Sunday, June 4, 2017

On Paris Accord, French Delattre Trashes Trump to Select Media, No Answer on Cameroon, Yemen, WIPO

By Matthew Russell Lee, Series
UNITED NATIONS, June 2 – After US President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden announced withdrawal from the Paris Accord on climate change, at the UN they opened up the Press Briefing Room. Secretary General Antonio Guterres was, again, out of town. But on June 2, in an UNdisclosed location, France's Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre held forth to select scribes that "America is seen as being on the wrong side of history." Earlier on June 2, Delattre had declined to answer Inner City Press' on the record question to him at the UN Security Council stakeout about Guterres freezing any new listings on the UN's Children and Armed Conflict list of shame. Was THAT on the right side of history? Was partying with Cameroon's Francophone representative of 34-year president Paul Biya, who cut off the Internet on millions in his country? (Delattre told Inner City Press he was UNaware of that). Likewise, Delattre's spokesman refused to answer Inner City Press' formal question for France's position on the UN World Intellectual Property Organization working on a cyanide patent for North Korea. The wrong side of history, to friendly scribes, in an undisclosed location? Sounds like... another country. On June 1 first they said Guterres holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric would read out a statement and take no questions. (Inner City Press tweeted it.) Then Dujarric consented to take one or two questions. Inner City Press asked for his or Guterres' response to Trump quoting a UN official that $100 billion is "peanuts," and another that the real number will be four times that. Dujarric declined to answer, referring Inner City Press to the Green Climate Fund. Now on June 2, Dujarric's office has circulated this, from Guterres in St Petersburg, Russia: "[Climate change] is undeniable. And it is one of the biggest threats to our present world and to the future of our planet. On the other hand, climate action is unstoppable. I urge all the governments around the world to stay the course, to remain committed to the implementation of the Paris Agreement to the benefit of all of us.  And in relation to US society, I am deeply  convinced that states, cities, the business community,  the civil society, will also remain engaged, will bet on the green economy, because the green economy is the good economy, it is the economy of the future.  Because this is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do, and those that will be betting on the implementation of the Paris Agreement, on the green economy, will be the ones that have a leading role in the economy of the 21st century." Back on June 1, US Ambassador Nikki Haley put out this statement: "As a Governor, I always worked to balance economic growth and environmental protection.  We can, and we must do both.  President Trump acted in America’s best interest, moving away from a flawed agreement that placed too heavy a burden on American jobs, and opening the door to a new agreement that reaches the right balance.  America will remain a leader in environmental protection.  But we will not jeopardize our economy in order to please other counties that don’t come anywhere near our environmental standards." We'll have more on this. On May 30 Guterres, who rarely answers questions inside the UN, went downtown to NYU and had a Q&A session. The NYU moderator said to keep them limited to climate change, but the final student question brought up Trump. "We are engaging with the US administration," Guterres said. But how? As Inner City Press reported, Guterres met with 11 Democratic Party Congress members, versus a lone Republican, Lindsey Graham. Asked about Ghana and its debut, Guterres' long answer did not mention the IMF program that Inner City Press last Thursday askedthe IMF about. In the final round, Guterres took a question from Citigroup, and quickly offered them praise. Predatory lending financial meltdown? Never heard of it, apparently. Other UN officials, including those responsible for press restrictions and censorship, amplified this praise of Citibank. This is today's UN. On May 31, Inner City Press asked Dujarric: Inner City Press: in the Q&A, there was a kind of a short question by a guy… a person from Citigroup and [António] Guterres… the Secretary-General said, that's great.  I wasn't clear… I want to be… like, was he praising the… just the idea that corporations should somehow become part of the… of the… of… of the Paris accord?  What… are you… apparently, you were there.  It seems like…

Spokesman:  I was there in person.

Question:  Okay, so what was he praising…?

Spokesman:  I think what he was referring to was the fact that the business community is taking… and the example that this gentleman gave and, you know, he had no more detail than what the gentleman told him, that the private sector is taking an active part in joining the fight to combat and to mitigate the impact of climate change and that the business sector, just like civil society, just like individuals, just like Governments, all have a role to play.  This is not something that is to be left to States alone if we're going to succeed.  That's exactly what he was doing.  He wasn't giving a seal of approval to whatever specific programme was mentioned. This gentleman said, we're doing this, and the SG says, “That's great.”  We think the business… we know the business sector should be involved.

  Then Dujarric left unanswered, for more than a day, another Inner City Press question about the UN serving (exploitative) business. On Saturday Guterres flew to Taormina, Italy to give a G7 speech about Africa, and in it he said "disseminate new technologies." But during Cameroon's 94-day cut off of the Internet this year, Guterres said nothing. Sample (rare) stakeout here. And his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, after again promising Inner City Press an answer at noon on May 30, provided none by 5 o'clock. On April 19 when Guterres did a question and answer stakeout with the African Union, Inner City Press three times asked about the Internet cut off, while getting cut off by Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric. The questions were entirely audible, but Guterres did not answer at all. Video here. On May 23, his Deputy Secretary General and chief of staff were both at Cameroun's Francophone "National" Day, as Paul and Chantal Biya were praised along with song's about (French) champagne. Video here. This is today's UN. On May Inner City Press asked Guterres directly, outside the UN Security Council, why he hasn't released his budget speech, or reform plans, the day after his spokesman Dujarric refused to provide the speech to Inner City Press when it asked. Guterres paused then said it should be public, seeming to believe that Dujarric had, in fact, released it. Video here. But he had not and has not. And on May 26 Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq again refused, video here, saying that the UN responds to member states (not We the Peoples). It was Dujarric who evicted Inner City Press, and has kept it restricted in its movements in the UN for the 144 days so far of Guterres' tenure. On May 25, Inner City Press asked Dujarric again, video here