear.  Is there any communications… is there, is there any information being requested by the UN from Saudi Arabia in terms of revisiting or checking compliance with the Children and Armed Conflict mandate or is that…?

Spokesman:  When I have an update on that process, I will share it with you.
 On November 18, Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon's deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, video hereUN transcript here: 
Inner City Press:  if the Secretariat needs Saudi Arabia or is working closely with Saudi Arabia to try to get these talks back on track, can you see why, what is the relation, would putting them on the list be viewed as helpful in that way or is this one of the reasons that a decision I've heard has been made to leave it until the next report comes out in March?  Can you provide a specific… what is the process to consider putting Saudi Arabia for the death of those children back on the list?

Deputy Spokesman:  That depends upon the information that is accumulated by the Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict and her Office.  The work of that Office is separate and apart from the work of the Special Envoy dealing with Yemen so they go about that without having to consider how the one affect the other.

ICP Question:  When is the last time Saudi Arabia provided new information about the deaths that led to them being listed on the list?

Deputy Spokesman:  We haven't received new information recently, but we continue to be in dialogue with them and they have asked for that dialogue and our door is open. 
  On November 17, Inner City Press asked UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft if this was his understanding of Hadi's position. Tweeted video here. 
From the UK's transcript: 
Inner City Press:  Any idea if President Hadi is for the ceasefire or not for the ceasefire, in your understanding?

Amb Rycroft: So last I heard, President Hadi was not for the ceasefire brokered by Secretary Kerry, who was in the region recently. We commend his efforts, his energy, his continued momentum throughout his mandate, including on this important issue. I think he’s made a huge amount of progress by getting that ceasefire agreed, but I think not by President Hadi and indeed not by the government of Yemen, as things currently stand.

Inner City Press: Does President Hadi not want to meet with the UN Envoy? Because some people had said that he went to Riyadh and was unable to meet with Hadi?

Amb Rycroft: I hadn’t heard of that. I was aware that President Hadi had taken some persuasion even to receive the roadmap, never mind to engage constructively on it. But we call on him, and indeed all of the parties in Yemen, to engage constructively on the roadmap, which is a good, final offer from the Special Envoy of the UN, which I think has the full backing of the Security Council. I certainly hope so. And our draft resolution, which sets forth that support by the Security Council for the Special Envoy and his roadmap, as well as for other things like the Cessation of Hostilities and the humanitarian access that continues to be in play, and we will keep that out there as a way of moving in the right direction on Yemen towards a political agreement. 
  The Saudi led coalition bombed the funeral of the father of Yemen interior minister Jalal al-Roweishan in Sana'a on October 8, the same day the UN Security Council met about airstrikes in Syria. 
Inner City Press asked Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah Yahya A. Al-Mouallimi to confirm it was an Saudi strike and explain it. He said, "I am not aware of it." Vine video here.

Inner City Press asked him more questions on November 3, video here. He said investigations are proceeding, and money being offered.