A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Marshall Islands' Non-Explanation of That Jamil El-Sayed UNESCO Nomination

Remember last week's weird (just really weird) story about how the tiny Marshall Islands had nominated the former Lebanese security chief (and Hariri assassination suspect) Jamil El-Sayed to be their (its?) Ambassador to UNESCO in Paris, and then withdrew the nomination?

It was strange to begin with. (And for what may be the first time since World War II, the Marshall Islands made global news twice in recent weeks, as the Mexican castaway who supposedly survived for nearly a year also washed up on one of their atolls.)

Since you probably don't regularly read or follow the weekly newspaper The Marshall Islands Journal, I thought I'd share their not entirely illuminating background piece:
As officials in Majuro [the Marshallese capital], learned Wednesday that the nomination of al-Sayyed had been officially transmitted to UNESCO — apparently last December — they moved quickly to cancel it. Acting President Tony deBrum communicated with President Loeak and Foreign Minister Phillip Muller while they were enroute to Japan, and a letter rescinding the nomination of al-Sayyed was prepared and signed by Muller who had signed the original letter nominating al-Sayyed in December. RMI [Republic of the Marshall Islands] officials said they were unable to locate the original nomination letter that Muller signed in December. Muller signed another letter Wednesday to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova cancelling the nomination for al-Sayyed effective immediately. Acting President deBrum told the Journal Wednesday that initial contact about the possible nomination of al-Sayyed was made to RMI leaders during a visit to Palau at the end of September, and then a follow up visit by a representative of al-Sayyed in December, which resulted in the nomination letter being signed. 
So, "they were unable to locate the original nomination letter?" The original approach came via Palau, another Pacific microstate and ex-US Trust Territory?  There was "a follow up visit by a representative of al-Sayyed in December, which resulted in the nomination letter being signed."

And that's all it takes to  nominated an Ambassador to UNESCO for a country Jamil El-Sayed may never have visited?

Why do I feel part of this story is still missing?

No comments: