secretary general

secretary general

UN Admits Ban Ki-moon Took Qatar-Funded Private Jet on Gaza Tour - Asked Ethics Office?

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Ethics Questions As Ban Flies on Qatar-Funded, UK Registered Plane By Matthew Russell Lee, Follow up on exclusive UNITED NATIONS, July 22, more here -- Does the UN abide by its own stated ethics rules? On July 21, the UN belatedly answered Inner City Press that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accepted a free Qatar-funded, British registered private jet for his current travel about Gaza. Video here and embedded below. Inner City Press, and now the Free UN Coalition for Access, have been pursuing this question, including now with Transparency International which answered "it would seem that the Secretary General would have had to have been previous clearance to undertake such a paid trip by the Qatari government. This question should be posed to the Office of Ethics." And so on July 22, Inner City Press asked Ban's deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq if the UN Ethics Office was asked about accepting the free Qatar-funded private jet flights. Haq replied: "I'm aware that as a standard policy, we inform the Ethics Office of all such offers...I don't know about this particular case. I know it for past cases, every time I have asked the Ethics Office about this, they have talked about being informed about this... They do approve these on the case of exceptional circumstances." Inner City Press asked Haq to get an answer from the Ethics Office, if they were asked before Ban began his current trip in the Qatar-funded jet. Haq said, "I can do this... This is what has happened several times in the past." We'll stay on this. Should the UN Secretary General in a mediation attempt accept free travel from a country with a particular interest in the conflict to be mediated? What review should take place? What disclosures should be made, and when? From the UN's July 21 transcript, video here from Minute 31: Inner City Press: you are saying that the use of private planes, generically if necessary, is signed off by the ethics office, but my question is, private planes provided by anyone? Would the Secretary-General, would he accept such service from any Member State, or would he accept it from corporations? The question becomes, given that particular countries have different views of the conflict, what review is made before accepting a particular country's contribution? Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq: Well, we do have, like I said, an ethics office and a legal office that can look into these things and see whether something is appropriate or not. Inner City Press: Was this particular flight checked or you're saying there's a generic ruling in advance that any private plane is okay? Deputy Spokesman Haq: No, I don't think there's a generic ruling about this, but certainly, if you need to justify this for essential needs, and something like this, a trip that the Secretary-General was able to embark on and made the decision on just at the end of last week and then had to travel, starting Saturday evening, something like that would have been extremely hard or basically impossible to do in a different sort of way. Inner City Press: I'm asking because in the budget Committee, often many, particularly developing world countries, they say that things should be funded out of the UN's general budget rather than taking voluntary contributions from States that then have influence. So, my question is, isn't there a travel budget? We've asked in this room many times to know what the budget is, so I'd still like to know that. But, if there is a budget, why wasn't the general UN budget used for this rather than taking a specific gift from a specific country? That's the question. Deputy Spokesman Haq: The worry is, of course, if you run out of money early, does that mean you can't travel, even if there's a crisis? In this case, there was a crisis that necessitated sudden travel. Inner City Press broke the story on July 19 -- credit has been given, for example, by Newsweek, here -- and has been asking Ban's spokespeople for disclosure ...