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Another UN visitation

Feb 4, 2015, 10:00 AM

The last one it was UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for West Africa Mohammed Ibn Chambas; this time around it is UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman. What a befitting concern and positive move from the highest body overseeing the comity of nations.

Since our peace and tranquility was threatened by some terror forces, the nation and leadership of the country have experienced massive solidarity of various quarters from far and wide. Some by correspondence, others by direct phone calls and yet others by visitations, to show solidarity with a brother and comrade, statesman and leader, as well as with a nation, that has the love and concern for other peoples and nations the world over.

In the case of the UN, this is the second time in three weeks, since the 12/30 State House attack in The Gambia, that a senior envoy of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is visiting The Gambia to see the leadership and President of this country.

The UN has, indeed, continued to demonstrate its global concern for peace and development in the world, as it continues to exhibit that in the case of The Gambia.

When Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas came to The Gambia he denounced the attack on the State House and country, saying the UN and The Gambia would work closely to bring the State House attackers to justice.

“There is also the willingness on the part of the UN to work closely with the Gambian authorities to thoroughly investigate this [the State House attack] in a manner that would satisfy everybody to ensure that the facts are known, and those who are culprits in this are brought to face justice with due process and total respect for human rights,” Dr Ibn Chambas said.

It is, therefore, logical to expect that Under-Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman’s message would not sail, if at all, too far from Dr Chambas’s.

Mr Feltman is a man of respectable pedigree looking at his brief profile. So, much is expected of him; he has been endowed with so much experience and knowledge over the timespan of his professional life.

Before joining the United Nations, Mr Feltman served for nearly thirty years in the United States Foreign Service, focused especially on the Middle East and North Africa. His last position was as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, from which he retired at the rank of Career Minister.

He served previously as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Lebanon, and held earlier diplomatic postings in Baghdad, Erbil, Jerusalem, Tunis, Tel Aviv, Budapest, and Port-au-Prince, as well as with responsibility for coordinating US assistance to countries of Eastern and Central Europe.

As UN Under-Secretary-General and head of the Department of Political Affairs, Mr Feltman, who also speaks Arabic, French and Hungarian, advises the Secretary-General on peace and security issues globally, while overseeing “good offices” initiatives and field-based political missions carrying out peacemaking, preventive diplomacy and peace-building activities in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

He also oversees the United Nations electoral assistance provided to dozens of its member states each year.

Mr Feltman is, therefore, welcome to the land of tranquility, harmony and peace-loving people.

“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”

Walter Hagen