Political Analysis

On Yemen, After UAE Warship Sunk, US Statement, Ban’s Sell-Out Leon Silent

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to University of Calgary students on International Youth Day in Calgary, Alberta, Aug. 12, 2016.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks to University of Calgary students on International Youth Day in Calgary, Alberta, Aug. 12, 2016.
Written by NY Staff

The UN Secretariat of Ban Ki-moon’s bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below. And see this Vine, & this.

Now after a UAE warship has been hit – and sunk – off the Yemeni coast near Mocha, the US has issued this: “The United States strongly condemns the Houthi forces’ unprovoked attack against a UAE vessel operating near the Bab al-Mandeb yesterday.

We take these threats seriously. The United States remains committed to upholding freedom of navigation through the Bab al-Mandeb. We call on the Houthi-Saleh groups to immediately cease attacks against all vessels. These provocative actions risk exacerbating the current conflict and narrow the prospects for a peaceful settlement.

Resolution to the conflict in Yemen must focus on a political solution and we urge the Houthi-Saleh groups to demonstrate their commitment to a peaceful solution by taking steps to deescalate by adhering to a cessation of hostilities without preconditions and we continue to call on all parties to return to the negotiations being facilitated by the United Nations.”

The US should say more about the vessel – and the blockade. And what of its statements, or non-statements, after Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes?

While awaiting more, we note that Bernardino Leon while working ostensibly for the UN on Libya negotiated a job with a UAE diplomatic institute. That was just another piece of UN for sale under Ban Ki-moon. But now it may be time for Bernardino Leon to work for that money. Watch this site.

On September 23, Inner City Press went up to document Ban Ki-moon’s meeting with Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The latter walked slowly in to the room for the ceremonial handshake and book signing. Ban Ki-moon appeared to position Hadi (more than one reader called Hadi puppet). Hadi in turn in term spread out his hands. Photos here and here. Beyond the Vine video here.

Amid airstrikes on Yemen, Saudi Arabia this week at the UN has sponsored a garish multimedia display, workshops and culminating event with Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General who let the Saudi-led Coalition off the Children and Armed Conflict annex.

In the UN’s 1B basement by the Vienna Cafe, a long TV screen has shown footage of palm trees and journalists, holograms testifying to a hallway draped in a large carpet. Inner City Press arrived at 4 pm for what was to be Ban Ki-moon’s get-down, or most recent get-down, with the Saudis.

Ban Ki-moon arrived at 4:30 pm and was led by the arm around the exhibit, Inner City Press Vine video here. He was taken to a table and put on virtual reality goggles, presumably without cluster bombs or Yemeni children shown. Periscope video here.

Interviews were conducted; Inner City Press rushed up to the UN’s fourth floor, but the full-floor event was being taken down. Ban’s next appearance would be that evening, for South Korea where he hopes to be President. Watch this site.

Now it seems Ban Ki-moon’s UN is equally out of it, perhaps more intentionally so. Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric on September 30 of the much weakened UN Human Rights Council resolution which rather than setting up a panel merely attaches some UN to Yemen’s whitewash. I haven’t seen the details, Dujarric said. Vine here.

He added that Ban’s envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed is headed to… Saudi Arabia. We’ll have more on this.

On September 23 it was quickly over but to way to the elevator down, Inner City Press ran into and greeted UN envoy Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed on his way to the meeting and two representatives of Human Rights Watch, on the UN’s 27th floor. What were they doing there? Both were formerly journalists covering or channeling Ban Ki-moon, now with insider access. Does it make Ban Ki-moon feel better, to have them around while he sells out Yemen’s children?

Earlier on September 23, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN Transcript here:

Inner City Press: Given that the Secretary-General himself decided to remove the Saudi-led Coalition from the Children and Armed Conflict regarding Yemen, given that this airstrike has killed children and women, what’s the status of putting them back on?

Spokesman: Well, they were… as I said, they were not removed. It was a temporary suspension, as you can look on the document. I think we are constantly looking at and reviewing the situation in Yemen, and when we have something to share with you, we will.

We’re waiting. It seems clear Ban gave Hadi a copy of his vanity press book. Birds of a feather.

On September 22, Inner City Press asked the European Union’s Federica Mogherini if the EU has any role in Yemen. She said she had just met Hadi. And?

