By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, January 15 -- Amid reports on Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias at the Cyprus talks in Geneva with Antonio Guterres, it's worth revisiting the more staged meeting of the two back on January 6 (Inner City Press photos here, Periscope here.)
Guterres joked that Kotzias' gifts, a book, music CDs and a box, were too heavy.
(Earlier in the day Guterres has been led around to take selfies with the correspondents the UN has not, like Inner City Press, evicted from their offices for covering UN corruption, like the Ng Lap Seng / John Ashe bribery case. Video here, story here.)
The Greek meeting followed one on January 5 with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu. Photo here; video here.
Present at both meetings was UN's Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide, and Ban's Under Secretaries General Feltman, Ladsous and O'Brien. The "P3 men," some call them. Will they be switched not only for gender, but nation?
Guterres' new chief of staff Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti was there; his Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed won't formally begin until next month. Will that trigger the end of Ban Ki-moon's era of censoring and restricting the Press?
Has Guterres been informed and digested that one of the most active media at the UN, Inner City Press which at the January 5 noon briefing asked about Myanmar, the Central African Republic and Gambia, was thrown out of its office in 2016 and is still being restricted and confined to minders in 2017 for merely trying to cover a meeting, relevant to the Ng Lap Seng UN bribery case, in the UN Press Briefing Room?
On January 3 when Guterres formally took the reigns at the United Nations on Tuesday, he said of the UN, “We have to earn the right to do the right thing.” Vine here.
He might have added, “re-earn” the right, because in recent years the UN has been bleeding credibility, from shirking for six years its responsibility for bringing cholera to Haiti to letting peacekeepers who have raped in the Central African Republic and elsewhere enjoy immunity, and even as in the base of the Burundian contingent in CAR, to rotated 800 more troops in to get paid.
And so any implementation of Guterres' message of hope would have to include replacing the Ban Ki-moon era officials who brought the UN into disrepute. 45-second tweeted video here.
UN Peacekeeping's Herve Ladsous, who said that his troops would rape less frequently if they had been R&R or “rest and recreation,” is slated to leave in March. Longer YouTube here.
But a real litmus test will be replacing the head of Ban's Department of Public Information Cristina Gallach, who bought the UN down first by neglecting to do any due diligence as now-indicted Macau businessman Ng Lap Seng bought events in the UN including its slavery memorial (audit here, Paragraphs 37-40 and 20b) then by ousting, evicting and still restricting the investigative Press which asked her about it.
There's also the Wonder Woman as UN ambassador fiasco, and spending taxpayers' funds on a DPI trainer who, among other things, called Detroit, Michigan a “third rate city” in “flyover country.” Four strikes and you're out. Busca una otra.