By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, February 11 – Antonio Guterres was chosen as the UN's new Secretary General in a closed-door process that was paradoxically praised as transparent. Forty two days into his tenure, he is on a 12-day trip to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, accompanied and led by his predecessor's (and Hillary Clinton's) Gulf political adviser Jeffrey Feltman. His holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric is spinning UN-friendly scribes with quotes about how Guterres was ostensibly misled by US Ambassador Nikki Haley. This is not propitious.
Who is traveling with Guterres? Unlike many countries, it has not been announced or disclosed. But Inner City Press, which Dujarric and the UN's Cristina Gallach evicted from the UN (and restrict it still) understands from sources it includes not only Dujarric and Feltman but also Feltman's "plant" Katrin Hett. When Inner City Press asked about her position, Dujarric called the question "despicable." Who is running this show?
When Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, in his first meeting with Guterres in the last nine days, effusively greeted Feltman, it should have set off alarms. But it didn't. What was the role of the UAE, along with Feltman, in telling Guterres to appoint Salam Fayyad to the Libya envoy post previously occupied by Bernardino Leon, bought by the UAE? Questions, questions.
It is reminiscent of one of Ban Ki-moon's trips to Egypt, when Mubarak asked him why there were no Arabs in the UN delegation. No, Ban said, we have an Egyptian - as a security guard. This story long circulated among the Arab heads of state the inept Ban met with. We want Guterres to be different - for the good of the UN. Watch this site.