The EU’s envoy to Yemen Bettina Muscheidt, viewed as a possible replacement for Ban’s Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has moved on to Libya. At the UN on September 23, Hadi will deposit… Yemen’s / his Paris Accord document. Hot air. Now the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid, through Cecile Pouilly, has issued a statement which makes sure to equate Saudi-led Coalition airstrikes with Taizz and does not mention Hadi’s move to starve Yemen’s by moving the Central Bank:

“We note with deep concern the sharp increase in civilian casualties since the suspension of peace talks, with 180 people killed and 268 injured in August. This represents a 40 per cent increase compared to the civilian casualties the previous month, with 60 killed and 123 injured.
There has been an increased number of attacks against protected civilian objects, with at least 41 incidents affecting educational and health facilities, markets, places of worship, airports and civilian homes in August.

The most recent incident took place two days ago, on Wednesday, 21 September, when an airstrike hit a residential area in the town of Hudaydah, killing 26 civilians, including seven children, and injuring 24 others, among them two children. The death toll could be much higher, as our team continues to collect information.

We are particularly concerned at the situation in the city of Taizz, where a blockade imposed by the Houthis-affiliated Popular Committees has caused serious food, water and fuel shortages, and a near collapse of the health system.

In the light of the high civilian casualty numbers and the terrible suffering of the civilian population, we urge all parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, including their obligation to respect the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. We reiterate our call for the setting up of an international and independent investigative body.

In total, 3,980 civilians have been killed and 6,909 injured between 26 March 2015 and 22 September 2016.”

Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric at noon on Septmeber 22 about Yemen. He called the question “granular” and his office later said, too little too late, “The Secretary-General condemns the multiple airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition on 21 September in the Red Sea port city of Hudaydah, Yemen, which killed and injured dozens of people, including children and women. The Secretary-General expresses his sincere condolences and sympathies to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The Secretary-General once again reminds all parties to the conflict that they must fully respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precaution. He reiterates his call for urgent measures to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The Secretary-General also urges all parties to recommit to the terms and conditions of the 10 April cessation of hostilities. Stressing that a negotiated political settlement that addresses the legitimate concerns of all parties remains the only viable solution to the conflict, he calls for a new round of peace negotiations facilitated by his Special Envoy for Yemen.”

On the Central Bank, the IMF later on September 22 issued this:

“IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde met on September 22 with Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Yemen is going through a difficult period, and the Managing Director expressed her concern for the adverse humanitarian and economic fallout from the conflict which keeps mounting.
“The Managing Director and President Hadi exchanged views on the current situation and prospects, including preserving the operational capacity of the central bank system so as to improve the financial stability and economic and social outcomes for the Yemeni people.”

On September 19, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Staphane Dujarric two questions on Yemen: “what is the Secretary General’s or his Envoy’s comment on Hadi firing the head of the central bank and moving the central bank’s headquarters from Sanaa to Aden?” and on “reports that Saudi Arabia / the Saudi-led Coalition threatened to shoot down a UN aircraft… Please confirm or deny that.”

Two days later, while leaving other questions unanswered, Ban’s office sent this answer to Inner City Press:

Date: Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 10:52 AM
Subject: Your question on Yemen
To: matthew.lee [at] innercitypress.com
Cc: Stephane Dujarric [at] un.org

The Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, is extremely concerned by the recent inability of the Central Bank to pay salaries due to lack of revenue and shortage of liquidity. Millions of Yemenis families depend on civil service salaries and the stoppage in salary payments is expected to have a severely negative impact.

The Special Envoy is advocating that any changes in the Central Bank ensure a rapid resumption of salary payments and that these are provided to all civilian civil service in all parts of the country without discrimination.”

What about the firing, and proposed moving? What about the reported threat to UN plane? And see below.

On August 18, Inner City Press exclusively published the proposal that Ban’s envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed made in Kuwait. This was the proposal described as blatantly one-sided that led to a collapse of the talks, the Saudi-led Coalition increased airstrikes and the death of more civilians.

According to local media the Saudis threatened to shoot down UN aircraft – click here. Direct sources have told Inner City Press the UN envoy wanted the Sanaa delegation to sign a waiver, and to stop over in Saudi Arabia and be searched. Would the UN go public if this were true? No, under Ban Ki-moon. His spokesman Stephane Dujarric has refused to confirm or deny or comment for two days now.

Meanwhile early on September 21 there was a meeting on the humanitarian situation in Yemen held in UN basement Conference Room 12, sponsored by the UK.

In order to stake it out, Inner City Press was required by Ban Ki-moon’s eviction order to seek a minder, which are first was withheld. By the time Inner City Press was escorted, all participants were inside the closed meeting.

Inner City Press observed Grandi of UNHCR leave the meeting at 8:30, and WFP Cousins walk right by minutes later. What is the UN doing in Yemen, after Ban Ki-moon sold it out? We’ll have more on this.

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