Sunday, March 28, 2010

At UN, Ban Slammed for Sharing on Iran, Silent on Libya Exclusion, DPRK

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 27 -- In a closed door meeting with the Organization of the Islamic Conference on March 25, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was harshly criticized for having referred to Iran's nuclear program in his presentation the previous day at the Security Council's open meeting on the "Middle East," Inner City Press has learned.

Sources who were in the meeting say that Ban was particularly taken to task for saying he "shared" concerns about Iran, rather than merely "taking note" of them. As explained later by an OIC participant, Ban is free to tell the Israeli officials he meets with, such as Ehud Barak, that he shares their concern. "But to do it publicly?"

UN's Ban and Neyanyahu, OIC protest to shared concern about Iran not shown

Also in the OIC meeting, participants pointedly commiserated with Ban that he had not received a proper welcome at the airport in Israel. The next day Ban and his team flew off to Sirte, Libya, for the Summit of the League of Arab States. Removed from the team at Libya's demand was a UN Security officer, one of Ban's bodyguard who is from Lebanon and a Shi'ite: Mohammed Abdul-Hussein.

The basis of the visa denial was Libya's dispute about the Vanished Imam. Inner City Press wrote this story Thursday night, and at Friday's UN noon briefing Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said that "if" the visa denial happened, Ban would certainly register a complaint. But that would be after the exclusion was accepted, after the trip to Sirte. Ban can't let principle get in the way of being present, one UN insider said bitterly, of Ban trying desperately to be relevant.

In this view, the UN is largely extraneous to the Middle East problem, like other major global problems, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Iran and North Korea. The UN tries for its own reasons to insert itself, as the humanitarian arm of NATO or the U.S., using using its "comparative advantage" such as it is on the Korean peninsula.

But while rushing to find out what happened to the sunken South Korean ship, Ban's spokesman had not direct comment on North Korea's -- "the DPRK," he quickly corrected -- threats to use nuclear weapons on the U.S. and South Korea. Irrelevant?

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